This classic Cosmopolitan recipe creates a fresh, bright and slightly tart cocktail with the perfect amount of sweetness. The right type of vodka, high quality orange liqueur, plenty of fresh lime juice and a splash of cranberry juice creates the best cosmo!
We also love the Paloma Cocktail, another fun and festive choice!
The Cosmopolitan cocktail is pretty, classy, and one of the most popular martini drinks of all time.
And, just because at least one of the Sex in the City ladies held a cosmo in her hand on every single episode, it really isn’t a “girly” drink. Guys love them too!
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There were not many cocktails being consumed in this house in our early years. I think it may have had something to do with the people pictured above.
My husband has quite a talent for mixing drinks. A talent he discovered later in life.
As the boys grew older, we started to enjoy a cocktail now and then and my man can mix a mean one. Seriously. It’s hard to find a cocktail anywhere that compares to his. Especially his Cosmopolitan, it is perfection. This is his recipe (a first on this site!) and it’s a good one.
Ingredients for the Best Cosmopolitan Cocktail
- Vodka – The best vodka for a Cosmopolitan is a high quality unflavored vodka like Belvedere, Kettle One, or Grey Goose. These top-shelf vodkas have a crisp, clean flavor that works perfectly for a cosmo. I don’t recommend using a citron vodka because it is SO much better to get that citrus flavor from fresh lime juice.
- Orange Liqueur – Cointreau is a clear, orange-flavored liqueur with a clean, smooth finish. Another great choice (and our favorite!) is Patron Citrónge, although it can be hard to find. We prefer both of these over Triple Sec which is lower in quality, less complex, and has more of syrupy finish.
- Cranberry Juice – Cranberry juice cocktail, like Ocean Spray, gives the drink a festive pink-red tint and a bit of sweetness. We find unsweetened cranberry juice too tart for our taste.
- Lime – It’s absolutely a requirement to have fresh limes on hand when making cosmos. This is a citrusy drink and fresh lime juice is a must. Grab a couple of extra limes for garnishing the drinks.
- Cocktail Shaker – A stainless steel cocktail shaker with a built-in strainer helps keep the ingredients chilled and then allows you to strain the drinks through the ice and into your glasses. Make sure it is large enough to mix two drinks at once to save time.
- Citrus Juicer – Although not required, it will make things a little easier if you have a handy, dandy, citrus squeezer.
- Glasses – You’ll also need some martini glasses. If you want to be real classy, go with vintage style coupe glasses. I just feel so special drinking from a coupe!
We like to store our stainless steel cocktail shaker in the freezer so it’s as cold as possible and ready to shake up cocktails at a moment’s notice.
How to Make the Best Cosmopolitan Cocktail
- Fill a large cocktail shaker about half to three-quarters full with small pieces of ice. Pour in the vodka, orange liqueur, and cranberry juice. Squeeze the juice from half a lime into the shaker.
- Place the cover on the shaker and shake well, at least ten times or more.
- Strain the cocktails into two martini glasses.
Smaller pieces of ice are better for shaking cocktails then large ice cubes. Place ice cubes in a zippered plastic storage bag and tap lightly with a meat mallet to break them down into smaller pieces.
The Lime Garnish
For a Cosmopolitan that looks like it was made by a pro bartender, add a garnish of lime.
- A lime twist can be balanced on the edge of the glass or dropped into the cocktail.
- For a less fussy option, garnish the glass with a thin slice of lime.
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- Ice, as needed
- 3 ounces high quality vodka, like Belvedere, Kettle One, or Grey Goose
- 1 ½ ounces orange flavored liqueur, like Cointreau or Patron Citrónge
- 1 ½ ounces cranberry juice cocktail
- ½ fresh lime, plus additional for garnish
- Fill a large cocktail shaker about ¾ full with small pieces of ice. Pour in the vodka, orange liqueur, and cranberry juice. Squeeze the juice from half a lime into the shaker. Cover and shake well, at least ten times or more.
- Strain the cocktail into two martini glasses.
- Garnish with a slice of lime or a lime twist if desired, and serve. Cheers!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on February 23, 2012. It has been updated with new text and images.
Questions and Reviews
This is a wonderful recipe! Thanks to you and Paul for sharing it. The picture of your boys is so adorable, I want to squeeze all of cheeks!
yes, I agree, a good cosmo is the way to go, and your recipe looks tasty. I use close to the same ingredients; 2 shots absolut vodak(cause absolut actually has a taste to it compared to like grey goose that is so pure), 1 1/2 – 2 shots ocean spray cranberry juice(has to be ocean spray) and 1/4 shot of Grand Marnier. fresh lime, and lots of it, adds to the magic. I have learned over the years that in order to make a good martini of any kind that you should NOT keep the vodak(etc) in the refrig of freezer because part of the drink itself is that the ice should melt in with the ingredients in the shaker, that actually is a big part of the drink. this drink will take you to your happy place:)
So that’s what it’s called! I love cranberry, vodka and lime, but had no idea if there was a name for it. I’ve never had the orange liquor but that obviously makes a good thing better! Love your post and all of the fun pictures as well as the great shots of the cocktail!
Mine’s a master cocktail maker as well. Nice skill to find in a man 🙂 We use Cointreau instead of Triple Sec. Much more expensive but also much smoother and we make sure the glasses and the vodka are frozen. In fact, we just keep most bar essentials in the freezer 🙂
Congrats on your husband’s skills 🙂 We prefer the Citronge over the Cointreau or Triple Sec. It’s really clean and makes such a nice difference in the outcome of the drink. Excellent point about keeping the vodka in the freezer. That accounts for the frosty looking bottle in the photo above. Thanks Anita!
Wow, this looks so elegant! I have no experience with mixology, but this looks wonderful.
It’s so cute and purty. I don’t drink but if I could this would totally be my drink.
It is pretty girly looking isn’t it? I often tease my husband about this fact.
I’m with Jen, if only the hubby could make that and deliver it to me on the deck. Yea!. Looks refreshing.
If only he could teach my husband that trick!
He’d be happy to Jen 🙂