Reports of the Cosmopolitan’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Yes, the drink’s co-starring role in Sex and the City gave it a tragic, child star-like narrative. It went from the most ordered cocktail on the planet to the black sheep of the bar in just a few years. Once a symbol of modern New York, it soon was the stuff of bad airport bars and cheesy chain restaurants. By the time the show went off the air in 2004, both discerning drinkers and craft mixologists didn’t just fall out of love—they hated it.
But don’t pity the Cosmopolitan. It’s been around since the 1930s. Carrie and her gal pals will fade into oblivion, but this simple, easy-to-riff-on stalwart will not only survive, it’s already getting better thanks to the iconoclastic leanings of the top bartenders in the business.
Kyle Ford, founder of Ford Mixology Lab, is a leading force behind the Cosmo’s comeback.
“At its heart, it’s a cocktail of classic proportions, much like other iconic sours, such as the Sidecar and Margarita,” he says.
Ford also laughs at the idea that the stiff Cosmo is a girly drink—he’ll often enjoy them with fellow barmen using the hashtag #cosbros on Instagram and Twitter.
The tried-and-true ’90s recipe—Absolut Citron, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and a splash of cranberry juice—holds up, but newer versions incorporate ingredients aligned with current cocktail trends, like house-infused lemon or cranberry vodkas, rhubarb shrub and freshly juiced fruit.
So, when you see a Cosmo on the menu from mixologists you trust, don’t scoff—order one (you too fellas), and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
Where The Cosmo Is Alive And Well
Victor Tangos in Dallas
Molly Ringwald: vodka, Cointreau, rhubarb shrub, cranberry, lime juice and cinnamon syrup
The Spotted Pig in New York City
Cosmopolitan: house-infused lemon vodka, Combier orange liqueur, cranberry and lime
Celeste in Chicago (off menu)
Cosmo: Beefeater gin, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, lime juice and a heavy dash of strawberry syrup
One to Try at Home:
The Nola Cosmopolitan from Cure in New Orleans
1 ounce Aylesbury Duck vodka
1 ounce Nardini Acqua di Cedro
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce Cointreau
½ ounce grenadine
5 drops Peychaud’s bitters
Orange twist, for garnish
Combine everything in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into anything but Carrie’s Martini glass. Top with an orange twist.