Perfect Cosmopolitan Cocktail

Not overly sweet or too tart, our cosmopolitan cocktail recipe is perfect to shake up for one or even prepare in advance for a crowd. Jump to the Cosmopolitan Cocktail recipe now or read on to see how we make it.

While there are many variations, ours comes from what we (and most of our friends) keep stocked in our pantry.

Perfect Cosmopolitan Cockail Recipe

Good vodka, triple sec (although you could use Cointreau) and fresh lime. A twist of sweet fragrant orange peel and you’re set.

Old Fashioned Cocktail RecipeYou May Also Like This: How to make one of our favorite cocktails: The Old Fashioned. See our recipe and tips for making the best Old Fashioned at home.

What You Need to Know – Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

When choosing the vodka, go for something mid to high range. We’ll usually stock Stolichnaya or “Stoli,” but use what you know you enjoy. The other thing to remember, here is to use fresh lime juice – not the bottled stuff. We realize it’s a little more work, but the taste is so much better.

Lastly, we love adding a little orange peel to this. Sure, it may look like an unnecessary garnish, but if you do it right, it’s adds a little sweetness and as you go into to take a sip of the cosmopolitan cocktail, you’ll get orange essence, which hides the strength and scent of the vodka.

When you add the orange peel, peel it over the drink. This way, any oils that spray out from the orange, fall into the drink. Rubbing the edges of the glass doesn’t hurt either.

Perfect Cosmopolitan

It’s such a fresh, bright and happy drink. Don’t you think?

Perfect Cosmopolitan Cocktail RecipeDid you like our cosmopolitan cocktail recipe? If so, you may also like these:

Recipe updated, originally posted December 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

4.9 from 10 reviews
Perfect Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Not too sweet or too tart, this cosmopolitan cocktail recipe is perfect to serve one or many. We like to use unflavored or citrus flavored vodka in this. If you can, since there is quite a lot of vodka in the recipe, choose vodka that is medium priced or that's even top-shelf. We like to use Stolichnaya. We love adding a little orange peel to this. Sure, it may look like an unnecessary garnish, but if you do it right, it’s adds a little sweetness and as you go into to take a sip of the cosmopolitan cocktail, you’ll get orange essence, which hides the strength and scent of the vodka. When you add the orange peel, peel it over the drink. This way, any oils that spray out from the orange, fall into the drink. Rubbing the edges of the glass doesn’t hurt either.
Created By:
Yield: Serves 1
You Will Need
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) triple sec
  • 3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons) cranberry juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons) fresh lime juice
  • 1 2-inch orange peel/twist
  • ice
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) vodka
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) triple sec
  • 3 ounces (1/3 cup) cranberry juice
  • 1 to 2 ounces (2 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 4 2-inch orange peels/twists
FOR 1 Serving
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. (We like the extra bite of extra lime juice, so we use 1/2 an ounce in our cosmopolitan cocktails. However, use what is best for your taste).
  2. Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with orange peel/twist. For an extra burst of flavor, peel the orange twist over the filled cocktail glass. This way, the orange oils spray into the glass.
  1. Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and the lime juice to a pitcher then stir. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour into four martini glasses and garnish with orange peel/twist.

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59 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Destend2b February 2, 2016, 6:26 pm

    Wow this Cosmo is soooooo good. Had to sub Cointreau for Triple Sec and it is fantastic.

  • Coral November 12, 2015, 5:47 pm


    • M. Kuebler December 24, 2015, 7:24 pm

      Delicious! Thank you for the Cosmopolitan recipe! I give it 5 stars! It’s xmas eve and I needed something to start it off with!

  • Meg November 11, 2015, 7:50 pm

    Delicious. Finally found a good Cosmo recipe

  • Kelly November 7, 2015, 7:28 am

    Love how strong it was …like you stated!
    It was perfect!
    I like how you have the recipe for 1 and 4 servings…( love that!!! )

  • Joséphine Walder October 24, 2015, 11:32 pm

    I like it. Thanks..

  • Bill Giakas September 27, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Where can I get the orange peeler shown?

    • Joanne October 16, 2015, 12:58 pm

      I think we bought it from Sur la Table — it’s Kuhm Rikon and was really cheap!

  • Jan July 5, 2015, 7:48 pm

    How can I make it just a tad sweeter?

    • Joanne August 10, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Hi Jan, you could add a little more cranberry juice. Adding a little honey or agave nectar works, too.

    • Janice December 10, 2015, 7:58 pm

      You and add a little Grand Marnier to make sweeter.

  • Denise March 25, 2015, 8:56 pm

    Very nice! Really enjoyed and it was pretty. 🙂

    • Joanne March 26, 2015, 8:15 am

      Thank you Denise!

  • judy mck January 29, 2015, 2:49 pm

    Do you use cranberry juice cocktail or pure cranberry juice? I have cranberry juice concentrate in my supply. I’m thinking I should go to the store….

    • Joanne February 3, 2015, 1:40 pm

      We use cranberry juice cocktail (often Ocean Spray) — the pure cranberry juice options are too tart.

  • Samantha January 9, 2015, 12:44 am

    Sorry but this is a failure as a cosmo recipe. Too much vodka to triple sec and not enough cranberry juice. 0 stars

    • Joanne March 5, 2015, 10:19 am

      Hi Samantha, Sorry you didn’t like our vodka to cranberry ratio. We like our cosmos less sweet. Thanks for commenting.

    • Tony Falcone July 22, 2016, 8:37 pm

      Samantha, sorry your Cosmo didn’t adhere to your standards. I would recommend altering the recipe to your liking. Do yourself the favor of adding Cointreu to your mix. That would most certainly sweeten the drink. Or you could simply add a tablespoon of sugar or even honey to sweeten it.

  • Darlene December 24, 2014, 1:12 pm

    How far in advance can I make these?

    • Joanne March 5, 2015, 10:29 am

      Pretty far in advance. The only thing that may change over time is the fresh taste of the lime.

  • Mary November 16, 2014, 10:40 am

    Do you know of good canapé to serve with!?

  • Sandy September 6, 2014, 5:34 pm

    I experimented a bit with the recipe which was fun since it meant mixing another cocktail. Anyways, I would recommend reducing the lime part just a bit, use cranberry pomegranate juice and then for a bit of drama take a large slice of orange peel and squeeze it into the glass while you have a flame underneath the orange. Try it and see the sparks fly…

  • Jamie August 13, 2014, 8:01 pm

    I have to make Cosmo drink in a 2.15 gallon dispenser.. I have no idea how much vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice to use. Can you help me??

    • Joanne August 14, 2014, 12:46 pm

      Hi Jamie, There are 32 cups in 2 gallons. In the recipe we give a recipe for a bulk batch of 4 servings. We think if you multiplied that by 18 (so 72 single servings), you should make enough to fill most of the dispenser.

  • Ciel July 6, 2014, 6:31 pm

    Forgot the important part. I had some frozen blueberries and the second one I mulled them into the shaker. Very very good, including the original recipe

  • Eugène FRANK MD June 15, 2014, 6:16 pm

    Dear Adam and Joanne,

    Thank you ;-)/)…by nature I am a wine drinker, c’est la vie…while I add Calvados, Bas-Armangnac and Champagne to the list, I adore a Cosmo, (Read: Russian Tea Room). I have collected various recipes over the years and adjusted the ratios to suit my taste: you mixture, the extra lime juice, and the shave-peel-over-glass technique, is the closet to earning an AC (Appellation Controlée)…I add two Maraschino cherries for that bird of sweetness during!!

    C’est extra…


    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 12:20 pm

      Nice! We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe 🙂

    • Ciel July 6, 2014, 6:29 pm

      I would call that a french Manhattan Cosmo.
      Je suis de franc et Jaime les mienne chose

  • Kellie May 28, 2014, 9:12 pm

    Yummy! I just made this tonight and it’s perfect!

  • Mandy May 21, 2014, 9:22 am

    What kind of cranberry juice do you recommend? There is 100% juice with no sugar added and then there is the oceanspray cran juice with all kinds of stuff added? Does it matter?

    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 2:09 pm

      We usually use the juice blends — like Ocean Spray. You can use whatever you like. Just keep in mind that when using the 100% juice without sugar, you may find you need to sweeten up the drink a touch with simple syrup.

  • Joe Kack March 25, 2014, 5:29 pm

    I really like the taste, but am unable to get that brilliant red color. What kind of Cranberry Juice are you using? The ginger Cosmopolitan is also very good.

    • Joanne April 3, 2014, 11:15 am

      We usually just use Ocean Spray or similar.

  • Lori March 16, 2014, 1:45 am

    One of my favorite restaurants makes a variation they call the Pink Flamingo, which uses raspberry vodka. Very good.

    • Joanne March 16, 2014, 11:09 am

      That would be delicious! On our list to try soon 😉

  • alf February 22, 2014, 5:14 pm

    Great recipe, you can be a bit off, and everyone will still think it is great. Be careful with the vodka.

  • dug February 21, 2014, 11:57 pm

    tooo goood! Every third should be replaced with a glass of water or you will be stripping through the quad with everyone!

  • Erica February 8, 2014, 10:08 am

    Oops I posted my comment about your pancakes in the wrong spot.
    Actually, your recipe for Cosmos is the exact recipe I use. We like ours ice cold so we shake it with crushed ice. Best summer drink!

  • Erica February 8, 2014, 10:05 am

    Made your pancakes today. Best ever ! Will never buy a box mix again. Thanks.

  • Josh January 27, 2014, 11:19 am

    I made a variation of this drink that I call a Dirty Cosmo.

    2 parts vodka ( I like to use Bacardi white rum instead )
    1 part cranberry juice
    1 part triple sec
    1 part chambord
    1/4 fresh lime juice
    And an Orange twist

    My family loved it at Christmas.

    • Joanne January 30, 2014, 12:39 pm

      Sounds delicious!

  • QueenB January 21, 2014, 8:13 pm

    It turns out pink, not red? Still tasted good!

  • Rebecca December 13, 2013, 9:35 pm

    I did make it and it was a great balance of ingredients. One problem…the recipe was so tasty, I had one too many!! Oh yeah, I used Absolute Citron…really yummy!!!!

    • Joanne December 16, 2013, 12:40 pm

      Haha, we see how that could happen 😉

    • betty wilson April 27, 2014, 11:26 am

      Will it make u tipsy a little or a lot

  • Mary December 4, 2013, 10:53 am

    I made these last night and they were terrific: flavorful, not to sweet, and not too hash. The orange rind is an important touch, and not just for looks – it really added to the flavor. I couldn’t make a fancy twist, but just peeling off a piece with a regular peeler did the trick. (I made the pitcher recipe but needed it to cool quickly, so stirred in ice and then poured it out, capturing the ice with the pitcher lid – very easy.) Thanks for the recipe!

  • cullenco December 2, 2013, 2:58 pm

    call me blond but what is triple sec?

    • Joanne December 3, 2013, 12:27 pm

      Triple Sec is an orange flavored liqueur. You can find it sold in most liquor stores.

  • sue November 23, 2013, 7:37 pm

    sounds really tastey!!!!!! cant wait to try it!

  • Anditover November 3, 2013, 1:51 pm

    A good Variation is to use Lemon Vodka for extra Zest, and on the subject of zest, take a generous slice of Orange peel, and with the outer skin facing down, squeeze the edges between your fingers so as to make the skin curve concave, this will spray a mist of essential oil from the pores of the skin onto the surface of your cocktail, the aroma will prickle your nose as you take your 1st sip.

    • Joanne November 3, 2013, 3:37 pm

      Sounds great. Thanks for the tips.

  • leigh February 15, 2013, 9:07 am

    There is nothing better than a well crafted cosmo. Maybe I’m the minority but I am so disappointed when I see an orange instead of a lime and it’s not listed on the menu description. I love the tartness of the limes and allergic to oranges. Not perfect when you have to send it back to avoid an allergic reaction.

  • Vespa Woolf December 30, 2012, 6:29 am

    I like the fresh lime juice tip, and the technique of adding orange peel over the drink. Now I’m thirsty for Cosmopolitans. They are a happy drink!


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