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 appeared in its current formulation around the early 1990s. It is perhaps the greatest cocktail recipe ever to have come to us out of the marketing department of a major corporation. Back in the 1960s, in a marketing campaign for cranberry juice, the Ocean Spray company featured a number of cocktail recipes made with cranberry juice. Fast forward twenty years to the test marketing of a new product called Absolut Citron and the modern formulation is born. Finally, with the TV show 'Sex in the City' consuming Comopolitans by the gallon we achieve one of the most popular drinks worldwide.

Or there's the true story in which several bartenders in several cities come up with similar drinks at different times.

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. We have added a little simple syrup but you could increase the amount of Cointreau instead.

Part of the problem with so many different recipes probably comes from the definition of 'cranberry juice.' The original Cosmo used 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.