The Cosmopolitan is a cocktail that utilizes the same flavor profile as the margarita, the daiquiri, and the sidecar with an objectively more fabulous presentation. The frothy, lightly pink cocktail should be, as its creator Toby Cecchini describes, “an ephemeral delight.” It isn’t a drink that sits heavy in your mouth; it isn’t a cocktail that wants too much of your time. Think of the Cosmo as a fleeting pleasure—the first sip tight with acid, followed by a lovely roll of sweetness before—POOF!—it’s gone. Always cherish your cosmos. They are a rare drink that forces you to appreciate it in real time.
2 oz Citrus Oil Steeped Vodka
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz lime
1 ½ oz cranberry cocktail
1 tsp Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
- Combine the peels of 1 lemon with 4 oz vodka in a jar. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, allowing the citrus oils to soak into the vodka.
- Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker tin with ice. Shake well, about 40 seconds.
- Double strain into a large coupe or martini glass.
- Peel off one long strip of lemon. Express the oils of the peel over the cocktail and place on the lip of the glass.
While most people credit Toby Cecchini with the creation of the Cosmo, he will argue the opposite: the Cosmo isn’t his creation, but rather a drink that he merely tweaked. It was Toby that introduced the idea of using Cointreau specifically as the orange liqueur in the Cosmopolitan, citing his margarita build as the template for his choices on what to change. Switching Cointreau in for the cheap triple sec and fresh lime instead of sweetened lime cordial breathed life into what was a sweet, cheap drink.
Like Toby, I don’t think big changes need to come to the cosmo to make it into a beautiful drink. The addition of a Hot Pepper Vodka brings some serious heat to this drink, while the tart pomegranate works in tandem with cranberry to continue the fruit forward flavor the Cosmo is known for—and while the mezcal wash is optional, it’s arguably my favorite part of the drink.
¾ oz Hot Pepper Vodka
¾ oz Pisco
¾ oz Pomegranate
½ oz Cranberry Cocktail
½ oz Lime
½ oz Cointreau
¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino
Bar Spoon Rich Sugar Syrup
- Combine all ingredients, except mezcal, into a cocktail shaker tin with ice.
- Rinse a coupe glass with mezcal. Be sure to discard any mezcal that has settled in the bottom of the glass. Set aside.
- Shake the cocktail well until the tin has frosted in your hands, about 40 seconds.
- Double strain into the mezcal washed glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and enjoy while listening to “Young Woman’s Blues” by Bessie Smith.
Hot Pepper Vodka
½ cup vodka
5-7 hot peppers of your choice (such as serranos, fresnos, jalapenos, chipotle, etc.)
- Add whole peppers to vodka and seal with lid.
- Check your infusion every 2 minutes until it has reached your desired heat level. Strain out pepper and discard.
NOTE: Hot peppers can take minutes to infuse, so you’ll want to watch this one! While I prefer to keep my peppers whole, you’re welcome to open them to speed up the process, but you’ll want to stay vigilant with your checking about how long it is infusing.