Easy to identify by its pink hue, the cosmopolitan is a stylish concoction served in a martini glass.

Not surprisingly, its appealing look has made it very popular among women, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you know it was the signature drink for Carrie Bradshaw, the main character on HBO’s Sex and the city.

Years before Sex and the City made the Cosmo ‘fashionable,’ it was favored by other celebrities, like Madonna, from New York to Miami to San Francisco. Most people don’t realize that back in the 60’s it was actually a recipe on Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice bottles and was known as the “Harpoon.”

But many sources credit the popularity of today’s Cosmo to the mid-1980s and a Miami bartender named Cheryl Cook, who was called “The Martini Queen of South Beach.” Cook was interested in giving the Martini a twist that would make it visually appealing and popular with women. She mixed Absolut Citron, then a new product with Rose’s Lime, some triple sec, and of course, cranberry juice to give it its well-known rosy complexion.

Master mixologist, Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff gave the drink a swig at the Fog City Diner in San Francisco, and later decided to put his spin on it at the Rainbow Room in New York. His version included Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and a flamed orange peel. When Madonna was pictured with a glassful of this concoction at a Grammy party, that’s when it rose to popularity.

According to St. Louis’ Feast Magazine, the first noted mention of a cocktail called the Cosmopolitan dates back to 1927 (on page 82 of Barflies and Cocktails, to be exact). It includes vodka, but that’s the only thing the modern version shares with this fabulous classic. Other ingredients of the older drink included Scotch whisky, Irish whisky, Swedish punch, Italian vermouth, French vermouth, and a lemon twist.

Although some people view the Cosmo as a typical “girly” drink and one that’s ordered under a pretense of ‘sophistication,’ a properly made Cosmo, is in fact, not too overly sweet or fruity, like usual female tipples. It has a slightly tart flavor, and when done correctly offers a perfectly well-balanced cocktail, classically designed with sweet, sour, and bitter flavors.

The Cosmopolitan has surely earned its place as the perfect staple for a girls’ night out. It’s become so famous that everyone knows the drink, and every bartender knows how to make it. Pretty in pink, this flashy cocktail has reached classic high status, right up there with the little black dress.

Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan Cocktail 

Ingredients: 

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

Preparation: Shake ingredients with ice in a shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an orange peel.