The Vibrant Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

Updated October 20, 2021
Two cosmopolitan cocktails


  • 1¾ ounces citron vodka
  • ½ ounce cranberry juice, preferably unsweetened
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Lemon peel for garnish


  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, citron vodka, cranberry juice, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lemon twist.

Variations and Substitutions

The cosmopolitan can withstand a few changes before it becomes a different cocktail entirely, which is perfect for making just the right customizations for a drink you'll love.

  • For a less intense citrus flavor, use plain vodka or vary flavor with different infused vodkas.
  • If you want a more pronounced lime flavor, use lime vodka instead of citron.
  • Add a splash of cranberry liqueur for a bolder cranberry flavor.
  • A splash of elderflower adds a touch of floral notes.
  • Consider adding a drop of vanilla, cardamom, lavender, or thyme bitters for a richer Cosmo.
  • Use a sweetened lime juice for a less tart flavor.
  • Grapefruit flavored vodka offers a new flavor without changing the profile too much, as well.
  • Use blue curaçao for a change in color but not flavor.
  • Add a splash of sparkling wine to add some bubbles.
  • Substitute Pink Whitney for the citron vodka.
  • Try an alcohol-free virgin cosmopolitan mocktail.


Garnishes are an invaluable extension of any cocktail. They aren't to be treated as an afterthought. Any garnish adds a visual component as well as a nose and additional flavors that would otherwise be lacking.

  • Use an orange or lime wedge, wheel, or peel in place of the lemon peel.
  • Add a lemon slice or wheel to the lemon peel.
  • Pierce three fresh whole cranberries with a cocktail skewer.
  • Flame an orange peel.

About the Cosmopolitan Cocktail

The cosmopolitan first burst on the scene around the mid-1930s with a basic recipe of gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, and raspberry syrup. The modern recipe of vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice, and cranberry juice isn't too far removed from the original recipe. Its roots can't be accurately traced back, however, some credit the gay community in Provincetown as originating this cocktail, while a bartender at a steak house in Minneapolis is believed to have first shaken this cocktail up. In the regular battle of the east coast versus the west coast, New York City lays claim to originating the cosmo back in 1989, and San Francisco believes they were the ones to invent the classic back in the 1970s.

However or wherever it came to be, enough people around the United States had the same great idea of combining these ingredients into today's beloved cosmopolitan.

Respect the Pink

Don't overlook the cosmopolitan cocktail just because of its pink hue. It's a spirit-forward cocktail that can sneak up on anyone. So set aside your preconceived notions and add a splash of cranberry juice to sip on this famously pink and delicious cocktail.

The Vibrant Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe