The Booze Blog Portal - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

05 November 2014

The IBA Project: Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan  here IS pink. Really. I've got bad lighting. 
The Grandfather Story:
There are too many versions of its origins - so you gotta take your pick as to which one you'd prefer to believe:
1) The Cosmopolitan Daisy, found in a bartending  book from the 1930s, could've been its ancestor. While a lot of the basic ingredients were not quite the same, the end product was characteristically what today's cosmo looked like. Jigger Gordons Gin, 2 Dashes Cointreau, Juice of one Lemon, Teaspoon Raspberry (syrup)
2) Ocean Spray printed its version of Cosmopolitan in the 1960s called the "Harpoon" to sell more of its juice: 2 oz. cranberry, 1 oz. vodka or light rum or gin, over the rocks or tall with soda, with an optional splash of lime or lemon.
3) Apparently it was created by the gay community in the 1970s, by adding cranberry juice into a kamikaze.
4) Cheryl Cook, a bartender from Miami south beach could have invented it in the 1980s. Featuring the absolut citron, she said that it was simply a twist of the kamikaze and named after the fashion magazine. Rose's lime cordial was used instead of lime juice. 1.5 oz Citrus vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, .5 oz Fresh lime juice, 1 or 2 Dashes cranberry juice
5) Toby Cecchini was another bartender in the later part of 1980 who decided to switch the cordial to fresh lime juice (thank god). 2 part Absolut Citron vodka, 1 part cranberry juice, 1 part lime juice, 1 part cointreau. 
6) Yet another bartender, Dale DeGroff , in the mid 1990s was supposedly to have "fixed" the formula into what is known as the now standard recipe for Cosmo, and added the orange peel. Then Madonna (the singer, not the virgin) was seen holding it at his bar - which started the whole cosmo craze back then. 1 1/2 oz. Citron Vodka, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice, 1 oz. Cranberry Juice, Garnish with an orange peel.
Whichever version you choose, 3 things are for certain 1) it is a post-prohibition cocktail 2) it was created in America 3) it is crazy popular among the ladies today thanks to Carrie (from Sex & The City, not the horror movie lol).

Squeeze the orange peel over the drink.
Strength & Taste:
Light sweetness from the cointreau, tarty from the cranberry and lime, tasty from the combination of everything. With that lovely orange scent from the peel. It'll make you salivate and peckish. It's not strong at all, at most one shot of Vodka. But you really need to drink it fast while its cold.

IBA standard recipe & method:
4 cl Citron Vodka
1.5 cl Cointreau
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
3 cl Cranberry juice

Shake all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Strain into a large cocktail glass
Garnish with lime slice.

  • Some recipes call for cordial but please, stick to fresh juice. I'm not a fan of cordial. Ever.
  • You may use any triple sec instead of Cointreau. I'll stick to Cointreau for now because I'm a snob that way.
  • Blue cosmo =  white cranberry juice + blue curacao instead of triple sec.
  • A Cosmocello = substitutes limoncello for the lime juice.
  • A Francillian = substitutes sangria for cranberry juice.
  • A Peach Cosmopolitan = peach schnapps for triple sec and peach juice for the cranberry
  • A dash of orange bitters could be used for an added oomph. It really subdues the tart, complements your triple sec and adds a tinge of depth with its bitterness.
  • You could flame your peel while you squeeze it - Ups the cool factor by quite a bit. No other reason.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • Original recipe is really sour. Not tooooooo darn sour for me, when consumed super cold. But may be tooooo darn sour for some. 
  • I've come to realise that I prefer a thicker texture to my cocktails. That means a little more liqueur or sugar or something which has high contents of sugar. What I'm saying is that the IBA version is too thin - so I'll either up the cointreau or lower the cranberry/lime.
  • Need to make a smaller drink. All drinks which are not served with ice require a smaller portion as it warms up too quickly when served in Malaysian room temperature and substantially changes the taste of the drink. Bleh.
  • The orange must be in room temperature. Chilled oranges make the peels release less oils. I'm sure there's a good chemistry reason for that which I'm too lazy to Google for, but you can Google it if you wish.
  • I like a huge orange peel. There's something about the smell from the freshly squeezed orange peel that feels like bliss. And squeeze just before you or your guest is about to consume the drink so everyone gets a lovely whiff.

Cosmo. All pink with a bit of orange.
My Preference:
45ml Citron vodka
15ml cointreau
10ml lime juice
45ml cranberry juice
One GIANT orange peel
Frozen martini glass
1 dash of orange bitters (optional)

Pour everything into shaker with loads of big ice. Shake it hard. Strain into glass (optional, but purists want to see clear liquid without shard of ice. Japanese will want their shards). Squeeze orange peel over glass, rub it around the rim and drop it into the drink just before serving.

Sources & for more:

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project