Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Jigger of Gordon's Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
2 dash Cointreau (1/2 oz Cointreau)
Juice of 1 Lemon (1 oz Lemon Juice)
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup (1 tsp homemade)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last night, it was time for drinking Cosmopolitans! No, not the Cosmos of Sex in the City, but the putative precursor of that recipe found in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars 1903-1933. This recipe published in 1934 was listed in the Gin Daisy category which veered from the standard Daisy by adding Cointreau. I describe it as the putative original since the (re)creator of the drink 50 years later in the mid-1980's claimed it as her original recipe designed to push the then newly released Absolut Citron product at her bar. Her description of it was "merely a kamikaze with Absolut Citron and a splash of cranberry juice." The parallels, besides the name, are a clear grain neutral spirit (gin instead of citron vodka), citrus (lemon instead of lime), a reddish fruit product to donate a pink color (raspberry syrup instead of cranberry juice), and an orange liqueur (Cointreau instead of triple sec although many recipes specify Cointreau). For a good side-by-side comparison of the modern Cosmopolitan recipes, Scomorokh from the Science of Drink blog has a good entry he did for this month's Mixology Monday.
To interpret the old recipe, I figured that lemons back then were smaller and about the size of today's limes, and I converted this to one ounce of juice. Given how much tartness this would generate, I liberally interpreted the 2 dashes of Cointreau as a half an ounce which would assist the raspberry syrup in partially balancing the citrus. Perhaps decreasing the lemon down to 3/4 oz would help balance the drink as well. The drink as mixed was pleasantly tart from the lemon with extra fruit notes added from the orange liqueur and raspberry syrup. Some gin notes were detectable and they followed the lemon crispness on the swallow. This Cosmo was more intensely flavored than a modern one as it has a greater amount of citrus not to mention the extra flavors in the gin's botanicals. The 1934 recipe reminded me more of a White Lady with some raspberry syrup added to the mix than the modern Cosmopolitan. While the raspberry and cranberry in each Cosmo recipe play a similar role in shaping the drink's color, the raspberry plays a bigger role in the flavor than I remember the splash of cranberry does. Then again, it has been about several years since we last had a modern vodka Cosmopolitan which, according to my drink log notes, was the first drink we mixed at home given our scant bar at the time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This old Cosmopolitan recipe is so interesting thing. I wrote about this recipe in russian text but no english. Actually it is so close to Pink Lady with raspberry syrup instead grenadine.

Probably this recipe is base for modern Cosmo. Both cocktails has similar composition = main alcohol + cointreau + citrus juice + colorant (and sweetener) (however it is classic composition of many classic cocktails ;) )... Anyway this cocktail is worth to try.