Saturday, May 24

The Cosmopolitan, Sex and the City

My wife is driving me nuts with Sex and the City. She has been watching her DVD collection incessantly since she learned of the upcoming movie. She has the desktop background of Carrie emblazoned on her computer. She is shopping for clothes and shoes worn by the cast (which are not cheap mind you). And yes, she is of course drinking the drink that was made ever so popular by the show... the Cosmopolitan.

Back in 1996 this pop culture phenomenon hit the scene on HBO and hooked millions of women. In our household it was a weekly Sunday night ritual for six seasons. Her girlfriends would come over and join us for dinner, drinks, and Sex and the City. I now have to make a confession as well... I do like the eye candy.

So, with the buzz of the new movie coming out on May 30, 2008 and my wife's obsession I felt compelled to write the obligatory Cosmopolitan post.

Thanks again to Gary Regan and his cocktail archaeology we today know who had a part to play in the invention of this modern classic cocktail. As with most cocktails the Cosmo went through a couple of phases to get to what we now consider a Cosmopolitan cocktail. The original however is credited to Cheryl Cook who bartended on South Beach, Miami for 15 years. (25)

As the story goes, while bartending in 1985 Cheryl notice a big resurgence of the Martini but more specifically the coolness of holding a cocktail glass. Her keen observation lead her to notice that people would order a Martini or a Vodka Martini but did not necessarily like it all that well, but rather they did it too be chic. So when Cheryl received a brand new product from her Absolut rep called Absolut Citron she took on the challenge to create a new "pretty" drink that could be served in a cocktail glass. (25)

Cheryl went to work and whipped up a mixture of "Absolut Citron, a splash of triple sec, a drop of roses lime juice and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink." She then served it up to her first guest Christina Solopuerto and within 45 minutes the entire restaurant had a Cosmopolitan in front of them. (25)

This formula in Cheryl's mind was simply a Kamikaze using Absolut Citron and adding a splash of cranberry juice. The cocktail was named after the magazine Cosmopolitan which has the styles and design she was trying to project with her new drink... and Voila! a new cocktail is born. (25)

This drink was wildly popular in Miami for the rest of Cheryl's crazy 15 year tenure in South Beach. Somehow the drink made its way in this form to both San Fransisco and New York City, at which point our second player in this tale comes about and his name is Toby Cecchini. (25)

By the time Toby was introduced to the drink in 1987 it was bastardized to the point of using plain vodka, Roses lime juice and grenadine, pink yes but not too close to Cheryl's version. So Toby put on his mixology hat and re-invented the drink using Absolut Citron, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and cranberry juice. This is now the Cosmopolitan ingredients used today. (25)

A few years later Dale DeGroff also experienced a variation of Cheryl's Cosmo formula that called for Citron, Roses, and cranberry juice. He too used his experience behind the stick to improve the drink. He uses fresh juices, added Cointreau and used his proven sweet to sour formula to come up with the now standard recipe for the Cosmo. In 1996 Dale brought the drink to the Rainbow Room in New York City and shortly there after stars such as Madonna were spotted with the drink to kick off the modern Cosmo craze. (23)

So how did the Cosmopolitan jump onto the screen in the HBO series Sex and the City? Was it because the New York moguls experienced Dale's fabulous version at the Rainbow Room? Or was it the fact that the Sex and the City costume designers Patricia and Rebecca Fields were faithful customers of Cheryl Cook's down on South Beach several years before? Whatever the case it did happen and the inclusion of the pretty in pink cocktail catapulted a modern classic cocktail into every bar in America.

With the new movie just around the corner you can be sure to see many women in bars holding their designer bag, wearing their designer dresses and shoes, while sipping on a designer Cosmopolitan (at least I know my wife will).

1.5 oz Absolut Citron
0.5 oz Cointreau
0.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish. I've seen the garnish for the Cosmo to be: a lemon twist, flamed orange peel, or lime wedge.


Sex and the City Image courtesy of HBO file photo