One of my favorite cocktails is a cosmopolitan. I’ve also got a thing for Old Fashioneds and Margaritas, but last night it was all about the cosmos.

The first thing I loved about cosmopolitans was that they were served in cocktail glasses, and sweet-tart. Unfortunately I’m incredibly uncoordinated, so I’d spill a third of my drink in the first few sips. After spilling anything in a cocktail glass all over myself when out in public, and breaking most of my cocktail glasses at home (seriously, can’t take me any where), I gave up on pretty drinks in cocktail glasses and the cosmo was off my drink list for a few years.

Well, except in Montreal where they sell 40s of cosmos, but that’s neither here nor there. And it’s more of a fizzy malt beverage type drink than a real cosmo any way.

But for some reason, as cosmopolitan just felt right yesterday. I think the last time I ordered one was about three years ago. It was at a bar that a friend of Albany John’s had just opened and the owner hired mostly people he knew. The cosmo came out clear, and after asking for more cranberry juice, I swear, you’d think there was a cranberry juice scarcity. I took a sip and winced (it was also warm). When I asked him for more cranberry juice, he said that was the right way to make a cosmo. I wanted to counter with “Dude, I used to be a bartender and that is not how you make a cosmo.” since it was a kind of douchey reply to a customer just asking for more cranberry juice. But that would have been an even douchier reply, and he did end up giving me a few drops of cranberry juice.
I wish I were exaggerating, but he was adding cranberry juice by the drop, asking if it was enough. He eventually turned it a pale almost pinky shade, at which point I tried it again and then made Albany John finish it. Warm, vaguely cranberry-flavored vodka does not taste good!

Let me tell you a better way to make a cosmo. It might not be the perfect way, but it is a way. And it is certainly not a clear colored cosmo:
(2) Vodka
(1) Triple Sec
(1/2) Limes
(1) Cranberry Juice

If you want a volume to fill one of those cute cocktail glasses you should use the measurements in parenthesis with a shot glass. Shake it with some ice, and strain into your cocktail glass.
Add a little more cranberry juice and less vodka if you want your drink lighter. But for the love of lobster, if you’re going to make this, do not use any well vodkas. And by well vodkas, I am talking Fleishman’s, Mr. Boston, and Nikolai vodkas. If you like Smirnoff, use that. I’m no liquor snob, but if your vodka smells like rubbing alcohol… your cosmo will taste like rubbing alcohol. Personally, I really like Ruskova Vodka for a cheap mixing vodka. No bite or anything. I thought of doing Cointreau, but that costs nearly four times as much as triple sec and my inner cheapskate balked at that, so I figure I won’t know the goodness I’m missing.

The cocktails above look a little lighter because I used lower calorie cranberry juice, which makes it healthy and they tend to be a little lighter than real cranberry juice.

Not too shabby at all. Maybe cosmos and I will rekindle our friendship this summer. Or at least until the bottle of Ruskova is gone. Or Albany John drinks all of the cranberry juice in the middle of the night.

By the way, I sipped 1/3 of my cocktail straight from the glass, on the counter, before I even thought of moving it. At least I knew where it was while I was prepping dinner.

  1. DelSo said:

    I've got a glut of limes in the fridge and no tequila – this is the answer to my prayers. Thank you, AJ.

  2. According to Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz in “The Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics” the cosmo should have enough cranberry to give the drink a cotton-candy hue.

    They call for a splash, which I think is less than your one-part and more than your db bartender who added it by the drop.

    That's my answer, and I'm sticking to it. Plus Cointreau… it's really good stuff.

  3. chanster said:

    That bartender sounds awesome. Thanks for the drink recipe – maybe now the cosmo is back in vogue after SATC killed it three times over?

  4. Another decent vodka for mixed drinks is Svedka, which is also reasonable in price – the citrus version works well in cosmos too.

  5. Alan, you read my mind. I was thinking “Hmmm I have a nearly full bottle of Svdeka Citrus & Cointreau.

    Thanks for the perfect recipe, AlbanyJane 🙂

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