This Sunday is National Cosmopolitan Day, so to celebrate here is a little bit of history behind this iconic cocktail.
A true modern classic, and favourite tipple of the Sex and the City girls, the Cosmopolitan as we know it came into being in the 90s, although similar combinations of cranberry or other pink fruit juices with white spirits had been popular at various times since the 1930s.
One such drink is a concoction promoted by famous cranberry juice brand Ocean Spray in the 1960s. Called a Harpoon Cocktail, it called for one parts vodka mixed with two parts cranberry juice, and an optional slug of soda. Oddly the company changed the suggested spirit base to rum and even gin at various points over the years!
Perhaps the closest progenitor of the cosmo as we know it was born in the San Francisco gay scene during the 1970s and 80s. Not the best drink by the sound of it, mixing vodka with grenadine and lime cordial, it nevertheless became a popular cocktail, and eventually as bartenders moved around it found its way to New York. Here, a bartender at the Odeon called Toby Cecchini decided to swap the grenadine for cranberry juice, and use newly-released Absolut Citron along with triple sec and lime juice “I created the Cosmopolitan as it was known” says Toby.
But, as ever in the cocktail world there is another contender to the crown of cosmopolitan creator! Legendary bartender Dale DeGroff, who in 1996 was at the Rainbow Rooms in Manhattan. He heard about the cosmo and created his own version, which was heavier on the cranberry but included less lime juice as well as the now-famous flamed orange garnish. It is this recipe that gained the most exposure and is essentially the standard recipe to this day.
^ Cocktail legend Dale DeGroff on his contribution to the cosmo story.
When the creators of that perennially popular HBO show devoted to the fabulous lifestyles and hit-and-miss love lives of a certain four Manhattan ladies decided that the girls would show a preference for a stiff cosmo (amongst other things!) it became probably the most recognised cocktail in the world for the rest of the 90s. In the UK its trendiness was helped by the spread of Vodka Revolution bars into UK cities, along with a cocktail culture that had rarely been seen outside of London. It is now, quite rightly, a drink you should be able to order in any cocktail bar and enjoy the result!
20ml home infused citrus Absolut vodka
20ml Absolut vodka
20ml Combier Triple Sec
20ml Cranberry juice
10ml lime juice
1bsp lime cordial
2 dashed orange bitters
Shake all ingredients and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange zest twist.