Cosmopolitan cocktail in a martini glass

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel or for extra credit, a flamed orange peel.

The Cosmopolitan is a contemporary classic that first appeared in the late 1980s. Its roots may lie back in the 1960s in a marketing campaign for cranberry juice when the Ocean Spray company promoted a number of cocktail recipes made with cranberry juice. However, its current formulation probably began life in San Francisco as a 'Kamikaze with cranberry juice.' Absolut Citron was released in 1988 and Toby Cecchini at the Odeon in Tribeca, Manhattan, used it when he upgraded the recipe to use quality ingredients. Dale DeGroff, of the Rainbow Room, Midtown Manhattan, credited with revitalizing mixology by reintroducing fresh ingredients, popularized the drink and added the flamed orange peel. Finally, with the TV show 'Sex in the City' consuming Comopolitans by the gallon we achieve one of the most popular drinks worldwide.

Like most popular cocktail recipes it is hard to find a definitive version. While most of the recipes agree on the ingredients there is little in the way of agreement on the proportions. We have tried recipes with only 1/4 ounce of lime juice and there just isn't enough bite. With a 1/2 ounce of lime juice you need to add some sweetness to balance the drink so we have added a little simple syrup.

Part of the problem with so many different recipes probably comes from the definition of 'cranberry juice.' The original Cosmo used processed cranberry juice cocktail which is a sweetened product. We prefer to use unsweetened cranberry juice which gives more control over the sweetness, a more intense berry flavor and a really deep red color. And don't let me catch anyone topping it off with club soda. The Cosmopolitan is at heart still a Sour and club soda in a Sour is just wrong.