An authentic Cosmopolitan should be made with citrus vodka and this formula also works well if flavoured vodka is substituted. However, I prefer the simplicity of this recipe which when quality juice with at least 24% cranberry is used, the balance of vodka, citrus, berry fruit and sweetness is perfect.
The Cosmopolitan is one of those drinks that has had various incarnations through the ages - some of them, quite probably, independent of one another. And during the 1990s, the familiar blend of cranberry, citrus and vodka was one of the most popular cocktails in London and New York.
Most people agree a Cosmopolitan appeared on the West Coast of America at some point during the 1980s, and travelled from there to New York and beyond. Cheryl Cook has a claim to have invented the drink during the latter half of the 1980s while head bartender at The Strand on Washington Avenue, South Beach, Miami. She apparently based her drink on the newly available Absolut Citron vodka and added a splash of triple sec, a dash of Rose’s lime and, in her own words, “just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink”.
Her version is believed to have travelled by way of San Francisco to Manhattan where Toby Cecchini is credited with first using fresh lime juice in place of Rose’s at his Passerby bar.
A likely early ancestor of the Cosmopolitan is the Harpoon, a drink promoted by Ocean Spray during the 1960s which consisted of vodka, cranberry juice and a squeeze of fresh lime. And a long-forgotten 1934 book of gin recipes, ‘Pioneers of Mixing Gin at Elite Bars’, contains a recipe for a Cosmopolitan that is very similar to today’s drink, only with lemon in place of lime, gin in place of vodka, and raspberry in place of cranberry.
Whatever the origin, however, it was Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw who popularised the drink when she swapped Martinis for Cosmos. And New York’s Dale DeGroff played a large part in refining today’s popular recipe.