Cosmopolitan | Cotswold Cocktail School
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Cotswold Cocktail School - Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe
ABV 22% / 3 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Vodka

A Brief History of the Cosmoplitan

The Cosmopolitan's origins are somewhat disputed, with claims from various bartenders and cities. It gained popularity in the 1990s as a fashionable and cosmopolitan cocktail, thanks in part to its frequent appearance on the television show "Sex and the City." The show's characters sipping on Cosmopolitans in trendy New York City bars helped solidify its status as a chic and iconic cocktail.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Cosmopolitan is a delightful fusion of tartness and sweetness:

  • Cranberry Juice: This cocktail's signature ingredient, cranberry juice, lends a tart and vibrant character, contributing to its signature pink hue.

  • Citrus Vodka: Infused with citrus flavours, citrus vodka provides a zesty and refreshing element to the drink.

  • Triple Sec or Cointreau: Triple Sec or Cointreau, orange liqueurs, add a touch of sweetness and complexity, as well as a subtle hint of orange zest.

  • Fresh Lime Juice: The juice of fresh limes brightens the cocktail, balancing the tartness of the cranberry juice with a crisp, citrusy note.

The result is a cocktail that's as refined as it is approachable—a harmonious symphony of flavours.

Food Pairings

To complement the cosmopolitan elegance of this cocktail, consider these delectable food pairings:

  • Appetisers: Enjoy your Cosmopolitan with a selection of elegant appetisers like smoked salmon canapés, bruschetta, or shrimp cocktail.

  • Light Pasta Dishes: Pair the cocktail with light pasta dishes like linguine with clams or a lemon-infused pasta.

  • Salads: Fresh and vibrant salads, such as a classic Caesar salad or a mixed greens salad with citrus vinaigrette, make an excellent accompaniment.

  • Desserts: End your cosmopolitan affair with desserts like lemon sorbet, fruit tarts, or a decadent chocolate mousse.

Difficulty rating - Easy

Stick to the simple recipe as any increase in cranberry will see your Cosmo morph into a Sea Breeze cocktail.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Jigger
  • Coupe/martini glass


  • 45ml citron vodka
  • 25ml  Cointreau
  • 15ml cranberry juice
  • 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Garnish: lime wheel or orange twist
  • Ice


  • Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass
  • Garnish with a lime wheel or orange twist

What's the best Vodka for a Cosmopolitan cocktail?

The best vodka for Cosmopolitan cocktails is typically a premium-quality, unflavoured vodka. Here are the reasons why unflavoured vodka is the preferred choice for this classic cocktail:

  1. Clean and Neutral Flavour: Unflavoured vodka has a clean, neutral flavour profile. It does not introduce any additional flavours or aromas that might interfere with the tartness of the cranberry juice, the citrusy notes of the lime juice, or the subtle sweetness of the triple sec or Cointreau. This neutrality allows the other ingredients to shine.

  2. Versatility: Unflavoured vodka is highly versatile and pairs well with a wide range of cocktail ingredients. It serves as a blank canvas, allowing the cocktail's citrus and fruit elements to be the focus.

  3. Smoothness: Premium unflavoured vodka is often known for its smooth and refined character. This smoothness contributes to the overall quality of the cocktail, creating a balanced and enjoyable drinking experience.

  4. Purity: High-quality unflavoured vodka is well-distilled and pure, ensuring that you're starting with a clean and high-proof spirit, which is essential for crafting a well-balanced Cosmopolitan.

When selecting vodka for your Cosmopolitan, consider well-regarded and reputable brands known for their quality and purity. While it's not necessary to choose the most expensive vodka, opting for a premium vodka will enhance the overall taste and sophistication of the cocktail.

Its clean and neutral characteristics allow the cocktail's cranberry, citrus, and orange liqueur components to shine, resulting in a well-balanced and elegant drink that embodies cosmopolitan sophistication.

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