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Photo: Ivan Della Nave

The Cosmopolitan

Vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime. Here are the ingredients and step-by-step recipe to prepare the world's best cosmo.

18 May, 2021
Average: 4.2 (6 votes)

serves for



Lime juice
1/2 OZ (15 ml)
Triple sec/Cointreau
1/2 OZ (15 ml)
Dry Vodka
1 OZ (30 ml)
Cranberry juice
2 OZ (60 ml)
Half of a slice


The cosmopolitan should be served without ice. This is why, before starting, it is a good idea to put a cocktail glass directly in the freezer to cool. The tasting experience will be optimal.

Cool an empty shaker - for home use we recommend the 'cobbler shaker', also known as 'traditional' or 'continental'. It consists of three parts: a lower part (made of steel, glass or plastic), which acts as a container where the ingredients are placed, a first upper part consisting of a perforated cap that serves as a filter, also called a dome, and a second upper part representing the lid, also called a hat, to be placed over the filter.


Cocktail cup


Shaker - manual juicer - strainer - jigger - potato peeler - fruit knife - fruit tweezers - torch


Shake and double strain method


Step 01

cosmopolitan recipe 01

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

Squeeze 1/2 OZ (15 ml) of lime with the manual pressure juicer directly into the jigger (to check the exact amount of juice) and pour it into the shaker.



Step 02

cosmopolitan recipe 02

Photo: Ivan Della Nave


Measure with the jigger and pour 2 OZ (60 ml) of cranberry juice into the shaker.

Step 03

cosmopolitan recipe 03

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

Measure with the jigger and pour 1/2 OZ (15 ml) of triple sec / Cointreau into the shaker.


Step 04

cosmopolitan recipe 04

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

Measure with the jigger and pour 1 OZ (30 ml) of dry vodka into the shaker.


Step 05

cosmopolitan recipe 05

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

Fill the shaker with ice up to 3/4 of its capacity.


Step 06

cosmopolitan recipe 06

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

Close the shaker and shake vigorously, until it is completely frozen.


Step 07

cosmopolitan recipe 07

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

Remove the glass from the freezer and pour the cocktail filtering it with a colander (double strain). Double filtering is done to prevent ice flakes from ending up inside the glass. 


Step 08

With a potato peeler, remove a strip of zest from an orange. Aromatise everything with the essential oils of the citrus fruit. Positioning it with a lit torch above the glass, spray the essential oils by folding the orange peel removed from the fruit with a potato peeler. The splashes of the orange essence will burst and release their fragrance when they meet the flame of the torch, and fall into the cocktail and on the rim of the glass.

Step 09

cosmopolitan recipe 08

Photo: Ivan Della Nave

The cosmopolitan first appeared in 1927. Scottish bartender Harry MacElhone called a cocktail of whiskey, vermouth, Swedish punch and vodka 'cosmopolitan'. In 1934, a version much more similar to the current one was described.

In the '70s, many baristas revisited that first version of the cosmo and claimed the authorship of the current one. Among them Neal Murray, bartender at Cork & Cleaver steakhouse in Minneapolis; John Caine, bartender in Provincetown, and Cheryl Cook, bartender at The Strand restaurant in South Beach.

Cook herself said she invented the cocktail to satisfy everyone's taste. In 1985 the martini was in fashion, but women liked the glass more than the cocktail. "So I came up with the idea of ​​creating a cocktail that would look good in this classic glass. My distributor brought me a new product and told me to create something, so I took the ingredients: Absolut Citron, a dose of triple sec, a drop of Rose's Lime and enough cranberry to make it so deliciously pink."

Dale DeGroff of the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center declares instead that he was inspired by a cocktail tasted at the Fog City Diner in San Francisco, and that he invented the decoration with orange peel.


The official recipe I.B.A. involves the use of lemon-flavoured vodka, but personally, I prefer to use a smooth, dry vodka, because I find it senseless to combine a flavoured product with a cocktail in which there is the freshly-squeezed juice of another fruit.

The choice between triple sec and Cointreau determines the flavour of the cocktail because although they are both orange-based liqueurs, the first has a lower alcohol content, usually between 20 and 25% vol, while the second about 40% vol. The other difference is that Cointreau has an alcohol base that comes from Brandy or Cognac, so it has a stronger flavour, which is why I choose it. The quantity of Cranberry juice would officially be 1 OZ, but to get a softer and sweeter taste you can increase it to 2 OZ.


There are several cosmopolitan recipes, one is the metropolitan, in which the triple sec / Cointreau is replaced with the creme de cassis. Another variant is the atlolitan or peach cosmopolitan, in which the triple sec / Cointreau is replaced with peach schnapps. In the 'purple rain', the triple sec / Cointreau is replaced with blue curaçao.

These are just some of the recipes of cosmopolitan variants.



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