How Ina Garten Makes Her Iconic Cosmopolitan Cocktail For A Crowd

If you are a fan of Ina Garten or the internet, you have probably seen the enormous cosmopolitan she made. She served the pretty in pink classic cocktail in a comically large martini glass and joked about it being the perfect size for one. Of course, Garten would not make something just for show — her Cosmopolitan recipe is also the perfect recipe to batch make for entertaining.

All you need is a big pitcher or punch bowl and four simple ingredients. First, she stirs together four parts "good vodka," two parts orange liqueur, two parts cranberry juice cocktail, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice. The brands that are Ina Garten-approved for this drink are Grey Goose, Cointreau, and Ocean Spray. Then, she shakes the mixture in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice for 30 seconds until very cold and well combined. Keep the presentation classic with a martini glass and an orange twist.

You can make this drink in the morning for an evening cocktail party — but don't make it too far ahead of time. The flavor of fresh lime juice tends to degrade significantly within about 24 hours. Without it, you can batch a Cosmo earlier, and just incorporate the lime juice a bit before serving. Don't be tempted to go for the bottled stuff, though! Freshly squeezed is key for this cocktail.

How does Ina Garten's Cosmopolitan compare to the original?

Like many cocktails, there are not universally accepted proportions, and the measurements often come down to preferences. However, the combination of vodka, orange liqueur, sweetened cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice is standard these days. Ina Garten's recipe is heavier on the cranberry juice and the orange liqueur than some other versions, so expect her take to be fruitier than others. Of course, you can definitely use her recipe as a starting point, and make adjustments to your own tastes from there. 

The earlier iterations of the cocktail — whose invention is credited to both Cheryl Cook and Neal Murray — relied on Rose's lime syrup instead of fresh lime juice. One inventor of the Cosmopolitan has a problem with Ina Garten's iconic version actually. As the drink grew increasingly popular in clubs and bars in the 1970s and 1980s, it was eventually upgraded to use more premium spirits and fresh juice. Bartenders Melissa Huffsmith, Toby Cecchini, and Dale DeGroff all say they were the first to make the Cosmopolitan how it is known today.

Riff on it!

If vodka is not your liquor of choice, feel free to substitute it with gin or white rum for a different flavor profile. You can also experiment by switching up the brand of orange liqueur that you use. They don't taste exclusively of orange, but also feature botanical, floral, spice, and herbal notes that can bring delicious complexity to your perfect Cosmo. Incorporate small amounts of other flavored liqueurs or simple syrups to add some intrigue.

Subbing out the cranberry for another juice is a super easy way to switch up the taste. Go for cranberry blended with something like raspberry, pomegranate, or grape to keep the pretty red hue, or switch the juice entirely. Ina Garten's watermelon Cosmo is the drink of the summer, and it uses fresh watermelon puree. Try mango, pineapple, grapefruit, passion fruit, or orange juice instead, or consider swapping lemon juice for the traditional lime to shake things up. You can even turn your Cosmopolitan into a spritz by topping it with sparkling wine or bubbly water.