Sweet, tangy, and with a hefty amount of alcohol, this classic cocktail isn’t just for girl’s night anymore.
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This classy, pretty cocktail has been my favorite long before ‘Sex In The City’ brought it into pop culture. It is smooth, slightly sweet, a bit citrusy, and pink. How could it not be a favorite for girl’s night, bridal showers, weddings, you name it?
And to be honest, I am fussy when it comes to my Cosmo. Not too sweet, but not tart either. It has to have just the right amount of citrus flavor, and don’t even think about serving it over ice.
WHAT IS IN A COSMOPOLITAN?
There are many variations to this classic cocktail, but all of them will use vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and an orange-flavored liqueur.
My variation comes after many trials searching for the perfect combination of sweet and tangy and has a smoothness that is almost dangerous. Be careful though, this one can pack a punch.
I like using Mandarin orange vodka in this drink. It has a lovely, fresh, sweet orange flavor that mellows out the bite of the vodka.
Grand Marnier, which is a blend of cognac and triple sec, compliments the Mandarin vodka so well. Cointreau or triple sec can also be used, but I like the complexity that Grand Marnier adds.
And since I would call this classic cocktail ‘top shelf’, just try a small splash of vanilla or whipped cream vodka. You can’t really detect the flavor, but it just rounds out the flavors, adds another layer of complexity, and blends the flavors together. This is the ingredient that wows the tastebuds, and unless you made it, folks can’t place their finger on what makes this cocktail just a little bit better.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT COSMO
- Cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail can be used. If you use plain cranberry juice, you may need to add a bit of simple syrup or sweetener to your cocktail. Cranberry juice cocktail is usually sweeter.
- Use a vodka that you enjoy. You can also try different flavors such as citrus, lemon, or lime. This recipe uses a healthy amount of vodka, so unless your wallet is bottomless, you may want to try a mid-level brand.
- Although it is an extra step, the twist of lime or orange rind makes such a difference. Squeeze the rind over your cocktail to release the spray of essential oils into the drink, but also run the rind around the rim of the glass for a flavor boost. It’s just delicious.
- Making Cosmos for a crowd? Here are your portions to make 4 drinks at a time: 1 cup Mandarin Vodka, ¼ cup Vanilla vodka, ½ cup Grand Marnier, ½ cup cranberry juice cocktail, ¼-⅓ cup lime juice.
Are you looking for a few more classic cocktail recipes? Give my Classic Cadillac Margarita recipe a go or try these classic cocktail recipes that I found on the web (they’re all delicious and worth a try!):
- Classic Sidecar Cocktail from TheSpruceEats.com. Channel your inner ‘Mad Men’.
- Traditional Old Fashioned from SeriousEats.com. I don’t know what bitters are, but they are yummy!
- Vodka Martini from abeautifulmess.com. Shaken, not stirred and channel your inner Bond.
If you are looking to use a cocktail shaker like a pro, I found a great video from Liquor.com. You’ll be looking like Tom Cruise (from the movie ‘Cocktail”) in no time!Print
A classic cocktail recipe for the quintessiential 90’s libation. Vodka, Grand Marnier, and cranberry juice cocktail make for a martini recipe that is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. With a hefty amount of vodka, this pink beauty isn’t just for girl’s night out anymore.
- 2 ounces Mandarin Orange vodka
- 1 tablespoon vanilla or whipped cream vodka, optional
- 1 ounce Grand Marnier
- 1 ounce cranberry juice cocktail
- ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
- Lime or Orange twist, for garnish
- Combine the vodkas, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove a slice of lime or orange zest. Over the glass, twist the rind to release some of the essential oils into the bottom of the glass.
- Use the same piece of rind to rim the edge of the glass.
- Strain the cocktail through a strainer into the prepared martini glass.
- Garnish with a lime or orange twist.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Serving Size: 1