Cosmopolitan From Scratch

September 13, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • makes 1 cocktail
Author Notes

I can’t speak from experience, but from what I’ve heard, the 80s were dominated by the martini. Appletini, Espresso Martini, Melontini, you name it. But what’s that? Cutting through the smoke machine fog, a bright pink beacon served up in an oversized martini glass screams “look at me!” over the noise of the crowd. Hello, Cosmo.

Two bartenders are widely credited with popularizing the cocktail: John Caine out of San Francisco and Toby Cecchini in New York City. This drink took over both cities for an entire decade, but like any fad, its stardom faded almost entirely by the mid ‘90s. But its story wasn’t finished forever. In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, a certain popular TV show reintroduced this pink herald and suddenly, it was everywhere again.

Created in a decade of flaunt and excess only to be revived by said show, it’s no surprise that there are some common misconceptions about this cocktail. First of all, the Cosmo is not a sweet drink. It may look like candy, but the combination of citron vodka—in the case of this recipe, vodka from our sponsor, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, infused with lemon slices—lime juice, and cranberry results in a tart, refreshing drink. The addition of orange liqueur rounds out the body of the drink while completing the citrus trifecta.

Make-ahead note: Allow at least 12 hours for your vodka to infuse with the lemon before using. —Harper Fendler

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is sponsored by Tito's Handmade Vodka.

*TitosVodka.com* Crafted to be savored responsibly. DISTILLED & BOTTLED BY FIFTH GENERATION INC. AUSTIN, TEXAS 40% ALC./VOL. ©2023 TITO’s HANDMADE VODKA.

What You'll Need
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Cosmopolitan From Scratch
  • For the cocktail:
  • 1 1/2 ounces lemon-infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce cranberry cordial
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • Lemon peel or lime wheel, for garnish

  • For the lemon-infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka:
  • 2 to 3 lemons, sliced into rings
  • 1 (375-milliliter) bottle Tito’s Handmade Vodka

  • For the cranberry cordial:
  • 100 grams frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 200 grams cane sugar
  • 8 grams orange zest
  1. For the lemon-infused vodka: Add lemon slices to a quart container, spreading out the lemons within the container as much as possible to speed up freezing, then cover. Transfer to the freezer for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Remove from the freezer and add Tito’s to frozen lemons. Agitate by giving the container a good shake. Cover and store at room temp for 12 hours.
  3. Fine strain into another quart container.
  4. For the cranberry cordial: Add ingredients to a blender along with 100 grams of water. Blend to combine, then fine strain into a glass jar or other resealable container.
  5. Add lemon-infused Tito’s, lime juice, cranberry cordial, and Cointreau to a shaker. Add ice and shake for 20 to 30 seconds (until the shaker is cold and developing a light frost).
  6. Fine strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with lemon peel or lime wheel.

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