Cosmopolitan (cocktail)

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IBA official cocktail
A cosmopolitan garnished with a lemon twist
Base spirit
ServedStraight up: chilled, without ice
Standard garnishlime slice
Standard drinkware
Cosmopolitan or cocktail glass
IBA specified
PreparationShake all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice.
Commonly servedAll day
NotesThe drink should be a frothy bright pink color
Cosmopolitan recipe at International Bartenders Association
A cosmopolitan

A cosmopolitan, or, informally, a cosmo, is a cocktail made with vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice.

The cosmopolitan is a member of the Gimlet family of cocktails. Though often presented far differently, the cosmopolitan also bears a likeness in composition to the kamikaze shooter.

Preparation and serving[edit]

The International Bartenders Association recipe is based on citron vodka, lemon-flavored vodka.[1] The use of citrus-flavored vodka as the basis for this cocktail appears to have been widely popularized in the mid-1990s by cocktail expert Dale DeGroff[2] and is used in the IBA-approved recipe. Many bartenders, however, continue to use a standard unflavored vodka — this alternative would undoubtedly be historically consistent with any of the supposed predecessors of this drink that were popular in Ohio, Provincetown, or Minneapolis during the 1970s, or in San Francisco during the 1980s.[3][4][5][6] A lemon twist is sometimes used to garnish.

The cosmopolitan is usually served in a large cocktail glass, also called a martini glass. For this reason, the drink is sometimes mistakenly categorized as a type of martini.

Origins and mixology[edit]

The origin of the cosmopolitan is disputed.[7][8] with some histories tracing it from the gay community in 1970s Provincetown, moving west to Cleveland and Minneapolis, and landing in San Francisco. From there, it moved back east, with the contemporary recipe being mixed in 1989 in New York City. Another claim to the cosmo's origin is South Beach, Florida, in the mid-1980s.

Various creation claims[edit]

The 1930s[edit]

While the cocktail is widely perceived to be a more modern creation, there is a recipe for a "Cosmopolitan Daisy" which appears in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars 1903–1933, published in 1934:

Jigger of Gordon's Gin (1+12 US fl oz [4.4 cl] Beefeater)

2 dash Cointreau (12 US fl oz [1.5 cl] Cointreau)
Juice of 1 Lemon (1 US fl oz [3.0 cl] Lemon Juice)
1 tsp [.5 cl] Raspberry Syrup (homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.[9]

Made with ingredients that would have been readily available during the period, this identically named cocktail aims for the same effect. If this drink is, in fact, the source of the modern cosmopolitan, then it would be an adaption of a Daisy rather than a Kamikaze.[10][11][9]

c. 1970s: Provincetown[edit]

One version of the creation of this popular drink credits the accomplishment to the gay community in Provincetown, Massachusetts.[8][12][7]

1970s: John Caine[edit]

John Caine is the owner of several popular bars in San Francisco and a cosmopolitan expert. He partially credits the upsurge in cocktails during the 1970s to the Cosmo being served at fern bars.[8] Caine is credited with bringing the Cosmo west from Cleveland.[13]

1975: Neal Murray[edit]

Bartender Neal Murray says he created the cosmopolitan in 1975 at the Cork & Cleaver steak house in Minneapolis.[14] According to Murray, he added a splash of cranberry juice to a Kamikaze and the first taster declared, "How cosmopolitan."[14]

Murray's Cosmopolitan used 1.5 oz Gordon's Gin, .75 oz Rose's Lime, .75 oz Leroux triple sec, and .5 oz cranberry juice.[15]

c. 1985: Cheryl Cook[edit]

There are several other claims made as to the origin of the cosmopolitan. Cocktail historian Gary Regan credits bartender Cheryl Cook of the Strand Restaurant in South Beach, Florida, with the original creation.[16][8] In a letter to Regan, Cook related the story of how she created the drink in 1985 or 1986:

What overwhelmed me was the number of people who ordered Martinis just to be seen with a Martini glass in their hand. It was on this realization that gave me the idea to create a drink that everyone could palate and was visually stunning in that classic glass. This is what the Cosmo was based on.[17]

Cook's original recipes called for "Absolut Citron, a splash of Triple sec, a drop of Rose's lime and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink."[17] Although Absolut Citron was not introduced anywhere officially until 1988, it was test-marketed in Miami.

1987: Patrick "Paddy" Mitten[edit]

Cheryl Charming's The Cocktail Companion credits a bartender named Patrick "Paddy" Mitten with bringing the drink to New York City from San Francisco in October 1987.[18]

1989: Toby Cecchini & Melissa Huffsmith-Roth[edit]

Notable bartender Gaz Regan says that the internationally recognized version of the cocktail was created by Toby Cecchini & Melissa Huffsmith-Roth in 1989 at The Odeon, a restaurant in Manhattan, based on a poorly described version of Cheryl Cook's creation.[17] Cecchini and Huffsmith-Roth's Cosmopolitan includes 2 oz Absolut Citron vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, 1 oz lime juice, and .5 oz cranberry juice.[15] Other sources give Cecchini sole credit for the contemporary drink's invention.[19][7]

1993: New York City[edit]

According to Sally Ann Berk and Bob Sennett, the Cosmopolitan appears in literature as early as 1993 and derives from New York City.[20][21][22][23]


The cosmopolitan gained popularity in the 1990s thanks in part to Madonna.[24] Dale DeGroff explains that after the singer was spotted drinking one in 1996, overnight he received calls across the globe, "as far away as Germany and Australia" for the recipe.[25][26]

It was later frequently mentioned on the television program Sex and the City,[14] in which Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw, commonly ordered the drink when out with her girlfriends. The trend was spoofed in the 2008 film adaptation when Miranda Hobbes asks Carrie why she ceased drinking them, to which Carrie replies, "Because everyone else started."[citation needed]


  • One variation calls for stirring in a mixing glass, instead of shaking.[27]
  • An alternative ingredient in substitution for Cointreau is a variation of the French Martini.
  • The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile created a Red Velvet Cosmo, based on one of her favorite desserts, red velvet cake.[28][29]
  • For a virgin cosmopolitan, replace the vodka and triple sec with orange juice and pink lemonade.[30]
  • For a "constipolitan," use prune juice in place of cranberry juice.[31]
  • A CosNOpolitan, from Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen, has cranberry juice, lime, orange bitters, and soda.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official Cocktail recipe: Cosmopolitan". International Bartenders Association. Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  2. ^ "Cosmopolitan #2 (DeGroff's formula) Cocktail Recipe – How To Make Cocktail Recipes". diffordsguide. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  3. ^ Calabrese, Salvatore (1997). Classic Cocktails. London: Prion Books. p. 103. ISBN 1-85375-240-1.
  4. ^ Kammerling, Alex (June 2003). "All You Need to Know About The Cosmopolitan". Class, the magazine of bar culture.
  5. ^ 150 Classic Cocktails. London: Hamlyn. 2003. p. 38. ISBN 0-600-60992-8.
  6. ^ Cocktails: The Complete Book of Cocktail Recipes for the Bartender. London: Octopus Publishing Group. 2007. ISBN 978-0-600-61671-9.
  7. ^ a b c KRISHNA, PRIYA (Sep 11, 2019). "The Definitive History of the Cosmopolitan: Quibbling over who invented it is only half the tale. Here's how the pink drink went from a Cleveland gay bar to Madonna's call drink to SATC, according to the people responsible for it". Punch.
  8. ^ a b c d Harrington, Paul; Moorhead, Laura (1998). Cocktail: The Drinks for the 21st Century. New York: Viking (Penguin Putnam Inc.). p. 76.
  9. ^ a b Mueller, Charles Christopher (1934). Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. New York: Trinity Press.
  10. ^ HESS, ROBERT. "Cosmopolitan Cocktail". THE COCKTAIL SPIRIT. Small Screen Network. Archived from the original on 2017-12-23. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
  11. ^ "Cosmopolitan #3 (1934 recipe) Cocktail Recipe – How To Make Cocktail Recipes". diffordsguide. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
  12. ^ Popik, Barry (January 10, 2005). "Cosmopolitan (cocktail)". The Big Apple. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017.
  13. ^ Kilduff, Paul. "Belly Up to the Bar: John Caine brought the cosmo to Frisco". The Kilduff Archive. The Monthly: The East Bay's Premier Magazine of Culture and Commerce. Archived from the original on 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  14. ^ a b c "Best Locally Created Cocktail". Best of the Twin Cities 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  15. ^ a b Charming, Cheryl (2022). The Bartender's Ultimate Guide to Cocktails: A Guide to Cocktail History, Culture, Trivia and Favorite Drinks. Mango Media. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-64250-793-5.
  16. ^ Grimes, William (November 2001). Straight Up Or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail. North Point Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780865476011..
  17. ^ a b c Regan, Gary; Regan, Mardee Haidin (October 2006). "The Birth of the Cosmopolitan: A Tale of Two Bartenders". Ardent Spirits e-letter. Vol. 7, Issue 6. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2006-12-31.
  18. ^ Charming, Cheryl (2018). The Cocktail Companion: A Guide to Cocktail History, Culture, Trivia and Favorite Drinks. Mango Media Inc. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-63353-924-2.
  19. ^ Simonson, Robert (Sep 19, 2016). "COSMOS! How the Inventor of the Cosmopolitan Learned to Embrace His Most Famous Creation". Grub Street.
  20. ^ Berk, Sally Ann (April 10, 2006). The New York Bartender's Guide (2nd ed.). Black Dog & Leventhal. ISBN 978-1579124700.
  21. ^ Sennett, Bob (1993). Complete World Bartender Guide: The Standard Reference to More than 2,400 Drinks. Bantam Books. p. 117. ISBN 978-0553299007.
  22. ^ New York. Vol. 27, no. 43. Oct 31, 1994. p. 84. {{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ Metzelthin, Pearl Violette Newfield (July 1995). Gourmet. Vol. 55. New York, New York. pp. 7–12. {{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ "Cosmopolitan" (in Spanish). University of Málaga. 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2023.
  25. ^ Sandham, Tom (2012). World's Best Cocktails. Fair Winds Press. p. 116. ISBN 9781592335275. Retrieved October 11, 2023.
  26. ^ Chirico, Rob (2015). Field Guide to Cocktails. Quirk Books. p. 93. ISBN 9781594748417. Retrieved October 11, 2023.
  27. ^ "Cosmopolitan Drink Recipe". Spirit Drinks. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  28. ^ Fabrikant, Mel (28 February 2012). "Red Velvet Cosmo Introduced By Kathy Wakile of 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey'". Paramus Post. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Bio: Kathy Wakile: Cast". Bravo TV. Real Housewives of New Jersey. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  30. ^ Hamilton, Brian (21 December 2016). "Virgin Cosmopolitan Drink". Go Shindig. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  31. ^ "Constipolitan Drink Recipe – Cocktail".
  32. ^ Schultz, E.J. (2019-01-19). "Sober Times for Alcohol Marketers". Advertising Age. Vol. 90, no. 2. p. 26.

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