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Who created the Cosmopolitan?

According to David Herpin

This drink is one of the most popular drinks today. There is a myths, legends, folkore, and mystery all surrounding this drink. Here are some early printings of the Cosmopolitan we know today:

Complete world bartender guide - Page 117 by Bob Sennett in 1993 "Cosmopolitan - 1/4 oz. lime juice 1 oz. Triple Sec 2 oz. vodka 3 oz. cranberry juice 1 wedge of lime Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge."

New York Magazine - Oct 31, 1994 - Page 84 Vol. 27, No. 43 "Cosmopolitan Martini - 4 ounces vodka, 1/4 ounce cranberry juice ( 1 tablespoon) Juice of 1/2 lime, plus a twist for garnish, 3/4 ounce Cointreau ( 1 teaspoon) Stir vodka, juices, and Cointreau in a shaker with ice."

One legend says it was invented on Miami Beach and contained Citrus Vodka in 1986. This is easily disproved seeing as Absolut was the first company to produce citrus flavored vodka and they self admittingly claim it was introduced in 1988:

ABSOLUT CITRON "ABSOLUT CITRON was introduced in 1988."

Recipes calling for Citrus Vodka appear as early as:

Gourmet: Volume 55, Issues 7-12 by Pearl Violette Newfield Metzelthin in 1995: Brent Barnette new york, new york "Cosmopolitan Cocktail" 2 ounces Absolut Citron vodka, 1 ounce Rose's lime juice, 1/4 ounce triple sec or Cointreau, 4 ounces cranberry juice"

Another legend claims this drink was printed some 60 years prior, while the drink held the same name, the ingredients were nothing alike. This drink was indefinitely popularized by the hit HBO Television series "Sex in the City" (Based in New York), which oddly enough is where most early literature about this drink comes from.

The New York Bartender's Guide by Sally Ann Berk in 1994 prints this cocktail.

USA cookbook - Page 144 by Sheila Lukins in 1997 "Cosmopolitan - 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Absolut Citron vodka 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Cointreau 1 ounce (1 tablespoon) Lime juice, Splash of cranberry juice"

The TV Show Sex in the City aired from 1998 - 2004 and was not the proprietor of the cosmopolitan, although it is very likely this drink was invented in New York. It is worth mentioning that a Cosmopolitan is defined as: A city/place or person that embraces its multicultural demographics (sounds like New York City).

This drink dates between 1988 - 1992 and contained at least as of then. Shake These:

Citrus Vodka (Absolut Citron)

Cointreau Orange Flavored Liqueur

Fresh Lime Juice

Lemon Twist

Cranberry Juice (For Color, Bright Pink Color)

Simple Syrup (Modern)

Lemon Juice (Modern, and may have been a confusion with the lemon twist)

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Cosmopolitan is often credited to Cheryl Cook in South Beach, Maimi, in either 1985, or 1986. Toby Cecchini is credited with changing the rose's lime cordial to Fresh Lime Juice, and standardising the Triple Sec as Cointreau. However, a similar recipe for a cocktail called the Cosmopolitan can be found as early as 1933, but with gin rather than vodka.

Historical Citations

"Daily Herald", Chicago, 13th September 1995

"It's new, it's now: It's the Cosmopolitan. Celebrity wannabes and glamour gluttons, listen up. Next time you want to turn heads while you're out on the town, order a Cosmopolitan. The cocktail, shown above, has been scoring big among glitterati like Peter Gabriel and Madonna. Makers of Cointreau, the orange liqueur, say the drink originated in Miami Beach in the early 1990s. It first showed up on a menu at the Rainbow Room in New York. It's made with l part Cointreau, 2 parts citrus vodka, the juice of half a lime and a splash of cranberry juice. Shaken with ice, strained into a chilled martini glass and garnished with a twist of orange peel, it has a subtle, natural blush In Madonna's case, we're guessing that makes one of them."

Historical Recipes

"Pioneers of Mixing Gin at Elite Bars 1903-1933," by American Traveling Mixologists, 1934


  • Jigger Gordons Gin
  • 2 Dashes Cointreau
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • Teaspoon Raspberry (syrup)

Glass No. 4 Shake and strain

A scan of the page, from the book.

Common Recipes

Recipe#1: Dale DeGroff.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Citron Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Recipe#2: Gary Regan.

  • 1 1/2 oz citrus vodka
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 or 2 dashes cranberry juice, for color

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Lime Wedge.

Recipe#3: Voted Best Cosmopolitan in London, England by Time Out.

  • 35ml Cytrynowa (Polish Lemon Vodka)
  • 15ml Triple Sec
  • 5ml Rose's Lime Cordial
  • 5ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 20ml Cranberry Juice
  • 2 dashes Hoppes Orange Bitters

Shake with ice, and then strain into Cocktail Glass. Garnish with a Flamed Orange Twist.

Recipe#3: George Sinclair's Recipe.

  • 50ml Vodka,
  • 15ml Cointreau,
  • 5ml Fresh Lime Juice,
  • 15ml Cranberry Juice.

Shake hard with ice, and then strain into a chilled Cocktail Glass; Garnish with an Orange Twist.

Cheryl Cook quote from Ardent Spirits Newsletter Oct 2005

"“I was the Head Bartender of the Strand on Washington Avenue during the first five years. My Southern Wine and Spirits rep brought me a new Absolut product, "Absolut Citron." He said, ‘create something Cheryl.’ I love a challenge and I had wanted to create a new drink for the Martini glass so..…. The ingredients, as I always phrased it, ‘Absolut Citron, a splash of triple sec, a drop of roses lime and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink,’ fell in suit. Basically this recipe is a no brainier, mixing wise. Merely a kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice. My objective was also a "design" task. To create a visually stunning cocktail in a beautiful glass. Pretty and pretty tasty too. Not so much trying to reinvent the wheel, just bringing it up to speed.” "

Toby Cecchini quote ( Dec. 11, 2000)

"We were constantly messing about with drinks, partly to kill time and partly to quench the insatiable alcoholic thirst of the wait staff, who in turn were drinking to kill time. One night Mesa showed me this drink some girl from San Francisco had made for her at Life Café, where Mesa had worked before. It was called the cosmopolitan, and she made it with vodka, Rose’s lime, and grenadine. It looked pretty but tasted awful: jarring and artificially sweet and just wrong. I liked the presentation, though, up in a martini glass, so I decided we could take this and make it much better. Absolut had just come out with Citron, so we wanted to use that. We substituted fresh lime juice for the Rose’s and put Cointreau in it to soften the citric bite. We added just enough cranberry juice to give it a demure pink blush. We decided it had to be shaken extra hard and long, to make it frothy and opaque, and garnished it with a lemon twist for color and flourish. We thought it was pretty good, like a high-end, girlish kamikaze. The wait staff went nuts for our concoction and started soaking up dozens during their after-hours binges. For a few months the reconceived cosmo was just our private staff drink. But soon enough the staff started raving about them to their friends and some of their favorite regulars, and from there the floodgates opened. Our pride at having fashioned a slick drink that people seemed to adore was quickly pushed aside by the annoyance of having to sling a couple hundred of these labor-intensive pink monstrosities in a night. They became the bane of our existence. Ghoulish people dispensing air kisses at the door would breeze in and bark out that they wanted rounds of them for all their friends. We’d look at each other in puzzlement: “Who the hell is that? How do they know about cosmos?” When I left in 1991 to open the bar at Kin Khao in Soho, we pushed the price of them up to $8—which is now a bargain but at the time seemed like a slap in the face—just to try to stanch the flow. It made no difference."

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