Cosmopolitan Drink Recipes With a Delicious Twist

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A cocktail shaker can be filled with innovation, alcohol, fruits and liqueurs to create a delectable flavor. 

Put your life on pause, and enjoy an alcoholic beverage with your friends. If you’ve acquired a taste to the popular Cosmopolitan cocktail, we’ve got some tasty variations for you to try. We’ve gathered together some Cosmopolitan drink recipes everyone can enjoy, no matter if you prefer sweet or sour drinks. Let’s raise a glass together.

History and Development of the Cosmopolitan Cocktail

The exact origin of the Cosmopolitan is a little skeptical, because until the late 1980’s, there was a similar drink, but with a different title. In the late nineteenth century, a cocktail called Daisy was a popular beverage, which many say was the Cosmopolitan’s inspiration. Its drink structure formed the foundation of the Cosmo’s base. Vodka wasn’t a spirit many people used to add to cocktails in this era, because of its lack of flavor.

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Credit: Flickr, Melissa Doroquez

1968 was a revolutionary year as Ocean Spray marketed their cranberry juice to adults for the first time ever. The marketing used to be swayed towards children. On every carton, there was a drink recipe called the Harpoon. This required an ounce of vodka, an ounce of cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. This was the closest recipe to the current day Cosmo, but of course, was missing the sweetness of Cointreau.

Sweetening The Cocktail

It’s a bit of a mystery who took the idea to combine cranberry, lime, vodka and Cointreau and strain it into a martini glass. A bartender working in South Beach in the 1970’s was often asked to produce a drink which made people look sophisticated, yet was easy to drink. She created a drink with lemon-infused vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice to create a pink hue.

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Credit: Flickr, Hugo Pardo Kuklinski

This pretty pink was adored by customers in the area, and it began to be served as a common drink in bars. The discovery hasn’t been validated, but this is where the modern Cosmo we all love was officially created.

Progression of Cosmopolitan Drink Recipes

Another bartender named John Caine was also experimenting with a similar cocktail creation. The Cosmo cocktail soon became popular within the gay social scene.

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Credit: Flickr, Jason Bagley

It’s difficult to prove the legitimacy of the Cosmo’s creation without official credits. It was suggested that the drink broke out of the gay scene and was embraced by the mainstream. A bartender named Toby Cecchini made the drink in 1987 working at the famous Odeon in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood, which is where its formal invention occurred.

The Odeon was a main restaurant for celebrities in the ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, and the drink became popular amongst celebrities. It became a place where bartenders experimented with different tastes, before breaking out into other bars. Madonna was photographed drinking a Cosmopolitan at a Grammy after party, which helped the drink to be embraced by the celebrity culture.


Sex and The City

It’s not possible to talk about the Cosmopolitan without referring to Sex and The City. After the drink was welcomed in the celebrity culture, it began to make appearances on TV. Sex and The City is responsible for launching many designers’ shoes and bags, and it quickly influenced the popularity of the Cosmo.

The drink made its first appearance on the show then Samantha ordered it at a wedding bar. From then, it appeared several more times throughout the seasons. The popularity of the show motivated people throughout the country to recreate their lives by sipping the Cosmo cocktails along with their friends.

Why Is The Cosmopolitan Drink So Popular?

It’s said that bartenders became tired of serving this cocktail so often, and the velocity of Sex and The City shifted everything the drink used to be about. The show created a league of women all around the world wanting to be just like the characters. There was a sense of sophistication about drinking the cocktail, and it showcased a certain type of lifestyle.

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Credit: Flickr, Ralph Daily

During the late ‘90’s, the cocktail culture was beginning to take shape. Vodka and martini glasses were seen everywhere. Bars and restaurants began to hire well-executed bartenders who could create beloved cocktails, including the Cosmopolitan. More recently, the drink has gotten serious, and no two bars offer the same taste. The world of bartending itself has become more serious, with shiny tools, equipment and training in order to sell a cocktail for around $20 a glass. Drinking a Cosmo isn’t just about the taste, but the experience.

Why The Cosmo Is Underrated

The Cosmo was created during the cocktail dark ages of the late ‘80's to usher the craft of cocktail making. Although it only has four ingredients – vodka, cranberry and lime juice and Cointreau – it’s become a trend-setter all around the world. 

Its creation is partly due to Sex and The City, but regardless of the stigma attached to it, it’s a delicious cocktail. Many men are afraid to order one in case that don’t look manly enough, but those perceptions need to quickly change in order for everyone to feel equal. Like other fruity cocktails in its family, it’s hard to just have one Cosmo.

Unlike other cocktails, the Cosmo is refreshing and acceptable to drink all year round. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a heavy, rich meal during winter, but vibrant and light for those summer days. If you find you get thirsty with other cocktails, reach for a satisfying Cosmo.

There’s room to play around with the ingredients in a Cosmo to personalise it to your tastes. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter to combat the sometimes-bitter cranberry juice, opt for a citrus-flavoured vodka. It’s essentially a Margarita whilst being the best of both worlds – a refreshing and acidic complexity. If you can’t quite stomach vodka, switch to a tequila base and it’ll instantly become a Margarita with a twist. 


Cosmopolitan Drink Recipes With a Twist

You might be wondering why you’d want to alter the taste of a Cosmo when it’s so great. The cocktail and bartending industry is evolving and it takes people to try new ingredients to make history for another drink. With new developments of alcohol, it’s possible to manipulate flavours to your advantage.

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Credit: Flickr, Mark Neustadt

Always buy the best alcohol you can afford for a quality drink without a hangover. Take the ice seriously too, and purify the water before putting it in the shaker. Keep your fruits out of the fridge when garnishing in order to prevent them from drying. Give these Cosmopolitan drink recipes a try in your own home.

Cosmopolitan Drink

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces vodka
  • ¼ ounce lime juice
  • ¼ ounce triple sec
  • ¼ ounce cranberry juice
  • 1 cup ice

Recipe:

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add the ice, shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a piece of fruit such as a cherry or orange.

Often a bought Cosmopolitan cocktail is too sweet and doesn’t contain enough alcohol. The ingredients in this concoction is well-balanced to be sweet and tasty whilst having a twinge of alcohol. There’s a huge difference between vodkas, because of how the alcohol is distilled. Typically, more expensive brands are purified and don’t leave you with a hangover the following day.

White Cosmopolitan 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce elderflower liqueur
  • 3-4 ounces white cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Recipe:

Combine the vodka, elderflower liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

This is one of our favourite Cosmopolitan drink recipes. This cocktail is a delicious twist on the classic by using elderflower liqueur to sweeten the drink slightly. Invest in a quality vodka for this drink. When it comes to judging which brand is best, consider how it feels when it slides across your tongue. The best quality vodkas will be smooth and easy to swallow.

Blue Cosmopolitan

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce blue curacao liqueur
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
  • ½ ounce sugar syrup/sugar
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Recipe:

Lift a cocktail glass from the fridge. Stir the vodka, grapefruit juice, blue curacao and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Unlike other Cosmopolitan drink recipes, the Blue Cosmopolitan incorporates a blue liqueur. Despite its colour, the liqueur tastes of orange, making it a great summer cocktail drink. The blue derives from a flowering vine grown in Asia, known as the Butterfly Pea. Its flowers colour liquids an intense blue to give a beautiful twist to any alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.

Cosmo Rebellion

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur
  • ½ ounce white peach puree
  • Splash of sparkling wine
  • Splash of cranberry juice
  • 1 lime wedge

Recipe:

Pour the vodka and orange liqueur in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze the juice from one lime wedge. Add the peace puree and a splash of cranberry juice, and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with sparkling wine to your heart’s content.

Cosmopolitan drink recipes can become predictable, but this recipe has a twist with the added sparkling wine. Wine lovers will love this recipe, whilst it’s also a great option for a party event as it’s stronger than typical cocktails. For the optimum taste, choose a peach puree which is made from French and Italian white peaches.

Blood Orange

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces vodka
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ¼ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce blood orange juice
  • 1 splash cranberry juice
  • Slice of orange to garnish

Recipe:

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of orange.

We love this blood orange cocktail variation. The blood orange possesses a distinctive flavour compared to other oranges. It contains overtones of berries such as strawberries and raspberries for a sweet taste. Try not to expose the juice to air as that is what can turn it somewhat bitter.

French Cosmopolitan


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 0.5 ounces fresh lime juice
  • Splash of cranberry juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Orange slice for garnish

Recipe:

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of orange.

This is one of our favourite Cosmopolitan drink recipes because of the Grand Marnier. This orange-flavoured liqueur was created in 1880 and has become a great substitute to triple sec. It is made from a blend of brandy, distilled with bitter orange and sugar. It contains a high percentage of alcohol, so you’ll definitely feel a bit tipsy after a few glasses.

Cosmocello Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces citrus-flavoured vodka
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 0.5 ounce limoncello
  • Splash of cranberry juice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Recipe:

Add the vodka, Cointreau, limoncello and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well until chilled. Strain the ingredients into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

A citrus-flavoured vodka gives this Cosmopolitan a fruity, summery taste. There are many citrus vodkas that offer vibrant flavours. We recommend an orange and bergamot concoction. Alternatively, attempt to make your own recipe with caramelised oranges and tropical notes. Give it a try.


What’s Your Favourite Cocktail?

There are so many variations to Cosmopolitan drink recipes to revolutionise the infamous cocktail. Innovating a classic cocktail doesn’t always require changing the entire recipe, but just adding new flavours and tones. The traditional dominant cranberry juice can become typical, so try taking your cocktail to another level.

Give these Cosmopolitan drink recipes a try and share your opinions in the comments. Feel free to share your own creations too. Always drink responsibly.

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