Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

If Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha time traveled to 2019, would they still be slinging back cranberry ‘tinis?

There would be far too much modern convo over sugar-blamed breakouts and hormone imbalances and swearing off carbs to throw back cosmos like it’s 1999.

If they haven’t eschewed vodka altogether by now, the only resemblance of a too-cliché Cosmo in their more sophisticated drinking and self-care world would perhaps be a “gluten-free” vodka topped with cranberry kombucha as an aprés-yoga drink.

Drinking less but drinking better, their characters would more likely be hip to afternoon low-ABV Aperol spritzes and stick to the stirred and boozy classics like their mainstay Manhattans.

The circa ’90s Cosmo (Listen up, millennials!)
The Cosmopolitan cocktail famously served around Manhattan in the ’90s—there was bar legend Dale Degroff shaking them at the Rainbow Room, Madonna was seen drinking one and then came Sex and the City when it was immortalized—was made with citrus-flavored vodka (such as Absolut Citron), triple sec, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice.

Looking back, when the Cosmo was made fresh, it wasn’t exactly a sugar bomb. The rest of us in Middle America, however, experienced cheapened, dumbed-down versions of the Cosmo, commonly made with cranberry from concentrate and cloying Rose’s lime cordial sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Yuck.

“Why did we ever stop drinking these?” – Miranda

“Cause everyone else started.” – Carrie

Either way, it was served splashing out of an oversized martini glass leftover from the ’80s and the dawn of fruit’tinis, now seen as a tragic era in the history of cocktails.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t be caught dead ordering a Cosmo in a craft cocktail bar, as no cocktail enthusiast would, unless it was on the menu and then, well, I would be totally intrigued.

Cocktail snobbery and cough syrup versions aside, Cosmos made properly with fresh lime juice tasted kinda good though, right?

I know from hosting experiences that if given a choice, women will always pick the red-hued, bold-colored drink—and Cosmos feel so nostalgic ’90s.

We didn’t have Netflix or smart phones in the ’90s and cranberry “martinis” made us pretty happy. If shoulder pads and a vintage Fendi baguette can feel chic again, so too can the Cosmo!

If shoulder pads and a Fendi baguette can feel chic again, so too can the Cosmo!

The making of a modern Cosmo
For Milk Punch Media events, I set out to embrace the Cosmo, keep it clean, be mindful of quality ingredients and make the case for its health benefits. With antioxidants in mind, both the batch Cosmos and—wait for it—Cosmo Gelatin Shots join the healthier self-care cocktails in the Beauty + Booze Cocktail Collection.

Those artificially-flavored Jell-o shots consumed in college and beyond may have contributed to splitting headaches, but like dietary collagen powder, gelatin is a source of animal protein we’ve long known is good for hair, skin and nails. It makes sense then to incorporate all-natural, less-sugar gelatin shots into the Beauty + Booze Collection and turn cleaned-up Cosmos into a gelatin shot.

Somebody call Candace Bushnell!

Now, making so-’90s Cosmos and not-so-trashy shots with fresh, pretty garnishes promising skin-glowing effects is my favorite party trick! 

Flavored vodka
Experiment! The base spirit in our batch Cosmo is Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose Vodka. All natural, it adds subtle floral and citrus flavor to an otherwise neutral spirit. Carrie Bradshaw would be obsessed! Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka would also work and be amazing.

Cranberry juice
Buy juice, not “cranberry cocktail” that’s loaded with added sugar. Look for 100 percent cranberry juice or pomegranate juice, which contain Vitamin C and high levels of antioxidants. For a super-skinny Cosmo, try bai Antioxidant Infusion Ipanema Pomegranate.

Triple sec
Don’t skimp here either: reach for the Grand Marnier, a Cognac-based orange liqueur. Cognac makes everything better!

Lime juice
Don’t even think of buying lime juice in a bottle! With a hand squeezer, squeeze fresh lime juice. Well worth the small effort.

No flamed orange peel here (sorry, Dale Degroff). At Milk Punch Media, we garnish Cosmos with blueberries and blackberries, superfoods chosen for a little nutritional nibble. So eat ’em!