In the world of martinis and mixers, a popular choice among cocktail connoisseurs is the ever popular cosmopolitan. It is derived from the Kamikaze, which is a classic vodka margarita made with lime juice and orange liqueur, the cosmopolitan martini offers a stronger orange tasting with a hint of bitter cranberry. It was first created in the late 1980’s and reaching its height in popularity in the 90’s, the cosmopolitan gained most of its momentum from the hit series, “Sex and the City” as it was heavily featured in the majority of the episodes. From that point onward, it’s been a staple among martinis, and a popular choice of the masses due to its short and flexible ingredients list.
While there are multiple ways to make a cosmopolitan, they all follow the same basic ingredient list as follows, grab either a citrus or plain vodka, lime juice, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and add in a citrus garnish on top. In most cases, the garnish will be an orange zest or peel but sometimes a lime wedge will be used. The drink will be refreshing, have a strong orange flavour with just a hint of cranberry to it and it will either have a bite to it or it will be sweet on the palate. The bitterness or sweetness element will be dependent on what the preference is of the drinker. The vodka shouldn’t be too overpowering, and the flavours should be well-blended together so that the taste, while dominated by orange, is well balanced. The smell profile itself will be quite apparent as you lift the glass up to take a sip.
The cosmopolitan is made by taking your vodka, lime juice, orange liqueur, and cranberry juice and blending them together in a shaker cup with ice. It is then strained into a martini glass and a garnish is added. What vodka you use is your choice, though we recommend Bols Dry Orange for it’s smooth, complimentary flavour. However, some recipes substitute plain vodka, relying solely on the orange liqueur for the right flavour. In order to showcase the minute, yet critical, differences in various cosmopolitan recipes, we’ve included four of them below, each with their own unique twist on the cocktail.
What to do? Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake until cooled, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Add lime wheel to rim of glass for garnish. And that’s it, as simple as it comes, a fresh and refreshing cocktail for whenever the mood hits you!
What to do? Combine vodka, cranberry, lime, and triple sec in a shaker with ice. Shake until cooled, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Add orange twist to the rim of the glass for garnish.
As you can see, the ingredients vary ever so slightly, which changes the flavour of the cocktail. For example, the previous recipe uses straight cranberry juice, while this one uses cranberry juice cocktail, something that is usually sweetened. This would produce a cosmo with a little less bite to it while keeping that classic flavour alive and kicking.
What to do? Fill shaker with ice first, then add vodka, liqueur, cranberry and lime juice. Shake until cooled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Peel the orange twist off over the glass, then add to the rim for garnish.
This recipe will look a lot like the one above it but has one key difference: wait to peel that orange twist until the end. When you peel it over top of the (almost) finished cocktail, orange oils will spray right into the glass, adding yet another level of flavour in addition to a fantastic fragrance.
What to do? Add citrus vodka, Cointreau, cranberry and lime juice to shaker with ice. Shake until cold, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Add a small scoop of finely crushed ice, then garnish with orange twist.
Finally, this last iteration of the cosmo is very specific about using citrus vodka with Cointreau, staying true to the cosmopolitan’s roots but adds in crushed ice to cool the drink down and make it smoother.
Wrapping It Up
New cocktails are being made all the time, with mixologists constantly trying out new flavour combinations. However, the cosmopolitan is one drink that has stood the test of time and raised itself above many others for decades. Although its claim to fame comes mostly from the help of Hollywood, the cosmo itself is the main reason it’s still enjoyed all over the world today.