Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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The Cosmopolitan cocktail is a tangy and citrus-forward cocktail, renowned for its unmistakable pink hue. Crafted from vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice, the Cosmo has firmly established itself as a modern-day classic.

A pink Cosmopolitan cocktail on a white table garnished with a twist of lemon.

There are so many different variations of the Cosmopolitan. While I’m not a Cosmo drinker myself, I’ve perfected the cocktail thanks to the number of Cosmo lovers in my family. After experimenting with countless variations, this one has become the perfect ratio that everyone swears by.

Brief Cocktail History

While its exact origins are still a matter of debate, the Cosmopolitan’s roots can be traced back to the early 20th century. The drink as we know it today was created in 1985 by Miami bartender Cheryl Cook at a South Beach bar called the Strand. The original recipe consisted of citron-flavored vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry juice.

The cocktail didn’t gain widespread popularity until the 1990s when it became the signature drink of choice on the TV show “Sex and the City.”

Looking for more vodka cocktails? Try the French Martini, berry vodka smash, and pear martini!

Ingredients

Cosmopolitan cocktail ingredients.
  • Vodka: the original recipe called for citron-flavored vodka, however, I use unflavored vodka. I encourage you to experiment with both!
  • Cointreau or triple sec: I use these two liqueurs almost interchangeably. Whichever you have on hand will work.
  • Cranberry juice: you can use cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail. Cranberry juice cocktail renders a better color but has added artificial sugars.
  • Fresh lime juice: always use freshly squeezed lime juice for best results. In a pinch, look for ReaLime.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Make A Cosmopolitan Cocktail

Step 1.

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice (half a lime squeezed is about 1/2 an ounce)

Pouring cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker with a jigger.
Squeezing a lime into a cocktail shaker with a citrus squeezer.

Step 2.

Shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Double straining a Cosmopolitan cocktail into a chilled coupe glass.

Step 3.

Serve straight up and garnish with a lime wheel or a lemon twist. Optionally express/twist a lemon peel over the cocktail to release the oils and add a fresh citrus aroma.

Squeezing a lemon peel over a pink Cosmopolitan cocktail on a white table.

Expert Tips

  • Chill your glasses ahead of time in the freezer to keep your drinks cooler for longer. This is one of my favorite tricks in the summer.
  • This cocktail is best served in a coupe or traditional martini glass.
  • Always double-strain shaken cocktails through a fine mesh strainer. This removes tiny ice chips that will dilute the cocktail as it warms.
  • A lemon peel expressed over the cocktail adds a remarkable fresh citrus taste and aroma.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail?

In most cases, the two can be used interchangeably. Cranberry juice is 100% juice with added juices (usually apple juice) to balance the tartness of the cranberries. Cranberry juice cocktail is cranberry juice with added sugar.

What type of lime juice should I use?

Always use fresh lime juice. In a pinch, you can use ReaLime as the next best alternative. Avoid using sweetened lime juice.

What vodka should I use?

I’m a fan of Grey Goose, Tito’s, and Ketel One. Absolute, Ketel One, and Grey Goose make easy-to-find Citron-flavored vodka.

More Vodka Cocktails

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this cocktail, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

Servings: 1 cocktail
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
A classic Cosmopolitan cocktail recipe made with vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and fresh lime juice.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 ounce vodka, or citron-flavored vodka
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice (half a lime squeezed is about 1/2 an ounce)
  • Shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Serve straight up and garnish with a lime wheel or a lemon twist. Optionally express/twist a lemon peel over the cocktail to release the oils and add a fresh citrus aroma.

Notes

the original recipe called for citron-flavored vodka (Absolute Citron for example), however, I use unflavored vodka. I encourage you to experiment with both!
This drink can be made with cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail. Cranberry juice is 100% juice with added juices (usually apple juice) to balance the tartness of the cranberries. Cranberry juice cocktail is cranberry juice with added sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 138kcalCarbohydrates: 10.7gProtein: 0.1gSodium: 1mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 9.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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