Madonna / EDB Image Archive/AlamyStock - yes, I paid a lot of money for this photo.

I bought it because four people associated with the Cosmo served her a Cosmo.

The Cosmopolitan Cocktail

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Photos by Cheryl Charming

Gary Regan once said, “The Cosmopolitan is the last true classic cocktail to be born in the twentieth century, and this is true —but—the Cosmopolitan would never have reached national or international fame and prevailed mainstream as long as it has if it had not been for the HBO show Sex and the City , which aired between 1998 and 2004. This time in history coincided with the height of the “flavored Martini craze,” so its impact was immense. But how did the Cosmopolitan make its journey to the TV show? Well, as you probably guessed, there are a few stories around its creation. 

 

I have been researching the Cosmopolitan since 2006 when I first surfed the Internet to learn when this cocktail was first seen and mentioned in the HBO show Sex and the City. When I discovered that no one knew the answer, I walked to the Orlando Downtown Library and checked out all the show's VHS tapes. Over the years I kept a Cosmopolitan file, but then aggressively researched the origin of the cocktail in 2015 for my 16th book The Cocktail Companion. 

 

Please understand that my Cosmopolitan research is

just that—research. You need to realize that none of the bartenders connected to the Cosmopolitan would have ever guessed in a million years that one day this cocktail would become world famous. Try to imagine if someone contacted you with questions from 30-40 years ago. It took most people a moment to remember back that far, which required many emails, texts, and phone calls to gather the information.

 

At times, I do give my unbiased opinion, but for the most part, I share what I recorded. I also shared what I wrote with most everyone to check for mistakes because it's important for me to be as accurate as possible. You, the reader will need to connect your dots. Respectfully, I do not share personal information about them or others, their celebrity stories, what I was asked not to share, or anything that felt to me to be “off the record” conversations. Also, I have not included those who asked me not to include them in my research for various reasons. In conclusion, I feel very fortunate to locate as many people as I did before it was too late to record their stories.

 

The nutshell version of my research is that two bartenders, at two different times (fourteen years apart), in two different cities (1800 miles apart) created a cocktail with almost identical ingredients and named it the same name—Cosmopolitan. These bartenders are Neal Murray and Cheryl Cook . Two New York City bartenders claim to be the first to have upgraded the Cosmopolitan recipe by using quality ingredients, however, only one of them has been credited. Their names are Melissa Huffsmith and Toby Cecchini. And then there is Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff who independently retooled/upgraded the Cosmopolitan without the knowledge of others who had already. 

            Author Candace Bushnell wrote a column for The New York Observer called Sex and The City between 1994-1996, and the column led to a hit HBO show by creator Darren Star (1998-2004). The rest is history—as well as herstory.

        I believe the Cosmopolitan derived from the Kamikaze shooter, the Kamikaze from the Vodka Gimlet, and the Vodka Gimlet from the Gimlet (made with gin). The modern classic Cosmopolitan is made with citrus vodka, orange liqueur (Cointreau/triple sec), lime and cranberry juices with a citrus garnish. Before I share my research, there are a couple of cocktails the cocktail community would probably like me to

share—The 1933 Cosmopolitan Daisy and Ocean Spray’s 1968 Harpoon. In the 1933 book Pioneers of Mixing Drinks at Elite Bars published by the American Travelling Mixologists, there is a cocktail named Cosmopolitan Daisy that some believe to be an early version of the Cosmopolitan. I don’t agree.

The Cosmopolitan Daisy is made with gin, Cointreau (high-end triple sec/orange liqueur), lemon juice, and raspberry syrup with a raspberry

garnish—making the only common ingredient the orange liqueur. Plus, it should be called "Cosmopolitan Daisy." For example, would you drop the cocktail category name of a Tom Collins or John Collins to Tom or John?  Yes, it is served straight up in a cocktail glass and also pink in color, but four other ingredients do not match up; gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and raspberry garnish.

           In 1968, Ocean Spray cranberry juice promoted the “Harpoon” in a 25-cent recipe booklet titled Mix Around with Cranberry Juice. I was fortunate enough to locate one. You can read the ingredients in the photo to the right.  I find it amusing that they describe 1 ounce of spirit and 1 ounce of juice as “A whale of a drink.” This recipe is pretty wide open giving you the option of making up to 20+ cocktails depending on what you want. However, the orange liqueur is missing and it's served over ice. I know they placed the two red cocktail glasses graphic next to the recipe, but the graphic seems to match the Mexicali Rose recipe.

While I applaud the research in finding these two cocktails in history, however, I have to use a term from their timeClose, but no cigar.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, Season 5, 2002. HBO / Photofest

Photo of Candace Bushnell by akalifepr [CC BY-SA 3.0]  GFDL gnu.org/Wikimedia Commons

Neal Murray

Golden Valley, Minnesota and San Francisco, California 

Golden Valley to San Francisco

I first tried to contact Neal Murray in December 2016 and heard back from him on April 15, 2017. Here is the story he has shared with me. Murray was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 15, 1951 to politically influential parents of European, Native American, and African descent. When he was ten-years-old, his family moved to Roseville, Minnesota. His parents had a white woman/friend buy their land in Roseville because at the time people of color were not allowed to purchase and build homes in this area.

 

As a young boy, he had been in the room with many political figures including President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Evert Dirksen to name a few. He got to meet Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Vice President Walter Mondale, and a couple of Minnesota governors all before he was in high school. Murray was a high achiever and grew up being the “only black kid in school” from 5th grade to 12th grade. Out of 1200 students in junior high, he was the president of the student council. At Alexander Ramsey High School, Murray was the vice president of the junior class, student council, and the canteen council that planned the dances. As a senior, he was to become student council president but he told the school principal he would like to see the first woman in the history of the school become student council president. Murray then convinced the principal to let him create a new conference-wide student council. After meeting with all thirteen principals, he founded and became president of a Suburban Conference Student Council representing 22,000 students in thirteen high schools.

 

In the second semester of 1975, while studying political science at the University of Minnesota, Murray applied for a bartender position—without experience—at the Cork ’n Cleaver Steakhouse in Golden Valley located at 905 Hampshire Avenue South (it’s a Volvo car dealership today). Murray applied for the position with the encouragement from two college friends who worked at the Cork ‘n Cleaver, Michael Hannah and John Peterson. Murray made it through the interview and hiring process quickly but learned from Hannah and Peterson that he would not be getting the job because he was black. The restaurant accountant called Murray a week later to tell him that the managers would be out of town and if he could learn to be a bartender in four days, then she would hire him. As any good college student would, Murray bought Mr. Boston’s Bartender Guide and crammed for three days.

 

By the fall, he was still employed and noticed changes in cocktail trends. Murray watched the Gimlet (gin and Rose’s lime juice) change into a Vodka Gimlet and then into the shooter Kamikaze (Vodka Gimlet with triple sec) One cold autumn night Murray was experimenting with cocktails and made a connection between a Cape Cod (vodka and cranberry with a lime garnish) and the Kamikaze. He poured a little cranberry juice in the Kamikaze then shook and strained it into a stemmed cocktail glass (Murray made it with Gordon’s vodka, Leroux triple sec, Rose’s Lime Juice, and Ocean Spray cranberry juice with a lime wedge garnish). A regular sitting at the bar asked Murray about the pink drink. At first, Murray didn’t have an answer, but then smiled and said, “I just thought it needed a little color,” making a joke about how he was hired. The regular said, “How cosmopolitan!” and the Cosmopolitan was born. 

 

I have not been able to locate college classmates and co-workers Michael Hannah or John Peterson yet, but in 2017 I was able to speak with other friends, Greg Harris and Steve Knapp, who had visited Murray at the Cork ‘n Cleaver.

Fun fact: Murray, Harris, and Knapp were Alexander Ramsey High School classmates with Richard Dean Anderson, better known as MacGyver. I talked to Harris (born in 1950), and he confirmed that he and his wife Patty did indeed visit Murray at the Cork ‘n Cleaver, but admitted he’s never been a “mixed drink person” and does not remember the Cosmopolitan. He said he would ask his wife if she remembers and get back with me. I never heard back. It took some time to connect with Steve Knapp (born in 1950) as he lives in an off-grid cabin without a car, phone, or Internet six-months out of the year. Murray told me that when Knapp was in high school, he rode his bicycle from St. Paul to Vancouver, British Columbia and that he still rides hundreds of miles every year. Anyway, I finally was able to speak with Knapp over the phone, and he was full of energy. He remembered Murray’s Cosmopolitan, remembers visiting Cork ‘n Cleaver with Harris, told me about a farewell John Denver concert he worked before Denver moved to Colorado, and some other bars he tended bar at Butler Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Knapp even suggested that I contact bar schools to see what year the Cosmopolitan first entered into their curriculum. I contacted Ricky Richard, the owner of Crescent Bartending School founded in 1983, and he researched for me. He discovered that the Cosmopolitan recipe was in his curriculum around 1990.

 

In 1977, Murray moved to Washington, DC, to take a position as a congressional intern. While traveling to visit friends, Murray always ordered a Cosmopolitan explaining to each bartender that it was a Kamikaze with cranberry juice served up in a cocktail glass. He ordered the cocktail everywhere he traveled including Boston, Manhattan, Atlanta, Miami, airport bars, and every bar he visited up and down the East Coast.

 

In 1979, Murray gave up politics and moved to San Francisco to study psychology at San Francisco State University. While in school he worked as a waiter at Enzo’s restaurant in the Embarcadero Center then at Kimball’s—not once pushing the Cosmopolitan. But all that changed in 1981 when he handed his 30th resume of the day to co-owner, Tom Clendening, at a New Orleans cuisine restaurant called the Elite Café (2049 Fillmore Street). Murray accepted a waiter position because even in this day and time you still did not see black bartenders. I finally made contact with Clendening in July of 2019 and he confirmed that the Cosmopolitan was indeed invented by one of his employees.  Murray recommended the Cosmopolitan cocktail to his customers; making the Elite Cafe (est. 1932) the first place the Cosmo was served in San Francisco. The first bartender Murray taught to make the Cosmo was Michael Brennan. (Brennan must have forgotten to renew his domain in June 2019 and it appears that an Asian company bought it. Just Google his name and city and you should find articles on him. If you would like his phone number that he advertised on his website then contact me.) I spoke with Brennan (born in 1952) over the phone in 2017. He bartended in San Francisco for 15 years and remembered Murray, other co-workers, and of course making many Cosmopolitans. He did not know that he was the first in San Francisco to make one though. Brennan's passion has always been art. He started painting in the third grade. Today he is a famous San Francisco artist and has designed many spaces, restaurants, and bars in San Francisco. You can check out his latest unconventional design work at the Curio Bar that opened June of 2018 (775 Valencia Street). As for the Elite Cafe, it went through four owners and closed in April of 2019.

 

I also spoke with co-worker and waiter Hugh Tennent. During my research on Tennent, I found a small September 10, 1982 article in The Honolulu Advisor Hawaii newspaper that read “Honolulu adwoman Lynn Cook was dining at the Elite Café in San Francisco, and her waiter was Hugh Tennant, [sic] grandson of artist Madge Tennant [sic]”. Hugh’s grandmother Madeline “Madge” Grace Cook Tennent (1889–1972) was considered the most important individual contributor to Hawaiian art in the 20th century. I found Tennent via his sister, Madge Walls, who is a writer and lives in Oregon. It took quite a while to connect with Tennent because he does not have an email address, doesn’t text, and rarely answers his cell phone. I left several messages then finally one December day in 2017 he answered. Tennent (born in 1947) lives in Hilo, Hawaii. For fun, he drives a tour van, but his passions are golf and cars. Tennent was very outgoing and remembered Murray, Brennan, and Cosmopolitans at the Elite Café. He also recalled another bartender named

Willie Karnofsky and talked about him for quite some time about how back in the day he was a model and golfer. In 2018, I called Karnofsky (born in 1956) via the phone number on his website. He remembered the Elite Café days, Murray, Brennan, and Tennent, but sadly did not remember serving the Cosmopolitan. But he said he his focus at the time was golf.

 

In 1984, Murray often visited Union Street bars and always ordered the Cosmopolitan. Singer Boz Scaggs owned one bar he often visited called Blue Light Cafe . Also in 1984, he left the Elite Café to be part of the opening crew at the Café Royale (2050 Van Ness). But in 1985, Fog City Diner General Manager, Douglas “BIX” Biederbeck hired Murray as a bartender to help serve a celebrity clientele. Bill Higgins, Bill Upson, and Cindy Pawlcyn owned The Fog City Diner. Within five years it became a national hot spot much due to VISA featuring it in a commercial. While at Fog City Diner, Murray created his first Cosmo spin-off by switching out the vodka for Mt. Gay Barbados Rum and called it a Barbados Cosmopolitan. It became an instant hit in the gay community.

 

Biederbeck became part of the Real Restaurant Group and opened many more San Francisco restaurants. In 2008, he released a book called Bixology . On page 11, he writes, “We were the first West Coast restaurant to respark the current Martini boom. It’s a little hard to imagine that, only twenty years ago, the white-wine spritzer, gin and tonic, and occasional sweet drink were the calls of choice. The Cosmopolitan had only recently been invented, and there were about six vodkas known to man.”  

 

By 1988 Douglas “BIX” Biederbeck went on to be a true San Francisco restaurateur. He opened his first restaurant, BIX (56 Gold Street), which is a swanky jazz bar and still employees two original white-jacketed barmen, Bradley Avey and Bruce Minkiewicz.  I contacted Biederbeck via bixrestaurant.com, and to my great surprise, he called me at 5 PM central time on November 22, 2017. He remembered hiring Murray at Fog City Diner and even put his Barbados Cosmopolitan on his BIX menu. He said, “It was a good drink.” We chit chatted about how I lived in New Orleans and how BIX was a jazz bar. He ended our conversation by suggesting that I contact the Fog City Diner owner and chef at the time, Cindy Pawlcyn—a pioneer in the development of wine country cuisine.

I was able to contact Pawlcyn via her website. Her email said, "Of course, I remember the Cosmopolitan at Fog City Diner. It was one of my favorite cocktails, and it was very popular amongst [sic] the customers." Like Murray, she grew up in the Minneapolis area and made her way to San Francisco in 1979. She said that the waiters referred to it as a “girl drink.”  At Fog City Diner, Pawlcyn was pairing cheeseburgers with Champagne. Today she has four cookbooks and is a James Beard Award winner. She has also been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in California

 

In 1986, Murray was given a VIP card by a Fog City Diner customer to the famous Limelight nightclub in New York City (20th Street and Sixth Avenue). So, he and friend Dana Williams flew to the Big Apple to use the card. Sure enough, the card got them to the front of the line, and they walked in immediately. And of course, Murray ordered a Cosmopolitan explaining to the bartender how to make it. Murray said he also visited Area (157 Hudson Street), and Milk Bar (2 Seventh Avenue South), each time ordering a Cosmopolitan. 

 

In 1989, Julie Ring from Julie’s Supper Club (1123 Folsom Street) hired Murray to become her head bartender and part owner of Miss Pearl’s Jam House (601 Eddy Street in the Phoenix Hotel). Murray said that Ring didn’t realize Murray had a large following around San Francisco with his Cosmopolitans. He introduced another new Cosmo twist called the Cactus Cosmo made with aloe vera juice and tequila.

 

In 2004, The Almanac published an article titled How Cosmopolitan! Marche's maitre d' lays claim to creating the Cosmopolitan cocktail . In 2010, CheersOnline released a story with the title "The True Original Cosmopolitan Cocktail Story".

 

Murray traveled a lot throughout his life, and he always ordered a Cosmopolitan at every bar he visited. He went on to work at many San Francisco restaurants as a consultant and general manager, and in 2016 he retired. Murray now enjoys traveling and writing about restaurants through his website. In April of 2018, he visited me at the Bourbon O Bar in New Orleans. His Cosmopolitan recipe is at the bottom of the page.

Photo by Neal Murray in the 1970s.

1981 photo of the Cork ’n Cleaver Steakhouse in Golden Valley,MN

slphistory.org/wayzatabuildingsnorth

Photo by mhcphotography.wordpress.com

1981 Elite Cafe owner, Tom Clendening. In July of 2019, he fondly remembered the two bartenders (Michael Brennan & Willie Karnosky) and two waiters (Neal Murray & Hugh Tennant) who I already spoke to then thanked me for the memories. 
I asked what glass he used and he said, “We served all of our “up” cocktails in a Libbey Martini glass (Libbey 8882 Retro Cocktail 4.5 oz).

1982 Elite Cafe menu. Neal Murray said the menu changed daily by hand.

Photo by michaelbrennanart.com. I believe Michael Brennan is the first San Francisco bartender to make the Cosmopolitan in 1981.

Madge Tennent lectures at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 1950. By HawaiiCalls [CC BY-SA 4.0] Wikimedia Commons

Douglas “BIX” Biederbeck from bixrestaurant.com

Photo of award-winning chef Cindy Pawcyn mustardsgrill.com

Neal Murray in 2017. Photo by Neal Murray.

John Caine

Provincetown, Massachusetts, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, and San Francisco, California

When you google the Cosmopolitan cocktail, the name John Caine always comes up in association with Provincetown, Ohio, and San Francisco. I was able to locate Caine in November of 2017 in San Francisco where he has lived with his wife since 1987. All of the Cosmopolitan related Internet articles I read on Caine gave me the impression that he was quite boisterous and energetic. So, his first email reply to me on November 27, 2017, did not surprise me when he said, “Hey Cheryl, Good to hear from you and yes I am still quite vain in this ego-based business of cocktail culture and love talking about myself...still!” His second email reply said “Let's be clear. I did not invent the Cosmo.”

 

Caine (born in 1959) first heard of the Cosmopolitan cocktail around 1984 when he worked at The Rusty Scupper in Cleveland, Ohio (corner of 14th and Euclid Streets). He said, “My gay co-workers went on pilgrimages to gay capitals such as P-town (Provincetown). I'd be working with them when each one recounted "magic nights" celebrating freedom of expression all along talking about this drink—The Cosmo.”

 

When The Rusty Scupper closed in 1984, Caine moved to Cincinnati, Ohio for his 8th year of undergraduate school. Caine was one of those people who loved college. He said it was easier than real life. Caine took a bartender job at The Diner (1203 Sycamore Street) and worked there for three years. It’s where he met his future wife, Sarah as well. Just the way he heard about the Cosmopolitan in Cleveland, so was true for Cincinnati.

 

In 1987, the couple decided to move to where restaurant service is more of a career—San Francisco. Caine worked a few places in the city, but then finally found himself working for Julie Ring at Julie’s Supper Club (1123 Folsom Street). Caine said Julie’s was a great supper club where Julie layered in Frank Sinatra and James Brown music.  Later into the night, Caine changed the music to hip cocktail lounge mixes. He said bar top dancing was the norm. Caine taught the staff how to make a Cosmopolitan and Julie would introduce Caine as the inventor of the cocktail. Caine did not tell me that he denied it, he just said, "I had to explain that I was merrily along for the ride with a good go-to cocktail. Julie’s sold a lot of Martinis, so it was a perfect environment for the Cosmopolitan." I believe there’s a connection here of how Anthony Dias Blue came to write the Cosmopolitan recipe from Julie’s Supper Club in the first known book to mention the Cosmopolitan in The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks in 1993. I show the book cover down below in Cosmopolitan Fun Facts.

 

Caine has opened many restaurants and bars in San Francisco and currently owns two: ATwater Tavern (295 Terry A Francois Blvd) and HIDive Restaurant (28 Pier).

Below is the Cosmopolitan that Caine lists on his Atwater Tavern menu. The last time I checked it was June 2019.

My thoughts:

1. I believe there is an ingredient missing because it reads as a Cape Codder.

2. I know this is being picky, but, yes, Caine says he moved from Cleveland to SF in 1987, but the Cosmo was already a thing in SF from 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for Provincetown , I have contacted fifteen people from the 1980s who lived and partied in P-town, and only four have returned my emails.

I started my search on this site and this site. All four contacts do not remember a cocktail called Cosmopolitan during that time. One lady, Pamela R. Genevrino , owned the Pied Piper bar (now called the Pied Bar). She said her trademarked Pied Piper Tea was the most popular drink in P-town. When I asked if she remembered the Cosmopolitan in the 1980s, she said, "Nope!" then suggested I contact someone named Jessie Muccie for more information. I'm still searching for Jessie.

My thoughts:

1. This leads me to believe that since the Cosmopolitan was first introduced to San Francisco in 1981 and not introduced to New York City or Miami yet, that Caine’s Ohio gay co-workers were visiting San Francisco and not Provincetown.

2. I have also tried to contact Julie Ring, but no such luck, yet. Facebook shows that she was camping with John Caine in June of 2019.

3. Sorry, no photos. I've asked several times, but none have been shared with me yet. Caine stopped replying to my emails.

 

Public posted photo of John Caine from John Caine's Facebook page 2015.

A 2009 menu of from "The Diner" courtesy of the Johnson & Wales University Library. Interesting that the Provincetown-Tini contains all the flavors of a Cosmo save the lime even though it says a twist on a Cape Cod, which should have lime.

From San Fransico to New York

Patrick “Paddy” Mitten​

San Francisco, California and New York, New York

I believe that Patrick “Paddy” Mitten is the bartender who brought the Cosmopolitan from San Francisco to New York City in October of 1987. Mitten was born in Coventry, England in 1965. He attended the Royal Ballet School in London then in 1985 went to work for the San Francisco Ballet for a year. When his Visa expired, Mitten took a bartender position that paid “under the table” at the Patio Café (531 Castro Street...now Hamberger Mary's). It was here that he first learned of the Cosmopolitan cocktail. Mitten distinctly remembers his manager, Alan Mary Kay, walking in one day saying, “I just tried a new cocktail, and it’s pink! It’s called a Cosmopolitan. It’s a Kamikaze with cranberry, but served as a Martini.” Mitten said that Kay was very colorful and loved the color pink, which is why he loved the Cosmo. Both Mitten and I have tried to locate Kay, but no such luck yet.

 

By 1987, all of Mitten’s friends including his partner had died of AIDS, so he made a fresh start and moved to New York City on the weekend of September 27 for the closing of the famous Paradise Garage nightclub (84 King Street). In October, he took a bartender position in the East Village at the Life Café (343 E 10th St B). I emailed the then owner Kathleen “Kathy” Life in November of 2017 to see if she remembered Mitten working for her in the late 1980s. She said, “Yes, I do remember him. He was charming. A very nice, pleasant young man and a very good employee.” 

 

By the way, the Life Café   became famous in 2005 when it was a film location for the famous restaurant scene in the musical drama film adapted from the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical, Rent.

 

I learned of Mitten through communicating with Melissa Huffsmith, a Life Café co-worker. Huffsmith is the girl whom Toby Cecchini wrote about in his book who first told him about a San Francisco cocktail called the Cosmopolitan, but more on that later. Mitten adored Huffsmith. He said she was intelligent, funny, and sexy. Mitten also told me of another co-worker named Peter Pavia. I emailed Kathy Life again and asked if she remembered Pavia, and she said, “Yes, I remember Pete very well. I can hear his distinct voice. He worked for me for quite a long time. He was smart, interesting, had a good sense of humor, a great employee, and confident behind the bar. I enjoyed his good nature when on duty. I believe he was a writer, when not tending bar.” 

 

So, Mitten taught Pavia, Huffsmith, and the entire staff how to make the San Francisco pink Martini called a Cosmopolitan. They sold them to customers in Martini glasses, but the staff drank them on the rocks in to go cups. Mitten said he served a Cosmo to Madonna when she was auditioning dancers for her hit "Vogue" and even served one to Sarah Jessica Parker when they were filming the pilot of Sex and the City.

 

Mitten is still tending bar today. He lives in the seaside town of Brighton, England and works at the historic Grand Hotel.

Patrick "Paddy" Mitten in the 1980s. Photo by Paddy Mitten.

Patrick "Paddy" Mitten and Peter Pavia in the late 1980s. Photo by Paddy Mitten.

Patrick "Paddy" Mitten 2016. Photo by Paddy Mitten.

Melissa Huffsmith-Roth

New York, New York

Finding Melissa was a vital piece of the New York City Cosmopolitan puzzle because she is the co-worker whom Toby Cecchini mentions in his 2003 book Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life who first told him about the San Francisco Cosmopolitan. I received a couple of friendly email replies from Huffsmith in November and December in 2017. I also emailed back in June of 2018 to verify a few dates. She began her Cosmopolitan story with “The real Cosmo story:” She said that she first learned of the Cosmopolitan from Life Café co-worker, Patrick “Paddy” Mitten. She said Mitten learned to make the Cosmopolitan in San Francisco and the recipe was a Kamikaze with a little cranberry juice. She said, “We used to make them in big milkshake to-go cups”. After speaking with two co-workers (Mitten and Pavia), I now know that she meant the “staff” drank Cosmos on the rocks in go cups.

 

 

Huffsmith left the Life Café to take a bartender position at The Odeon in April of 1989. She says that she remembers the exact month because she had a series of “April” jobs; she started The Odeon April of 1989, left The Odeon five years later in April 1994 for a bartender position at Lucky Strike (59 Grand Street), and then left Lucky Strike in April for another job.

 

 

When Huffsmith started working at The Odeon, her manager was Paul Bacsik. One night Bacsik was making her a shift drink, and Huffsmith requested a Cosmopolitan. Bacsik didn’t know what it was, so Huffsmith told him how to make it. She explained that it was vodka, triple sec, and Rose's lime with a splash of cranberry juice. When Bacsik asked her what kind of vodka to use she felt experimental (because at Life Café they did not have upgraded brands), so she decided to try Absolut Citron since it was new, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and cranberry juice. She said it was yummy. Huffsmith went on to say that the fresh lime juice gave the drink a beautiful, refreshing cloudy light pink lemonade look and all the bartenders started making them for the regulars. I asked Huffsmith if she remembers serving any celebrities and she said, “I served everyone. Literally everyone.” She particularly remembered designer Gordon Henderson being one of the biggest preachers of the word of the Cosmo because he loved the cocktail and made everybody he brought into The Odeon try one. She concluded with, “Pretty soon we started getting calls from other bars about the recipe. It became a thing. Other people have different recollections, but that’s the real story. Fun, right? Let me know if you have any more questions.” 

 

 

In the second email, I asked Huffsmith if she remembered working with a co-worker named Toby Cecchini and she said, “Yep! I know he wrote a book and claims ownership of the Cosmo recipe. I haven’t read the book, but if there is a Melissa in there, then it’s me”. She also mentioned in another email that Cecchini was a waiter when she started working at The Odeon in April of 1989. Huffsmith is who told me about Patrick “Paddy” Mitten who then told me about Peter Pavia.

 

 

Huffsmith is from Boxford, Massachusetts and currently lives in Astoria, New York. She is a New York City-based editor, photographer, and musician. You can view her website and InstagramHer Cosmopolitan recipe is at the bottom of the page. 

Melissa Huffsmith in the 1980s. Public photo from Huffsmith's Facebook page.

Melissa Huffsmith-Roth 2014. Public photo from Huffsmith's Instagram.

Melissa Huffsmith-Roth 2016. Public photo from Huffsmith's Instagram.

Peter Pavia​

New York, New York

Peter Pavia and Melissa Huffsmith started working at Life Café around the same time in January 1988—the same time that Patrick “Paddy” Mitten introduced them to the Cosmopolitan. One of his first sentences to me was, “Yes, Patrick “Paddy” Mitten was without a doubt the man who brought the Cosmopolitan to New York City.”

 

Pavia talked about how he drank a “raspy little concoction” called the Kamikaze in bars from 1975-1980, and the Cosmopolitan was essentially a pink Kamikaze with the only modification being a dash of cranberry juice. He said, “And Patrick showed me how to make it.”

I asked Pavia if he ever made them in go cups. Pavia said, “The bartenders at Life Café certainly made drinks to go in large paper cups, although this would be illegal in New York City. There were two categories of liquor licenses in the State of New York: on-premises and off-premises. You could not consume drinks at an off-premises establishment such as a liquor store and conversely, aren’t supposed to buy liquor to take out from a restaurant or bar.

 

As for Huffsmith, he said that Life Café was a hangout for East Village locals and when Huffsmith went to The Odeon she brought the drink much higher visibility because that bar attracted a much more urbane and moneyed international crowd and the surge in the drink’s popularity was exponential. Now of course, as bartenders will do, modifications were made, and the biggest shift was when the syrupy Rose’s lime with fresh lime juice, and as a nascent cocktail culture took hold, the ingredients were of a higher quality. He continues by saying, “It has been well said that success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan, and a number of players who were around at the time, claimed authorship of the Cosmopolitan.

 

After Life Café, from 1991-1992 Pavia worked as a fill-in bartender at a Soho bar called Kin Khao (171 Spring Street) that was managed by Toby Cecchini (Cecchini worked at The Odeon before that). I texted Cecchini, but he said he did not remember Pavia. Anyway, Pavia said the overwhelming number one popular drink at Kin Khao was the Cosmopolitan.

 

From 1994-1996, Pavia worked at another Soho bar called Match (160 Mercer Street) and was making many Cosmos with some of them quaffed by none other than Candace Bushnell herself. Bushnell is who wrote the Sex and the City column for the New York Observer between 1994-1996, which soon lead into the hit HBO show. Pavia’s last shift was at the Uptown Match at 29 East 65th Street. It was also the night he met his lovely wife.

 

Pavia is the author of Dutch Uncle, The Cuba Project, and co-author of The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry. His work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, New York Post, GQ, Detour, and Gear. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

Peter Pavia tending bar at Life Café sometime between 1988-1990. Public photo from Pavia's Facebook page.

Peter Pavia in 1999. Public photo from Pavia's Facebook page.

Peter Pavia in 2015. Public photo from Pavia's Facebook page.

​Paul Bacsik

New York, New York

I first learned of Paul Bacsik (born March 3, 1954) from Melissa Huffsmith. I emailed him on November 22, 2017, and heard back from him the same day, then we spoke over the phone after Thanksgiving. I loved listening to his stories. Bacsik was hired at The Odeon as a bartender in 1984 then in 1986, he was promoted to bar manager and wine director while also picking up three bartender night shifts a week. Bacsik worked for The Odeon for fourteen years until 1998. When Cecchini was a waiter, Bacsik asked permission to make him into a bartender. Ownership agreed and Cecchini was all for it. Bacsik asked me about Melissa, where she was and what was she doing then told me that she was his absolute favorite person to tend bar with.

 

Bacsik remembered a lot of things; the Cosmopolitan, celebrity stories, and Gary Farmer who was the most charismatic bartender he ever

saw—he was so charming people didn’t mind waiting to be served by him.  In 1984, Farmer left for a position at another celebrity-fueled restaurant, Indochine (430 Lafayette Street) then in 1985 moved to Miami Beach to open a bar called The Strand. 

 

SUPER WEIRD COSMO CONNECTION: In March of 1989 Farmer played a part in the Miami Beach Cosmopolitan—which was totally independent of the Cosmopolitan at The Odeon (more on Farmer in the Miami section of the Cosmo story).

 

Bacsik is from Rahway, New Jersey, attended college at The University of Connecticut, and today lives in New York, New York. He is the co-owner of Little Wine Company.

Paul Bacsik in 2013. Public photo from Bacsik's Facebook page.

Chef Stephen Lyle 

New York, New York

I learned that the chef at The Odeon who worked with Paul Bascik, Melissa Huffsmith, and Toby Cecchini was Steven Lyle. In January of 2018, I emailed him and he responded. He said that he remembered the Cosmopolitan at The Odeon because it was a big deal when he worked there. He also said they all drank a fair amount of them and it was still his wife’s go-to cocktail. 

 

Stephen Lyle began his career at age 17, with a formal French apprenticeship in a Michelin-starred restaurant in the South of France, where he lived during his teenage years. He then moved to New York and worked at Quatorze, The Odeon, then he opened his own restaurant, Village, in 2000. In 2013, Lyle became a corporate chef at the cutting-edge, fast-growing chain, Dig Inn. He lives in Tribeca, New York City with his wife, and is an avid cyclist. 

Steven K. Lyle photo is from stevenkyle.com

​Toby Cecchini

New York, New York

I emailed Toby Cecchini (cha-KEE-nee) in December of 2016, and we spoke on the phone in early January 2017. I bugged him with questions via text for over a year. I'm sure I annoyed him, but as you can see from my Cosmopolitan research so far, I like to dig deep and be thorough. While I appreciate Cecchini taking his time with me, sadly, I was never given any leads to follow or photos to share. 

 

I learned most of my information from his book and online interviews from sites and video that seemed reputable. Cecchini was born September 23, 1963, and is a first-generation born American who grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1951 his dad emigrated from Florence, Italy to Madison, WI and was an artist, great cook, allowed his children to drink watered down wine at the dinner table, and had a unique way to make a pitcher of Gin & Tonics .  

             

Cecchini documented his life as a bartender in his 2003 memoir Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life . In the book, he talks about waiting tables to put himself through college in Madison, then in his junior year he signed up for a France college program where he learned a lot about wine. Cecchini made his way to New York City by following a girl he had met in Paris, but in his words, it “blew apart.” He said one afternoon in 1987, he recognized The Odeon neon sign from the 1984 Jay McInerney novel’s cover Big Lights, Big City and decided to take a waiter position long enough to make money to return to France. He writes, “I had no idea I would leave the Odeon, four years later, a wholly changed man.” While reading Cecchini’s book, I enjoyed learning new words—with each digital page turn I clicked words to discover their meaning. You can read an excerpt from the first chapter of his book here .


Cecchini’s Cosmopolitan story is a few pages long and begins with the sentence, “I did not invent the Cosmopolitan.” You can read these pages on Google Books or go the Amazon route. The book has three different covers now; the burgundy is the original. Here are the exact words pertaining to the Cosmopolitan: 

     I did not invent the Cosmopolitan. Not technically, at any rate. I’ve had to reiterate this position to someone or other every year or three since 1987, whereupon that person invariably writes me up as the Inventor of the Cosmopolitan. I did invent what you think of as the drink, the version everyone means when they order it, last decade’s instantly understood signifier of crass, table-hopping New York privilege. Perhaps it’s better to say I re invented it. But a drink called the Cosmopolitan existed in name before I took my hand to it, and so, by strict definition, I am not its creator. By every other consideration, however, it’s my drink, for better or worse.

     One night Mesa showed me this drink some girl from San Francisco had made for her at Life Café, where Mesa had worked before. It was called the Cosmopolitan and she made it with it much better. Absolut had just come out with Citron, so we wanted to use that, for no particular reason other than that it was the new, cool thing at the moment. We naturally substituted fresh lime juice for the Rose’s and put Cointreau in it to soften the citric bite. To stand in for the grenadine we added just enough cranberry juice to give it a demure pink blush. We decided it had to be shaken extra hard and long, to make it frothy and opaque, and garnished it with a lemon twist for color and flourish. We found it was surprisingly good, like a high-end, girlish Kamikaze. Cute. We didn’t think anything much else about it, it was just another drink we made up in a long line of them that we concocted to amuse or gross out one another, which were then palmed off on the wait staff.

My thoughts:

1. In the first paragraph it's I, I, and my. In the second paragraph it's her, we, and we. As a matter of fact, the word "we" is used eight times.

2. Cecchini said Melissa (Mesa) told him about a drink some "girl" from San Francisco made it for her at Life Cafe. I believe this was Paddy (which is Patrick Mitten's nickname), the bartender who brought the cocktail from SF to NYC in 1987. Because Paddy sounds like a girls name (Patty), so in Cecchini's mind, it was a girl who told Melissa, when it was actually a guy.

 

I could not find a bar called Life Cafe in San Francisco, which brought me to a dead end. But in an October 16, 2017 text, Cecchini told me that the Life Cafe was in the East Village not San Francisco, which finally burst open the research door to connecting with the previous owner,Kathleen “Kathy” Life and its employees in the late 1980s. 

 

One thing Cecchini told me that I didn't see in any interviews was that in 2005 or 2007 (he could not remember the exact year) he saw the Cosmopolitan on a bar menu in Warsaw, Poland, that credited him as the inventor—it was then he realized the impact and popularity of the Cosmopolitan. 

 

During my research, I tried to pinpoint the year when Cecchini was credited for creating the Cosmopolitan. Today, I believe it came from articles by cocktail writer Gary Regan in the 2000s and articles by cocktail writer Robert Simonson in the 2010s.

     Writing about and researching history can be tricky because new information can be excavated at any time that can completely change a story. I'd like to add that everyone is entitled to "their"story because everyone has their truth. While thoroughly researching the Cosmopolitan I found stories that matched up and others that didn't. 

 

Mid-1990s

Gary Regan began researching the birth of the Cosmopolitan.

 

2000

This article written by Cecchini from December of 2000 says"I have pointed out clearly to every journalist I’ve spoken to over the years that I did not, in fact, invent the drink, but it seems to dampen no one’s enthusiasm. I did, with my friend Melissa, cobble together the version everyone drinks now, or perhaps reinvent the drink."

 

 

2003

Cecchini's book, Cosmopolitan is released. In the book, he writes that in 1987 a girl named Melissa told him about a grenadine-lime drink from San Francisco and together they revamped the cocktail in 1987 at The Odeon.

My thoughts:

1. Melissa and three others told me that she didn’t start working at The Odeon until the spring of 1989. At this time, Cecchini was still a waiter and was promoted to a bartender in the fall of 1989. 

2. Later in interviews, Cecchini changes the year 1987 to 1988. My guess because he was made aware that Absolut Citron was not around until 1988. 

3. The San Francisco Cosmo never had grenadine in place of cranberry juice. Never. I spoke with many bartenders, owners, managers, co-workers and more and not once was Rose's grenadine mentioned. Not sure how that made it into the story.

 

2003 You can download a radio interview here and listen to Cecchini talk about his book Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life. In the intro, the radio host describes Cecchini as the

reinventor of the Cosmo."

My thoughts:

1. At 9:00 the radio host asks about the Cosmopolitan saying that Cecchini is the inventor or one of the people who invented it, he agrees with a hum but never mentions the girl named Melissa. Later, he says he stopped laying claim to the cocktail.

 

2003

This article says, "Cecchini is known around New York for having reinvented the Cosmopolitan when he worked at the Odeon in the late 1980s...then one thing led to another. Maybe."

My thoughts:

1. There is no mention of the girl named Melissa helping Cecchini reinvent the Cosmo.

 

2004

In September, Gary Regan published a review of Cecchini’s book in his popular ArdentSpirits.com (defunct) newsletter. The first sentence reads, "Whether he likes it or not, as far as we’re concerned Toby Cecchini, author of Cosmopolitan, created the Cosmopolitan Cocktail." You can read it here on the Wayback Machine.

 

2005

Based on the most current Cosmopolitan information available, Gary Regan wrote an article in Cheers Magazine crediting Cecchini as the Cosmopolitan inventor. Later in the year, on September 25, Regan finally received an email from the longtime researched and rumored inventor of the Cosmopolitan, Cheryl Cook.

My thoughts:

1. I personally know the power of having Gary Regan write about you because this same year he gave a review of my 5th book in Nations Restaurant News Magazine and it resulted in a full email inbox and many voicemails from CEOs offering me consultant jobs.

2. Cheryl Cook also learned the power of Regan' writing (the hard way) when she made up a date from the top of her head about when she thought she invented her Miami Beach Cosmo. She said 1985. She did not know who Regan was because she had been out of the business for many years. Cocktail people debunked her story because Absolut Citron was not introduced until 1988. I helped her remember the exact month and year. You can read that story later down the page.

 

2008

In an interview, Cecchini says, “I didn’t invent the cosmopolitan.” Then goes on to say "There was a drink called the Cosmopolitan before, I basically made the drink that is now known as the Cosmopolitan." You can read it here.

My thoughts:

1. His 2003 book, Cecchini says him and a girl named Melissa made it together. Why does Melissa not get credit?

 

2011

Robert Plotkin interviews Cecchini and writes, "Cecchini created the now internationally famous Cosmopolitan."

 My thoughts:

1. His 2003 book, Cecchini says him and a girl named Melissa made it together. Why does Melissa not get credit? 

 

2012

Gary Regan blogged his current updated Cosmopolitan research titled The Birth of the Cosmopolitan.

 

2016

In this article, Robert Simonson says "I did thorough research into the cosmopolitan because I felt it was an important drink...I interviewed all the people who said they invented it, and I took a stand: I said that a man named Toby Cecchini invented the cosmopolitan in 1988 at The Odeon in New York.

My thoughts:

1. I would love to talk with Simonson because I asked the top people who have claimed the Cosmo and they said Simonson never contacted them.

 

2016

The writer of this article titled "How I created the Cosmo-and why I wish I hadn't" quotes author Robert Simonson's book, A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World. It reads, "Cecchini says he came up with the drink with help from a friend visiting from San Francisco."

My thoughts:

1. The friend was not visiting from San Francisco, she was a co-worker named Melissa. Again, in Cecchini's 2003 book, he says a girl named Melissa (a co-worker) told him about the drink from her San Francisco friend.

2. Cecchini told me in a phone conversation in January of 2017 that it was a friend of Melissa's who was in a band visiting NYC. His story is always changing. 

 

2016

Robert Simonson writes this article titled "How the Inventor of the Cosmopolitan Learned to Embrace His Most Famous Creation." The article quotes Simonson's book A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World. Some quotes include, "It’s amusing, then, that the drink’s most convincing claim of ownership belongs to a contrarian who for many years refused credit. Toby Cecchini is a querulous skeptic who likes to downplay his profession any chance he gets...Cecchini still stands by the story of the drink’s birth that he laid down in Cosmopolitan. A fellow bartender at Odeon had friends from San Francisco who introduced her to a Bay Area drink called the Cosmopolitan. She told Toby about the cocktail.

My thoughts:

1. In Cecchini's 2003 book, he says a co-worker bartender girl named Melissa first told him about the Cosmopolitan and together they made it better. It appears that Cecchini has taken ownership of the cocktail and is leaving Melissa out of his original story.

2. One reason a person would "downplay" something is that something is not true.

3. One reason someone would refuse credit is that it's true.

 

2016

In this article, Cecchini is credited by the writer as the inventor of the Cosmopolitan. Cecchini talks about how the Cosmopolitan has been such a burden to him, and since others were coming forward claiming it, he decided to lay claim to the Cosmopolitan.

My thoughts:

1. So, in 2003 it was "he and a girl named Melissa reinvented it", then in 2008 it was "I didn't make it", and now it's "I made it?"

2. By "others" I'm assuming Cecchini means Neal Murray and Cheryl Cook. You can read their stories on this page.

3. Again, what happened to the girl named Melissa from the 2003 book whom Cecchini said they made it together?

 

2016

CNN put out a YouTube video interview on Cecchini. At the very end, Cecchini takes credit for creating the Cosmopolitan by saying, "It's my cocktail, I made it, yes."

 

2017

The first sentence of this interview reads "When Toby Cecchini invented the Cosmopolitan back in 1988." Cecchini talks about how he took the grenadine-lime 1980s San Francisco Cosmopolitan and made it better. It also says that he learned it from a waitress.

My thoughts:

1. The San Francisco Cosmo never had grenadine in place of cranberry juice. Never. I spoke with many bartenders, owners, managers, co-workers and more and not once was Rose's grenadine mentioned.

2. The girl Melissa from his 2003 book and the ex SF bartender who taught her the drink never used Rose's grenadine when the Cosmo was being made in NYC at Life Cafe two years before Cecchini even heard of it. I'm not sure how the grenadine ever made it into Cecchini's story.

3. And how did a co-worker named Melissa go from being a bartender to a waitress?

4. Cecchini was not a bartender at The Odeon until the fall of 1989.

 

2017

In this Norwegian article with the title "Toby Cecchini invented Cosmopolitan: - I made the fucking drink everyone had to make”, Cecchini says, "I'm the one who made the fucking drink everyone had to make" and "I was 25 I just made a stupid drink."

 

2018

Amy Zavotto writes "Cecchini is the unequivocal inventor of the Cosmopolitan as we know it today" in this article for Liquor.com. She Facebook messaged me in May of 2018 asking for some of my unpublished research on the Cosmo. I sent her all my current research and did not hear back, after messaging her, she started with she's been busy. I learned that she lives in Brooklyn and is probably friends with Cecchini. My guess is that she showed him my research, which is probably why Cecchini blocked me on Facebook.  

My thoughts:

1. Still no credit is given for the girl named Melissa.

 

2019

In this article, author Robert Simonson writes, "...Toby Cecchini who, for better or worse, invented the Cosmopolitan."

My thoughts: 

1. I can only guess that Simonson is a good friend of Cecchini's since he lives in Brooklyn (where Cecchini lives) and is from Wisconsin (where Cecchini is from). Google shows me that since 2016, Simonson has claimed Cecchini as the inventor of the Cosmopolitan Here, Here, Here, Here, HereHere, Here, in a book, podcast, an app and more. There was a time when Simonson did not claim Cecchini as the inventor of the cosmopolitan; his 2011 blog.

 

2019

Cointreau invited Cecchini to Paris for their 170th anniversary. They credited Cecchini as being the creator of Cosmopolitan here. Apparently, Cecchini did not let them know that he did not create the Cosmo and accepted the free trip to Paris.

 

These articles above are but a handful of what can be found.

 

In Internetland, the Cecchini-Cosmo snowball has gained speed to the point of no return. Many people around the world believe Cecchini created/or re-created the Cosmopolitan cocktail. Based on my research and other information I'm not sharing, I do not believe this. I feel this story is just another cocktail discovery much like we learned in 2017 that Antoine Peychaud did not invent the Sazerac.

 

Cecchini worked at The Odeon for four heyday years then went on to manage the Soho bar Kin Khao (171 Spring Street) for almost seven years before he became co-owner with Gavin Brown of Passerby in Chelsea (436 West 15th Street) for nearly ten years. In 2013, he opened the Long Island Bar in Brooklyn (110 Atlantic Avenue) with Joel Tompkins. Cecchini writes for Food and Wine, GQ, New York Times, and SaveurHis Cosmopolitan recipe is at the bottom of the page.

Kathy Life from  lifecafe.com

Screenshot of Robert Simonson's App,

Modern Classics. What's interesting is that

this is not the portions of the recipe Cecchini

gave me or seen in articles and videos.

Clipart from worldartsme.com.

​​Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff

New York, New York

Dale Degroff has often said that he did not invent the Cosmopolitan, but popularized a definitive Cosmo recipe that became widely accepted as the standard. Well, he might not have been the first in NYC to improve the Cosmo in NYC with quality ingredients, but he was the most famous and the color of his Cosmo matched the Cosmos seen on TV show Sex and the City (more red less pink). And as we all know now, we wouldn't be be having a conversation about Cosmos if it wasn't for SATC.

      In the 2015 Youtube video to the right,  DeGroff says he first drank his first Cosmopolitan at the Fog City Diner in San Francisco then came back home to the Rainbow Room, and made a retooled/improved version with quality ingredients. Oh, and of course he garnished it with his signature flamed orange peel that he learned from Beverly Hills bartender Pepe Ruiz who first did it in 1970 when creating a cocktail called The Flame of Love for Dean Martin. DeGroff goes on to say that he then learned later that a bartender named Toby Cecchini was already making an improved version of the Cosmopolitan at The Odeon. Degroff also says the associated press at the Rainbow Room Sony Grammy party took a photo of Madonna drinking his Cosmopolitan then put it out on the wire around the world with the caption, “Madonna drinking the Cosmopolitan at the world-famous Rainbow Room.” This lead to DeGroff getting hired by Absolut and Ocean Spray and gave quite a boost to DeGroff’s career. Degroff also says "Sony took up both floors and there were three private bars; one each for Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Madonna."

My thoughts:

1. The dates of when DeGroff first heard of a bartender named Cecchini are unclear. In Cecchini's 2003 book, he has said that he worked at The Odeon between years

1987-1991. Melissa Huffsmith worked at The Odeon from 1989-1994.

2. To nail down an exact date when DeGroff's Cosmo was put out on the wire around the world, all I need is to find is that Grammy photo of Madonna drinking DeGroff's Cosmo. Easy, right? Sadly, no. But I'll keep looking.

 

 

In January of 2017, DeGroff emailed me a blurb for my 16th book, The Cocktail Companion. I thanked him then told him I was still working on the Cosmopolitan research and requested some dates.1. What year did he visit Fog City Diner? 2. What year was the Madonna photo Grammy party?

 

DeGroff replied that he was on his Whiskey, Gamblers, and Flying Horses Tour, but would ask some friends if they can remember. I bugged him with fifteen more emails until June 2018. I was running close to my book deadline, so I started researching different angles with a focus on when Madonna was in NYC for the Grammys and was at the Rainbow Room because I knew this would give me THE year.

 

I began my search by finding all the years that the Grammy Awards were held in New York City in the 1980s-1990s. They were 1981, 1988,  1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, and 1998. I emailed this research to DeGroff in October 2017, and he replied, "It wasn't the first year, but we reopened the Rainbow Room late in 1987 ... 88, 91 and 92 are out since I hadn't come across the drink yet so that leaves 94, 97 and 98. When, and if Carl can remember the year he took me to the Fog City Diner that will pinpoint the time I added the drink to my menu and the year that the Grammy event with Madonna happened... I'll get back to you shortly."

 

I know DeGroff told me that 1988-1992 are out, but just in case I went ahead and did the research.

 

MADONNA, SINATRA, AND DYLAN

1988

The Grammys were held in NYC on March 2.

I could not find any Grammy photos or videos.

 

Where was Madonna?

She was married to Sean Penn and had short brunette hair. She was starring in David Mamet’s NYC play Speed-the-Plow. Rehearsals started on February 23 and the play opened May 3 then closed on Dec 31. She had short brunette hair.

 

Where was Sinatra?

I could not find anything.

 

Where was Dylan?

I could not find anything.

 

Other

The Rainbow Room re-opened in December 1987, so it would have been open for the Grammys, but that would not have given DeGroff enough time to settle in, visit Fog City Diner in San Francisco, etc. So I believe 1988 can be eliminated.

 

Absolut Citron was in test marketing this year, but the first known newspaper liquor store ad I could find on Newspapers.com is in September.

 

In 2013, Degroff told Toronto's The Star over the phone that the Madonna Sony Rainbow Room Grammy Party was in 1988, but they may have misunderstood or I'm reading it incorrectly.

 

1991

The Grammys were held in NYC on February 20.

 

Where was Madonna?

I could not find any Grammys photos or videos on Madonna. 

This year, Madonna had Marilyn Monroe platinum blonde hair and went with Michael Jackson to the Academy Awards on March 25. On July 8, Madonna began filming A League Of Their Own. She had brunette hair. 

 

Where was Sinatra?

Diamond Jubilee World Frank Sinatra was on his Tour at the Long Beach Arena on this date.

 

Where was Dylan?

Bob Dylan performed at the Grammys.

 

Other

CBS held their Grammy party at the Rainbow Room. There are 27 images on Getty Images.

 

1992

The Grammys were held in NYC on February 25.

 

Where was Madonna?

Madonna won her first Grammy for best music video for her Blond Ambition Tour Live, but I could not find any Grammy photos or videos and she was not on tour. However, she did own an apartment in NYC at this time.

 

Madonna was maybe in NYC because three days before the Grammys, she was in an SNL skit. Barbra Streisand did a surprise walk on. I found a newspaper article that said Streisand was in town for the Grammys. Streisand won the Legends Award. Madonna was blonde all year. This is the year her sex book was released.

 

Where was Sinatra?

Sinatra was on tour. On Feb 16, he performed at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. On February 29, he performed at Marriot's Desert Spring Resorts in Palm Springs, CA. Maybe he could have flown to NYC in between. His next date was March 12 at the Sand's Hotel in Atlantic City. Sinatra arrived in NYC on May 25 to perform at Royal Albert Hall.

 

Where was Dylan?

Bob Dylan did not start his world tour until March 18, so maybe he could have been in NYC.

 

Other

Charlie Sepulveda played at the Rainbow Room Grammy Party. Images here.

New York Times article documented a Polygram party at the Rainbow Room. 

 

1994

The Grammys were held in NYC on March 1.

 

Where was Madonna?

Not at the Grammys apparently. On March 1, Madonna attended the Interview Magazine Party with boyfriend Tupac Shakur. It was at Barolo Ristorante (398 Broadway). She was a brunette, but by the summer she was blonde.

 

Where was Sinatra?

He was at the Grammys! Frank Sinatra was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by Bono at the Grammys. The book U2: A Diary by Matt McGee documents the Grammy Legend Award being presented to Frank Sinatra by Bono at the Grammys then goes on to mention a “post-show party” at the Rainbow Room.

 

Here are some Getty images of the 1994 Grammys and here is the recap of the awards show.  Getty images also show that Sony held their party at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, not the Rainbow Room.

 

Where was Dylan?

Not at the Grammys. Bob Dylan was on his Never Ending Tour in Columbia, MO at the Jesse Auditorium during this date. So, with Madonna and Dylan being other places, this eliminates 1994.

 

Other

On November 16 the first known newspaper to publish a Cosmopolitan recipe was The Central New Jersey Home News in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was DeGroff's recipe. 

 

1997

The Grammys were held in NYC on February 26.

 

Where was Madonna?

Madonna sang at the Grammys!

Later this year Madonna won a Golden Globe for best actress in Evita in January (Los Angeles), performed at the Academy Awards in March, at the MTV Movie Awards in June, at the MTV Music Awards in NYC in September, and at the MTV Europe Music Awards in November.

Madonna's hair was light golden strawberry blonde the first part of the year and turned blonder the latter part.

 

Where was Sinatra?

I found nothing on Sinatra being at the Grammys in NYC. He suffered a heart attack in Los Angeles on January 9 and there are many articles saying that he was in and out of hospitals all year and was never seen in public again. He died in May 1998. His last concert was on February 25, 1995, at the Palm Desert Marriott Ballroom in Palm Desert, CA.

 

Where was Dylan?

Bob Dylan was on a five-week tour break, so he could have been in NYC. So far I have found nothing on Dylan being at the Grammys, but the following year he won Album of the Year.

 

Other

A post-Polygram Grammy party at the Rainbow Room mentioned in the June-July issue of Vibe magazine.

 

1998

Sinatra died in May of 1998, so this eliminates this year.

 

If you Google Madonna + Rainbow Room there is Italian website with a photo of Madonna holding a Cosmopolitan. Many people believed this to be the "Rainbow Room Madonna Photo." When I translate the page it says it's at the 1996 Grammys, which was in Los Angeles. The Madonna photo is actually from a 2007 Academy Award/Oscar Vanity Fair party in Los Angeles at Morton's. This is the exact same dress and hairstyle.

 

Are you as confused as I am? DeGroff's Cosmopolitan recipes are at the bottom of the page.

A 2006 photo from Jill DeGroff. Dale DeGroff author photo for his second book, The Essential Bartender: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks.

Candace Bushnell

New York, New York

I was shocked to discover, two days after sending an email on November 7, 2017, that the famous Candace Bushnell actually answered my email. Wow!

Bushnell is an American journalist, author, and television producer. Between 1994-1996 Bushnell wrote the Sex in the City column for The New York Observer, which was about her and her friends dating in the city. Instead of using her own name, she created an alter-ego with the same initials as hers—that name was Carrie Bradshaw.

 

While writing the column, she also freelanced at Vogue and one assignment was to write about Darren Star who had created Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place with Aaron Spelling. Well, soon after the two became friends they hung out together with the real-life "Mr.Big" Ron Galotti (the publisher of Vogue at the time) and author and screenwriter, Bret Easton Ellis .

In 1996, her columns were collected in book form with a title of the same name.

This all lead to the HBO show created by Darren Star that ran from 1998-2004, which we all know, was the show that rocketed the Cosmopolitan cocktail around the world.

 

I asked Bushnell if she remembered drinking Cosmopolitans and she wrote, “Hi Cheryl Charming—Thanks for writing to me. Back in the late eighties/early nineties “designer” spirit brands like Absolut were making a big push for the club crowd. Bret Easton Ellis and I were going out every night and one night we started drinking them. We’d always drank vodkas with cranberry juice and the Cosmo, with the fresh lime juice, seemed like a good alternative. Once we had our first Cosmo, we couldn’t stop drinking them. And I pretty much made everyone else drink them too. When Darren and I first met, in 1995, I took him out on the town and introduced him to the Cosmo. I think I may have even posed for photographs with a Cosmo. I suppose it was my signature drink, and because Carrie was my

alter-ego, she naturally had to drink them as well! Hope this helps. Best, Candace.” I wrote her back of course with a few more questions but never heard back. I was totally satisfied with the one email. There are several YouTube videos of her and her website is here.

By Keete 37 [CC BY-SA 4.0  Wikimedia Commons

Miami Beach, Florida

Cheryl Cook
Miami Beach, Florida

In 1999—my second year of having an email address—I began to receive emails asking if I was “Cheryl from Florida who created the Cosmopolitan.” What felt like thousands of emails later, Cheryl Cook and I finally became Facebook friends on July 20, 2015. Over a year later I began to ask her questions about her Cosmopolitan story.

 

I read Gary Regans’ Cosmopolitan article where Cook told him that she created the Cosmo in 1985; this seemed odd to me because I remember tending bar on a Caribbean cruise ship in 1988 when Absolut Citron was introduced. Cook told me that 1985 was a wild guess when talking with Regan because it was so long ago and she really did not remember. I later learned that The Strand opened in 1985, so that may have been a past date that was prominent in Cook’s memory.

 

While listening to Cook’s story through my iPhone earbuds with pen and paper in hand, she mentioned that she named the drink after a Cosmopolitan magazine with a pink cover that the hostess was showing everyone who walked in the door.                     There was an article on The Strand and the hostess titled “The Maître d’                          is a Ms.” Cook continued with her story, but my head lit up like a                       1000-watt light bulb. I interrupted, “Wait! Cheryl, do you have the                     magazine?” She said no. I told Cook that all we have to do is find                     that magazine and we will know the exact month and year that                         you made your Cosmopolitan. I started researching and soon learned that the magazine put out one pink cover each year, so I went to eBay and bought five of them from 1987-1992. The winner was the March issue of 1989. After snapping photos of the article pages, I mailed Cook the copy as a gift.

 

In 1983, with a theater degree, Cook began working as a production manager for a performing arts high school program, which became New World School of the Arts in Miami. In 1987, Cook was hired by a professional theatre company called New World Theatre. She received her Equity card. The Strand (671 Washington Avenue) was home to the New World Theatre Company, but there’s not a lot of money in the theatre, so with three years of bartending experience under her belt, she took a position behind the bar to pay her bills, but her ultimate goal in life was to keep working in the theater in some shape or form.

 

The Strand opened in December of 1985 and was co-owned and ran by Gary Farmer (formally of Indochine and The Odeon in NYC). The restaurant and bar provided Miami’s first hang that welcomed all sexual orientations and attracted a star-studded clientele. In March of 1989, a couple of things coincided: The Strand was mentioned in a Cosmopolitan magazine and Cook was given a new product to create a cocktail—Absolut Citron. Cook says her liquor rep asked her to create a cocktail with the new vodka, so she decided to make the cocktail pink to match the cover of the magazine—in Cook’s words—“oh so pretty in pink” (a popular phrase at the time from the 1986 film Pretty in Pink). The ingredients were a Kamikaze with a splash cranberry juice. She stirred it in a                      mixing glass (16-ounce pint glass), then strained it into a 4.5 ounce Libbey                        conical shaped #8882 cocktail glass  because she said flavored Martinis were                    popular among women and she wanted to use that type of glass. She                                garnished the drink with an old school lemon twist (the short kind that was                        often precut vertically around the circumference of a lemon), then offered it                      as a taste test to friend and co-worker Christine “Crispy” Soloperto. She told Cook it was good, then asked what she was going to name it. They looked over at the magazine, giggled, then said, “Cosmopolitan!” I have not been able to connect with Soloperto yet, but Gary Regan has spoken to her so that's fine with me. Soloperto is busy as a royal celebrity in South Beach.

 

Soloperto was the first person to taste the Cosmopolitan and Bob Dean was the second. Dean worked as a bartender one block away at the Lasso Cocktail Bar. More on Dean later. Cook said within hours, everyone in the room was drinking them. When the Absolut Citron ran out, she remembers having to quickly make impromptu lemon vodka by squeezing lemons into Absolut vodka bottles. She made thousands of Cosmopolitans, and soon they became popular in other bars on the strip. Cook says, "Eight mixing glasses had to be lined up and ready for orders of Cosmopolitans at all times."

 

Cook served many celebrities and had many stories. She vividly remembers serving Madonna and Sandra Bernhard many times. When the Cosmopolitan went what today we would call “viral” from Sex and the City, Cook just assumed that the show’s costume designers, Patricia Field and Rebecca Weinburg were responsible for introducing the cocktail to the writers because Field and Weinburg were regulars of hers.

 

Cook worked at The Strand until it closed, then went down the street to tend bar for Borocco Restaurant, serving even more Cosmopolitans. She became known as “The Martini Queen of South Beach.” Sometime during the early 1990s, Italian Vogue took photos of her Cosmopolitan, so somewhere out there is a photo of Cook’s Cosmopolitan in an Italian Vogue magazine.

 

In 2011, Jake Burger from Absolut vodka was scheduled for a Cosmopolitan video interview with Dale DeGroff, but he had to cancel, so Burger contacted Cook to set up an interview in Miami. Cook had just lost her mother, so the day was dark and gloomy for her and honestly does not remember much about it. She never heard anything afterwards.

 

On November 30, 2012, Gary Regan posted an article on his website titled “The Birth of the Cosmopolitan”. Regan had been searching for Cook since the mid-1990s and finally received an email from Cook on September 25, 2005, at 11:24 Eastern Standard Time.

 

Local Miami Beach historian Jeff Donnelly wrote a proposal to the city for its 100th birthday (celebrated in March of 2015) to honor Cheryl Cook for creating the Cosmopolitan. Cook’s Cosmo celebration was to be held at City Hall, but then they learned that the crowd was going to be between 250-300 attendees, so they moved it to The Delano Hotel (1685 Collins Ave). Cook was presented a proclamation both at the hotel and City Hall. She was amazed to see over 200 "old crowd" people from the from back in the day—faces she had not seen in over 25 years! 

 

Cook has produced twenty-seven shows in Atlantic City, worked as an event planner, and was a semifinalist for Event Solutions Magazine's 2006 “Creative Director of the Year." Most currently, Cook taught for Diageo’s “Learning for Life” program at Florida International University. Her students assisted the 2016 World Class Cocktail Competition that was held in Miami. Probably my favorite thing throughout my communication with Cook was all the retro photos she shared of her Cosmo and more. 

 

Her Cosmopolitan recipe is at the bottom of the page.

Cheryl Cook in the early 1980s. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

The Strand. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

Cheryl Cook working at The Strand. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

Cheryl Cook 1990s Cosmopolitans. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

2015 Cheryl Cook being honored at Miami Beach' 100 year birthday celebration for creating the Cosmopolitan. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

Gary Farmer
Miami Beach, Florida

Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 1:20 PM was a happy day for me; it ended my fourteen-month search for Gary Farmer. “Hello Miss Charming, Odd we haven't met. I visit New Orleans often and can usually be found drinking somewhere. Susan Brustman forwarded your email. I am happy to answer your questions via email, but please do not share my address. I have a vivid recollection of the day and circumstances that led Cheryl Cook to invent and name the Cosmo at my restaurant The Strand, and would be happy to share with you. Kind regards, Gary. Sent from my iPad.”

 

Susan Brustman was one of many people I contacted on my search to find Farmer, but it only takes one! She first heard about him in 1978. This is documented in the 2015 book by Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer It Happened in Miami, the Magic City: An Oral History. I also found more information about Farmer and The Strand in Steven Gaines 2009 book Fool’s Paradise: Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach . Cheryl Cook told me there was a 1992 article in New York Magazine called “SoHo in the Sun” that mentioned The Strand and showed images of South Beach. I found the mentions on pages 18 and 27 in Google Books here . And you can read a December 18, 1987, article from the Sun-Sentinel titled "Strand: A Place for People Watching in South Beach.

 

 

Farmer worked at The Odeon in New York City in the early 1980s. He told me that he took bartending very seriously. He said, “I was a total cocktail geek, collecting books and recipes from the 1920s and 1930s; I even wrote a monthly cocktail column for GQ.  In my previous suit-and-tie career, I had frequented the old classic cocktail bars—the original Monkey Bar , the Polo Bar at the Westbury, the Oak Bar, the Carlyle...sophistication and class. A long time ago."

I checked on the GQ column and indeed found one from 1984, the same year he left The Odeon to manage Indochine.

 

Through the books that I mentioned, I learned that Farmer was tired of the rat race of New York City and wanted to return to California, but Brustman talked him in coming to South Beach to help spark the turnaround of South Beach. And that he did. After finding the perfect location, Farmer went through six layers of linoleum and two of carpet to find the original terrazzo floor. Yes, the flower arrangements were exotic, and tables were blanketed in thick white linen, but the lighting was indirect and flattering, so everyone looked good, and mirrors were strategically placed so you could people watch around corners because Farmer believes the most important product is people. He wanted a diverse clientele such as people in tuxedos sitting next to people in bathing suits. He did not want a cookie-cutter type of staff, so he hired artists, actors, athletes, and a mix of interesting people.

 

Farmer’s and Cook’s Cosmopolitan stories are an excellent front of the house/back of the house perspectives. Farmer told me that Absolut was the fashionable vodka of the time and its citron flavor had just been introduced. His salesman dropped off a free case on the very day they were hosting a group of female alumni (from Brown University, he thinks) with complimentary hors-d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Farmer said that Cook had come in early to set up, and he told her to come up with a “feature cocktail’ using the Absolut Citron. He said, “Cheryl was a very serious gal and gave it serious thought.” He went on to describe Cook’s process; The Strand had popularized classic martini glasses, so it had to be that glass and the color must be pink because women like pink drinks. Cook fiddled around with the recipe until she was satisfied, and then he approved.

 

Cook suggested the name Cosmopolitan because the hostess had been featured in a Cosmopolitan magazine story called “When the maitre d’ is a Ms” (he thinks, but close enough) with a full-page photo of the hostess, *Natalie Thomas, opposite the title page. Thomas was very proud of the article and kept a copy of it, open to her picture, on the front desk. Cook thought naming the cocktail after the magazine would be a smart marketing choice. Farmer thought for sure there had to be a Cosmopolitan cocktail already in existence, but there was not one listed in either of the two cocktail books they kept behind the bar, so he gave Cook the green light. The alumni ladies, of course, loved it, and when the restaurant customers (mostly regulars) saw all those pink Martinis, they just had to have one too. Farmer said, “And that’s how the Cosmopolitan cocktail was born. We never made a big deal about it, but they sold like crazy.” Farmer ended his Cosmo story by saying, “Cheryl Cook’s local celebrity actually came a few years later, when I sold The Strand, and she became Miami’s most famous martini maker at a cool bar called 821 on Lincoln Road.  Her Martini nights were PACKED.”

 

*While researching Farmer, somehow I found this article about his hostess, Natalie Thomas , claiming to be the inventor of the Cosmopolitan cocktail.

Gary Farmer in Miami Beach late 1980s. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

Photo of 1984 GQ Magazine showing Gary Farmer's Wine and Spirits Department.

Gary Farmer and Cheryl cook at Miami Beach' 100th birthday celebration in 2015. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

Bob Dean
Miami Beach, Florida

I learned of Bob Dean through Cheryl Cook. Dean’s Cosmo connection is being the second person to taste Cook’s Cosmopolitan. I was able to speak with him briefly in November of 2017. He was a hoot!

 

Dean remembered that day in March 1989 like it was yesterday. He said that he worked at the Lasso Lounge across the street from The Strand and Crispy Soloperto walked in at 5 PM and said, “Bob! Cheryl just invented a great cocktail called the Cosmopolitan.” She told him the ingredients, he made two, (I’m guessing they clicked glasses), and they drank them.

 

Nashville, Tennessee is Dean’s hometown. When he worked in South Beach, he was commuting from Dania Beach in Fort Lauderdale. He said the Lasso Lounge was supposed to be haunted and was also considered the best locals bar in South Beach at the time.

 

Currently, Dean is living in Santa Monica, California and still tends bar! He is also a comic, actor, and has his own podcast show on iTunes called The Bob Dean Show. On August 6, 2017, he taped episode 25 “Machine Guns Bad, Cruise Ships and Cosmopolitans”, in which he calls up his old friend in Miami, Cheryl Cook.

Bob Dean in Miami Beach late 1980s. Photo by Cheryl Cook.

Bob Dean in 2016. Public photo from Bob Dean's Facebook page.

Fun Cosmo Media Facts

1987

Jason Kruse with the Black Liver Project found the first known mention of the Cosmopolitan in an October 23rd

San Francisco Chronicle article.

 

1993

On April 23, the first known book to mention the Cosmopolitan is The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks by Anthony Dias Blue. The second was  November 1, Complete World Bartender Guide by Bob Sennett.

 

1994

On November 16, the first known newspaper to publish a Cosmopolitan recipe was The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey). Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff contributed his recipe.

 

1998

On April 9, the first known Cosmopolitan cocktail seen and mentioned on a television show was ER. It was season 4 episode 17, and the writer was Linda Gase. The second time was July 19 on Sex and the City season 1 episode 7.

 

2002

On June 21, the first known film to show and mention a Cosmopolitan is Juwanna Mann.

The next known films are: 

2005 Guess Who; Zoë Saldana orders Cosmopolitans. 

2005 In Her Shoes; Shirley MacLaine makes Cosmopolitans to impress her granddaughter, Cameron Diaz. 

2006 Phat Girlz; Joyful Drake orders a Cosmopolitan.

 

2002

On August 13, the first known song to mention a Cosmopolitan is

“Satellite” written and performed by Kay Hanley 

"Red cosmos pink, They all toasted you blind, I needed another drink."

To be fair, there is a 2001 rap song that mentioned Cosmos, but I'm disqualifying it due to the lyrics.

 

The next known songs to mention a Cosmopolitan include:

2004 “Cosmopolitans” written and performed by Erin McKeown

Cosmopolitans and ladies, Looking for pills in draperies

2004 "The Girl's Gone Wild" written by  Bob Dipiero, Rivers Rutherford, performed by Travis Tritt

Passin' around the Cosmo, wearin' out the cell phone.”

2004 “Virgo,” written by Christopher Brian Bridges, Douglas L Davis, Nasir Jones, Salaam Remi, performed by Ludacris
“Bartender put a Cosmo in that girl hand.”

2005 “Red Dress,” written by  Graham Walker and performed by Babyface

“Stop for some cocktails, Let's set the mood, Have a Martini Cosmo or two.”

2008 "I Did it All" written and performed by Tracy Chapman

A Cosmopolitan, a Manhattan, Call me one, Pour a round for me and my friends.

2007 “Love Me, Hate The Game,” written and performed by M-flo
“Cosmo cocktails, topless models.”

2008 “Danny Callahan,” written and performed by Conor Oberst

“Some wander the wilderness, Some drink cosmopolitans.”

2009 “Grown Thangs,” written by Kenneth B Edmonds, Luther Vandross, performed by Luther Vandross

“Grab two more Cosmos, we ain't thinkin' about tomorrow.”

2009 “I Hate California,” written by Brett James, Matthew L Shafer, performed by Uncle Kracker
“Drinkin' pink Cosmos at the Sky Bar.”

2013 “Hollywood,” written by Oliver Jao Smith, performed by Maggie Rose
“Cosmos - everybody nurses, They get as trashed as we do.”

2015 “Drink On It,” written by Jessi Leigh Alexander, Jon Randall Stewart, Rodney Clawson, performed by Blake Shelton
“I could use another whiskey, And your Cosmo's gettin' low.”

2016 “Cheaper To Drink Alone,” written by Brandon Kinney, Jon Lawhon, Chris Robertson, Ben Wells, John Fred Young, performed by Black Stone Cherry
“High heels and high dollar Cosmos.”

First known mention.

First book mention.

First newspaper recipe

First known Cosmo mentioned and seen in TV.  ER. s4 e17. Writer is Linda Gase.

I have documented each time a Cosmopolitan was seen and mentioned in Sex and the City. I made a video of all of them, but unfortunately, it's too large to upload, but you can view it here. Notice how they are all more reddish and less pinkish. This may because the writers copied Dale"King Cocktail"DeGroff's revamp of the Cosmo in the 1990s.

Out of six seasons and 94 episodes, the Cosmopolitan was seen 27 times and mentioned by name four. In 1999, season two most definitely set the Cosmopolitan tone for the rest of the seasons because the cocktail was seen in ten episodes and mentioned by name in three.

 

The very first episode shows Carrie and Samantha drinking Cosmopolitans at Miranda’s birthday dinner; however, the average viewer would not have known the cocktails were called Cosmopolitans. That all changed on Sunday night, July 19, 1998, because the cocktail was finally written into the transcript by Darren Star in episode seven "The Monogamists." The voice over of the character Carrie Bradshaw read, That afternoon I dragged my poor, tortured soul out to lunch with Stanford Blach and attempted to stun it senseless with Cosmopolitans. This was the only mention of the Cosmo in season one.

The first time the Cosmopolitan is seen and mentioned in Sex and the City. s1 e7 July 19, 1998.

Cosmopolitan Recipes

Neal Murray's Cosmopolitan

Fall of 1975 Golden Valley, MN

Pour the following into a shaker tin with ice:

1.5 ounces (45 mL) Gordon’s vodka 

.75 ounce (22 mL) Leroux triple sec

.75 ounce (22 mL) Rose’s lime

.5 ounce (15 mL) cranberry juice

Shake, then strain into a conical-shaped cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

 

Neal Murray 2004 recipe

1.5 ounces (45 mL) vodka or citrus-flavored vodka 
.5 ounce
(15 mL) Cointreau 
1 ounce (30 mL) cranberry juice 
.5 ounce
(15 mL) lime juice

Cheryl Cook's Cosmopolitan

March 1989 Miami Beach, FL

Pour the following into a mixing glass filled with ice:

2 ounces (60 mL) Absolut Citron vodka

.5 ounce (15 mL) triple sec

.5 ounce (15 mL) Rose’s lime

.5 ounce (15 mL) cranberry juice

Stir, then strain into a conical-shaped cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. To be authentic, make this old-school lemon twist by cutting one end off a lemon then cutting about eight vertical incisions around the lemon. When needed, pull off a twist. 

Old school lemon twists.Photo by Cheryl Charming.

Melissa Huffsmith-Roth Cosmopolitan Spring or Summer1989 NYC

Paddy Mitten first showed Huffsmith how to make the San Francisco Cosmopolitan in January of 1988 at Life Cafe with plain vodka, triple sec, Rose's lime, and cranberry.

Chill a conical-shaped cocktail glass, then pour the following into a shaker tin:

2 ounces (60 mL) Absolut Citron vodka 

1 ounce (30 mL) Cointreau

1 ounce ​(30 mL) lime juice

.5 ounce (15 mL) cranberry juice

Add ice to the shaker tin and vigorously shake, then strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Melissa says, “The color should be a pale ballet pink and cloudy from the fresh lime juice and ice—clean and refreshing like a pink lemonade for grownups.

Toby Cecchini  Cosmopolitan

? ? ? NYC

Cecchini's book says1987, however, in interviews, he says 1988. The girl he says he learned the Cosmopolitan from didn't get hired as a bartender at The Odeon until April of 1989 and Cecchini was promoted to a bartender in the Fall of 1989, so I don't know what year to put.

Chill a conical-shaped cocktail glass, then pour the following into a shaker tin:

1.5 ounces (45 mL) Absolut Citron vodka

.75 ounce (22.5 mL) Cointreau

.75 ounce (22.5 mL) lime juice

.75 ounce (22.5 mL) cranberry juice

Add ice to the shaker tin and shake, then strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. To be authentic, make an old-school lemon twist by cutting the ends off a lemon and then cutting halfway into the lemon lengthwise (not the circumference). Hull out the lemon meat with a spoon, so you are left with the whole rind. Roll up the rind, insert a toothpick (or bar pick) through the roll to secure, then cut slices to make curled lemon twists.

Dale DeGroff  Cosmopolitans ? ? ? NYC 

The documented year is 1994 due to a newspaper article, but it may be a different year based on when the photo of Madonna was taken. Dale DeGroff has had a few Cosmopolitan recipes. Even though the Cosmo is supposed to be pink, Dale's revamped version is red. It surely must have made an impression to the writers for Sex and the City because all 27 times it is seen on the show, the cocktail is red or reddish

 

1994 Newspaper Article Recipe

 

Chill a conical-shaped cocktail glass, then pour the following into a shaker tin:

.5 ounce (15 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice

1.5 ounces (45 mL) Absolut Citron vodka

.5 ounce (15 mL) Cointreau

2 ounces (60 mL) cranberry juice

Mix together in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strained into a chilled martini glass. Flame the orange peel with a match and drop into glass.

 

2002 book, The Craft of the Cocktail Recipe

Chill a conical-shaped cocktail glass, then pour the following into a shaker tin:

1.5 ounces (45 mL) citron vodka

.5 ounce (15 mL) Cointreau

.25 ounce (7.5 mL) fresh lime juice

1 ounce (30 mL) cranberry juice

Add ice to the shaker tin and shake, then strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange zest.

 

2018 De Kuyper Video Recipe

Chill a conical-shaped cocktail glass, then pour the following into a shaker tin:

.25 ounce (7.5 mL) lime juice

1 ounce (30 mL) cranberry juice

.75 ounce (22.5 mL) DeKuyper triple sec

1.5 ounces (30 mL)Grey Goose Le Citron vodka

Add ice to the shaker tin and shake, then strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange zest.

 

 

If anyone ever puts together a side by side taste test comparison, please let me know. I have personally tried and have a favorite.

Also, if you have any information to share or feeI I incorrectly researched then please let me know because it's very important to me to record the most accurate info possible.

The famous Elite Cafe neon sign from 1932. From sfneon.blogspot.com. 

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