Classic Cosmopolitan

Make a classic Cosmopolitan drink without ever leaving the comfort of your own home! This classy cocktail is known and loved by many — and it’s no surprise why. It’s absolutely delicious!

A pink cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a lemon peel, with a similar drink and whole lemons in the background.

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About this Cosmopolitan Drink recipe

Everything is looking pretty in pink with this delicious Cosmopolitan drink! With an elegant presentation and an incredibly simple recipe, this tasty cocktail is perfect for any occasion and any season.

This pink drink is made rosy with a splash of cranberry juice, giving it a pretty color and a wonderful, tart, berry flavor. This classic was invented in 1989 but we all know “the Cosmo” was popular because it was Carrie Bradshaw’s drink of choice for a night on the town in the late ’90s and early ’00s.

It’s a bit similar to the Cape Codder, but I’d consider it more elegant. And the addition of orange liqueur is a delicious touch! Whip up this cocktail in just a few minutes, then sip and enjoy to the very last drop.

More cranberry cocktail recipes: Cranberry MimosasPoinsettia DrinkCranberry Yule MuleMadras Cocktail

Why you’ll love this recipe

What’s not to love about a pretty pink cocktail with the most delicious flavor? This drink is so much fun:

  • You only need four ingredients to make a Cosmo. They’re easy ingredients to keep on hand, too! So you can make this cocktail whenever you want.
  • There’s little to no prep work. Just add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake it up and serve.
  • This elegant little cocktail is super versatile. Serve it at showers, gatherings, and brunches or simply enjoy while watching an episode of your favorite TV show!

From casual sipping to a fancy lunch or brunch, you’ll love this classic Cosmo. The tart flavor of cranberry juice and fresh lime juice is irresistibly tasty. Serve it up with some flaky bruschetta pinwheels for an extra fun pairing.

Two pink cocktails in martini glasses, garnished with a twist of lemon peel, surrounded by whole lemons and a brass jigger on a white background.

What is a Cosmopolitan?

This classic Cosmopolitan was created by Toby Cecchini and Melissa Huffsmith-Roth in 1989. The cosmo was made popular by the TV show SATC on HBO.

This yummy drink, often referred to as just a “Cosmo” is made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and fresh squeezed lime juice.

The drink is both sweet and tangy and has a gorgeous pink color that makes it perfect for parties and girls nights!

Tools & glassware 

To make this pretty pink cocktail, you’ll need a few simple tools. Make sure you have a jigger and a cocktail shaker. You’ll also need a sharp pairing knife or a vegetable peeler if you plan on making a lemon twist.

Serve this cocktail in a martini glass or a coupe glass. The ones pictured here are coupe glasses, with a more rounded shape than a V-shaped martini glass.

 
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A pink cocktail in a glass with a lemon twist garnish on a white marble surface, with a jigger and sliced lemons nearby.

Ingredients

This simple list of ingredients are all that you need to make a cosmopolitan cocktail:

  • vodka: Not sure what type of vodka to use in this cocktail? Then check out my vodka 101 post. Add extra flavor to your drink by using citrus vodka!
  • cranberry juice: You can use 100% cranberry juice or a cranberry cocktail mixture. It’s totally up to you.
  • Cointreau: This is an orange liqueur that will add so much flavor to your cocktail.
  • lime juice: For the best flavor in this drink, use fresh squeezed lime juice instead of bottle lime juice.
  • lemon twist, for garnish: You can also make a twist with orange peel instead of lemon peel.
A person garnishes a pink cocktail in a coupe glass with a lemon twist, with another similar cocktail in the background.

Garnishes

The classic garnish for a Cosmo is a lemon twist, but you could also use a lemon slice. A dehydrated lemon slice would be a fun garnish for this cocktail, as would candied lemon slices.

You could also go entirely different with a garnish like a strawberry sugar rim. Fresh, frozen or sugared cranberries would be a great garnish too!

Substitutions & variations

Try one of these variations on this recipe:

Change the juice: You can play with other kinds of juice to make your own combinations. Use a mixture like cranberry-pomegranate, or another fruity juice like I do in this Guava Cosmopolitan.

Make it a mocktail: If you want to try a non-alcoholic Cosmo, you can emulate the vodka flavor with a non-alcoholic spirit like Seedlip Garden 108. You can also omit the alcohol and just add a smidge more cranberry juice. For the orange liqueur, you can use a splash of orange juice or a non-alcoholic orange liqueur like Lyre’s Orange Sec.

Instructions

Follow these step by step instructions to make this classic Cosmopolitan drink that embodies the class of New York City:

A hand pours a clear liquid from a small brass measuring cup into a textured glass on a white surface.
A hand pouring yellow liquid from a small metal pitcher into a textured clear glass.
A hand pouring a clear liquid from a small measuring cup into a textured glass containing a light yellow beverage.
A hand pours red liquid from a small metal measuring cup into a textured glass containing a yellow drink.

Add vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau and lime juice to a cocktail shaker.

A hand holds ice cubes over a glass containing a pink beverage on a white surface.
Close-up of a hand holding a gold cocktail shaker filled with a pink liquid, placed on a white marble surface.

Next, add ice cubes and shake well to chill and until thoroughly combined.

A pink beverage in a textured, transparent cocktail shaker with a gold-colored lid, on a light surface.
A pink cocktail is being poured from a shaker into a coupe glass on a white marble surface. Another coupe glass with pink liquid is in the background.

Strain the tart cocktail mixture into a coupe glass or martini glass. Garnish your Cosmopolitan drink with a lemon twist and then serve!

Tips & tricks

Check out these simple tips and tricks for the best results when making a cosmopolitan drink:

  • To keep your cocktail cold, chill the glass first! This will keep it at a good temperature so that it’s extra tasty.
  • If you find that your drink is too tart, you can add a little bit of simple syrup to even out the flavor.
  • Don’t make your drink until you’re ready to serve. You don’t want it to get watered down from the ice in the shaker.
A pale pink cocktail garnished with lemon twists in a coupe glass, with a jigger and a whole lemon in the background on a white surface.

Food pairings

Pair this tart little number with snacks like a charcuterie board, or bacon, fig and goat cheese crostini. Anything cranberry like cranberry brie bites would also be a very tasty pairing.

Caprese skewers are great bite-sized appetizers to serve with this Cosmopolitan drink at cocktail hour.

Pair it with a dinner like lemon ricotta pasta or some penne rosa. It’s such a versatile beverage!

FAQ

Which is better in a Cosmo, triple sec or Cointreau?

I personally recommend using Cointreau, but you can use triple sec if you prefer. Grand Mariner would also work if that is all that you have on hand.

What’s the best vodka for a cosmopolitan?

Absolut citron vodka is the most commonly used vodka. However, you can use plain vodka or another flavor you like. You can even use another citrus-flavored vodka to give this cocktail an extra little twist.

Two pink cocktails garnished with lemon twists in martini glasses, with a cocktail jigger and a lemon in the background.

More Classy Recipes

A pink cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a lemon peel, with a similar drink and whole lemons in the background.

Classic Cosmopolitan Drink

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This delicious cranberry cocktail is a classic for a reason! Shake it all together, serve and enjoy.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • ¾ ounces cranberry juice
  • ¾ ounces Cointreau
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • lemon twist for garnish

instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau and lime juice. Shake well.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, such as a coupe glass or martini glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

notes

Try one of these variations on this recipe:
Change the juice: You can play with other kinds of juice to make your own combinations. Use a mixture like cranberry-pomegranate, or another fruity juice like I do in this Guava Cosmopolitan.
Make it a mocktail: If you want to try a non-alcoholic Cosmo, you can emulate the vodka flavor with a non-alcoholic spirit like Seedlip Garden 108. You can also omit the alcohol and just add a smidge more cranberry juice. For the orange liqueur, you can use a splash of orange juice or a non-alcoholic orange liqueur like Lyre’s Orange Sec.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 4.5ounces Calories: 213kcal Carbohydrates: 12g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.02g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g Sodium: 3mg Potassium: 56mg Fiber: 0.1g Sugar: 10g Vitamin A: 24IU Vitamin C: 10mg Calcium: 6mg Iron: 0.1mg
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