Cosmopolitan Variations

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Variations shown include: Classic cranberry, guava, and black cherry. This post is dedicated to my niece, Clare, who just turned 21. Don’t drink and drive! 🙂

“Daddy needs a cocktail!” By the time the weekend rolls around, Cosmopolitan, anyone?!

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The origin of the Cosmopolitan cocktail is debatable. Whether it was first created in the mid-1980’s at the Strand in Miami, or the Odeon in New York, all I know is that this citrusy, vodka-cranberry cocktail is delicious and refreshing! And, it is endlessly customizable to your preferences and seasonal ingredients.

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ice, ice, baby!

Three things are important to adhere to when making a Cosmo (or a variation) 1) Keep ingredient proportions intact; 2) Use only 100% juice or juice blends (no sweeteners allowed!); and 3) use only freshly squeezed citrus juice, not bottled. High quality ingredients make for a high-quality drink and experience.

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There are lots of Cosmo recipes online. The ingredient proportions listed in the recipe, below, are what I have used and have preferred for years. Adjust as you like once you’ve tried it.


Did you enjoy reading or making the recipe from this post? If so, please give it a “like” or a comment. It would be nice to know you are out there and that my posts connect with you.

Cosmopolitan Variations

  • Servings: 2 cocktails, scales easily
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


 Traditional Cranberry Cosmopolitan

  • 2 ounces vodka or citrus flavored vodka (preferred)
  • 1/2 ounce pure cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce triple sec or other orange flavored liquor
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Crushed ice for shaking

Other Juice Variations

The biggest difference here is to use 1 full ounce of 100% juice or juice mix, instead of the 1/2 ounce of 100% cranberry juice. (100% cranberry juice is extremely tart and only needs 1/2 an ounce)

  • 2 ounces vodka or citrus flavored vodka (preferred)
  • 1 ounce pure juice or juice blend (cranberry/pomegranate or just pomegranate; cranberry/blueberry or just blueberry; cranberry/cherry or just cherry; pear, passion fruit, guava and mango are also good. Really, just about any 100% pure fruit juice or juice mix. Do not use a juice “cocktail that is sweetened with corn syrup or other sweeteners. Use only 100% juice or juice mixes for the best results)
  • 1 ounce triple sec or other flavored liquor
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (lemon juice goes better than lime with some fruits, but it depends on your preference. Try making each version and see which you like better)
  • Citrus wedge for garnish
  • Crushed ice for shaking

Other Fun Add-ins:

  • Add a few fresh torn leaves or sprigs of herbs to the shaker (basil, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, work well); strain out before serving
  • Add whole spices and let steep in the vodka for an hour before mixing and shaking (1 or 2 Star anise; a few 1/2 inch chunks of ginger root; 5-7 cloves, a few pieces of cinnamon stick; 5-7 all spice; or even 5-7 black peppercorns work well); strain before serving


  1. If planning ahead, chill the vodka and juice
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice (crushed is preferable if you have it)
  3. Pour vodka, juice and triple sec into the shaker
  4. Juice the lime or lemon and measure per recipe. Pour citrus juice into shaker
  5. If using, place herbs or spices into shaker
  6. Shake like mad for at least 30 seconds. If your liquids were not previous chilled, shake for a full minute (use a towel on your shaker to keep your hands from freezing)
  7. Strain and pour into a martini glass (or any glass, really. No one’s judging you)
  8. Garnish with citrus wedge (optional)

Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

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