Twenty odd years passed by in the annals of cocktail mythology er .. mixology before fiction became fact to produce the actual bartender who created the Cosmopolitan. Apparently, history just couldn’t believe Cheryl Cook was a real person let alone the brains behind this sexy drink.
The Birth of the Cosmopolitan: A Tale of Two Bartenders unearthed the truth straight from the source in 2006 after 20+ years of rumor, mystery and disbelief. Known at the time as the “Martini Queen of South Beach”, she was the head bartender at the Strand and was approached by her spirits distributor with a new vodka being test marketed in 1985-1986 and asked her to come up with something.
Martinis were all the rage all over again and women were ordering them more for the classic glass they came in than for the taste. Since neither the true gin martini or the new vodka version were female flavor favorites, this sparked the idea to create a drink more palatable that still looked appealing.
“The ingredients, as I always phrased it, ‘Absolut Citron, a splash of triple sec, a drop of Rose’s lime and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink,’ fell in suit. Basically this recipe is a no brainier, mixing wise. Merely a kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice. My objective was also a “design” task. To create a visually stunning cocktail in a beautiful glass. Pretty and pretty tasty too. Not so much trying to reinvent the wheel, just bringing it up to speed.” ~ Cheryl Cook
The second person in this tale, Toby Cecchini, owner of Passerby in Manhattan and author of Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life, became acquainted with a modified version which used plain vodka, Rose’s lime juice and grenadine instead. He went back to the original, gave it a facelift by using brand specific Cointreau along with fresh lime juice, and voila!
The Cosmo’s crazy popularity, especially among women, is largely attributed to the HBO smash hit series Sex and the City where Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, and her three girlfriends would frequently order the cocktail while out on the town. When the show moved from TV to film, Miranda asks why they stopped drinking them and Carrie replied “because everyone else started.”
Well, its still very much a crowd favorite and included in the cocktail recipes of the most popular drinks. “When faced with a sudden onslaught of uninvited guests around the cocktail hour, serve Cosmopolitans. A drink like this is easily adapted by home hosts on those occasions when mixing seems like too much stress and strain.” ~ Cocktail: The Drinks Bible For The 21st Century
Cosmopolitan Drink Recipe:
- 1 1/2 oz vodka infused with citrus
- 3/4 oz orange liqueur
- 1/2 oz lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 splash cranberry juice
Shake with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
So you add a splash of cranberry juice to the power drinker’s kamikaze and end up with the sophistication of the Cosmopolitan. Perception is reality and sometimes fiction is fact.
Cosmos are also related to Cape Codders and their cranberry cocktail cousins. A version of this drink needs to be included in the home bar owner’s arsenal of cocktail recipes.