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

Perfect Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

Making a Cosmopolitan Cocktail

While there are many variations, ours comes from what we (and most of our friends) keep stocked in our pantry. Good vodka, triple sec (we like to use Cointreau) and fresh lime. A twist of sweet fragrant orange peel and you’re set.

How to Make the Best 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.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How to make one of our favorite cocktails — The Old Fashioned. See our recipe and tips for making the best Old Fashioned at home.

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 Cocktail Recipe

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

TAKE A LOOK: You may also like these cocktails Ginger Cosmopolitan Cocktail or this Champagne Cosmopolitan Recipe

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

Perfect Cosmopolitan Cocktail

  • PREP

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.

Makes 1 drink

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka

1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) triple sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau

3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons) cranberry juice cocktail, see notes

1/4 to 1/2 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons) fresh lime juice

One 2-inch orange peel/twist



    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). Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a martini glass.

    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.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Cranberry juice: You can use sweetened cranberry juice (often called “cranberry juice cocktail”) or unsweetened plain cranberry juice. If you use unsweetened, you will likely find that you need to add a small splash of simple syrup or agave since it can be quite tart.
  • To make 4 drinks at one time, add 1 cup vodka, 1/4 cup triple sec, 1/3 cup cranberry juice, and 2 to 4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice to a pitcher. Stir and adjust to taste. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour into four martini glasses and garnish with orange peel/twist.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 205 / Protein 0 g / Carbohydrate 13 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 9 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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79 comments… Leave a Comment
  • 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.

    • JDM March 12, 2017, 4:24 pm

      In line with Janice, Sub Grand Marnier or another Orange Curacao for the Triple Sec. You’ll be adding a little hinter of vanilla aswell from the Cognac base of Grand Marnier.

  • 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.


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