The Odeon, New York City, 1988

Vodka has become a monster, and this drink is responsible.

Toby Cecchini, bartender at The Odeon, took an existing recipe that had been bouncing around (a Kamikaze with cranberry) and did it properly by focusing on balance. The irony is, nearly no one makes a Cosmopolitan according to this original recipe anymore – they’ll add way too much sweetness, skip the fresh lime juice, and overload it with cranberry. This drink (along with the Lemon Drop) begat the unfortunate ’90s trend of Appletini, Chocotini, Whatevertini – which, in turn, begat the current shame of whipped cream vodka, Froot Loops vodka, PB&J vodka, and God knows what’s coming next. Now: there is a legitimate, historical tradition of infusing vodka with all kinds of natural things: fruit, herbs, roots, spices – but what comes out of a chemical laboratory and sells by the truckload these days is a scourge upon the land, to put it bluntly.

The shame of vodka drinks is this: vodka is ephemeral and delicate. Its micro-subtle aromas and flavors can get lost when chilled and mixed in a drink (probably why it’s preferred by those who don’t like the taste of alcohol). If by chance you’ve never tried a good vodka (like Absolut, Tito’s, or Karlsson’s Gold) neat, straight out of the bottle, at room temperature – I encourage you to do so. You may be surprised at the character of what the US government mandates must be “odorless, colorless, and tasteless.”

Having said all that, odds are you’ll be called on someday to make a Cosmopolitan for a guest. So if you must, why not do it well?


Hardware: Shaker, Jigger
Ice: Ice cubes
Glassware: Cocktail glass
Spirits: Vodka (recommended: Absolut Citron)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Triple sec (recommended: Cointreau)
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Lime juice, Cranberry juice, Lemon twist


Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer at least ten minutes.

In a shaker about a third-full with ice cubes, add:
2 oz vodka
1 oz lime juice
1 oz triple sec
1/4 oz cranberry juice 

Shake well to blend and chill, then strain into the chilled glass. Pinch a lemon twist over the drink to express oils onto its surface, then rub the twist around the glass rim to coat. Garnish with the twist laid across the surface of the drink.