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Cosmos ? Enough already !

  • TonyO Dec 11, 2006 12:26 AM
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When will the Cosmopolitan meet it's long overdue retirement ?

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  1. Never been a fan, I don't care for sugary sweet drinks.

    All hail the return of the champagne cocktail!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ergozum

      This reminds me, a couple of days ago, my SO served up a delicious little bit he called the "Spanish Apple" - applejack + cava. We drank the whole bottle of cava this way between the 2 of us . . . as far as I can remember, it was delicious.

    2. A properly made Cosmo is not sugary sweet; it should be a good balance of sweet and tart. The basic formula behind the Cosmopolitan, base liquor plus orange liqueur and lime juice, is behind a great many of the world's most popular cocktails. Take out the cranberry, and you have yourself a Kamikaze. Use tequila instead of vodka and it becomes the Margarita. Switch out the tequila for dark rum and add a dash of almond syrup, and you have the original Mai Tai.

      Now that Sex and the City is in syndication, the Cosmo isn't quite as popular as it was when it was running. It will still be around for a good long time, though.

      1. As with tequila in a Margarita, I think the overwhelmingly main ingredient of a good Cosmopolitan should be the vodka (or gin--yum!). I'm disappointed if the first thing I taste is syrupy triple sec. Cranberry should only be added for slight color. I'm also disappointed when it automatically gets a lime wedge--a lemon twist is much nicer-looking, IMO.

        6 Replies
        1. re: gina

          If you like the idea of a gin Cosmo, try the vintage Pegu Club Cocktail. It's utterly fabulous. Gin, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters, served straight up.

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            That does sound fabulous--I bet it would be really good with the citrusy Blue Coat gin.

            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              Thank you for the Pegu Club. I made one tonight with Plymouth gin and Grand Marnier. My life is better now.

              1. re: kenito799

                If I may suggest, for your next one use Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier (and indeed, that's what I should have suggested to begin with). While they're both orange liqueurs, the neutral spirit base makes for a more bracing cocktail than the slight nuttiness imparted by the cognac base of Grand Marnier. You see, the Pegu was the signature drink of (what else?) the Pegu Club in Rangoon, Burma (now known as Yangon, Myanmar) back in the 1920s, exactly the kind of setting where you want something cold and very crisp to break the intense tropical heat.

                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  Thanks--I would have used Cointreau (it's called for in the recipe I used, http://www.vintagecocktails.com/featu... ), but I only had Grand Marnier in the house. However, it was quite crisp and bracing with the fresh lime juice. I will get some Cointreau for my next try.

                  1. re: kenito799

                    That website is how I found out about the Pegu originally, and I've been spreading the Pegu love ever since.

          2. Yeah, that is better. My wife recently switched from Cosmos to French Martinis (Vodka, Pineapple Juice, and Chambord). Tastes pretty good and has a nice appearance and color.

            1. True, the Cosmo has already moved into Grandma territory, an over-ordered cliche. But as prior posters have noted, it can be a lovely cocktail. I have a sister-in-law who loves them, and mine aren't bad.

              I use fresh lime juice and Marie Brizzard Triple Sec, about the only palatable Triple Sec I've found on the market (it's about $20/bottle, vs. $6-8 for most other brands), which has such a nice orange flavor and restrained sweetness that I'm actually using it instead of Cointreau in my Margaritas these days.

              Credit Cosmos with getting a lot of folks to try shaker drinks who otherwise would never have gotten past highballs. Some drinkers (and bartenders) never graduate from the sugary rookie stuff, but in general, I think the Cosmo has helped more than hurt, raising awareness and curiosity about serious cocktails among drinkers, and improving many bartenders' level of craft.

              1. I hate to alter the OP but what has always irritated me were all of the unfortunate permutations of the classic Martini: Green Apple, Chocolate, Espresso, Watermelon . . .

                4 Replies
                1. re: Chinon00

                  I hear what you're saying, but do try to not be "irritated." No worse than the coconut/peach/strawberry/mango "margarita"... or the margarita made with "margarita mix." Or the concept of "sour mix" instead of good fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Should I continue? I guess everything has its place, but some are better than others.

                  I honestly can't understand the concept of a "vodka martini" at all...

                  1. re: allegro805

                    Yes! The "Vodkatini" is almost the light beer of Martini's. They are nearly flavorless and completely uninteresting when highly chilled IMHO. Some people I think are so enamored with the name and the legend of the Martini that they really want to like it. But instead of engaging the real drink they settle for a gimmick.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      It drives me nuts, It's been hijacked,I tell ya. The sweet young thing's immediately reply to my request for a martini is "what kind of vodka do ya want in that?" Make mine a Plymouth straight-up at about 5 or 6 to 1, with three olives if you please. Thank you, thank you very much!

                    2. re: allegro805

                      I think, though, if you order a coconut/peach/strawberry/mango "Margarita," you have a pretty good idea of what you're getting yourself into. But if you order a regular Margarita, rocks/salt, and get a drink made with Margarita mix (green Margarita = blah), it can be heartbreaking if you're expecting a delicious "natural" Margarita.

                  2. Man I love a GOOD cosmo. Hate a bad one.

                    Bad cosmo: It's red.

                    Good cosmo: vodka, cointreau, lots of freshly squeezed lime juice, splash of cranberry juice. It's pink. Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau works nicely too.

                    For the record, I also love a vodka martini with good vodka, a tiny bit of vermouth, a tiny bit of olive juice, and bleu cheese olives.

                    I don't know, I've never had all that much exposure to Gin. But we keep Bombay Sapphire in the house and make many a Gin martini for our Gin-drinking friends. Maybe I'll try one some time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cherie

                      Here here! I do love my cosmos, but I make them with fresh lime & the pure cranberry juice from wholefoods - it is not sweet at all. Quite bracing actually. I do not like most of the cosmos I get in bars, where I just don't order them anymore, so it's not about the looks!

                      Can say the same for most margaritas - seems even in "good" places they often use a mix and as for those flourescent green ones - eeeuw! Must be very, very picky about where to order them.

                      cheers!

                    2. My new years resolution it to actually try a "real" martini.
                      I'm 37 years old and never had a sip of gin.

                      Chilled vodka and olive brine for me!

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: Jen288

                        As referenced by other posters and myself, Plymouth and Bombay Sapphire are both excellent introductions for the gin neophyte. I.E.; neither of them are aggressive, to the point of being out-of-balance, with the juniper and other botanicals.

                        A good comparison, IMO,would be the Islay single malt scotches. They have a very pronounced smokey (peaty) finish when compared to a good blended scotch. I love Islays but if I'm "introducing" someone it's going to be with a first-rate blend or Highland single-malt. The same rule, in my world, applies to gin.

                        I don't no where to start with poster's comment below about "people just like the glass". Well I do, but I promised to be more temperate in my responses for the New Years.

                        And speaking of New Years; I need to make up a batch of Pegu Clubs for NYE. I've been meaning to try them forever so thanks for the prod "Cosmic Jester".

                        1. re: Harp00n

                          So, any suggestions for a non-neophyte about a more complex, herbaceous gin? I know I could research this on my own, but "just askin'"...

                          1. re: allegro805

                            My personal favorite gin, and one that I often recommend to people is Hendrick's. It has much less juniper bite than many other gins and its primary botanicals are cucumber and rose petal. Quite often you will see cocktail lists recommending a cucumber slice as a garnish; it really takes on a lovely smooth character.

                            More closely related to the post topic, I would have to blame bartenders for perpetuating cosmos. Quite often it is much easier to simply splash a few ingredients in a cocktail shaker than it is to interact with the guest and encourage them to try something far more interesting. When I had a chance to create my own cocktail list, I banished anything that looked like antifreeze or ended with the letters "-tini" in favor of more classic flavors, french 75's, sidecars, ect. We wound up converting a great many cosmo drinkers to more interesting cocktails.

                            1. re: negronilover

                              "I would have to blame bartenders for perpetuating cosmos. Quite often it is much easier to simply splash a few ingredients in a cocktail shaker than it is to interact with the guest and encourage them to try something far more interesting."

                              There is a great bartender at Via Matta in Boston who, whenever someone says, "I'd like a cosmo", he replies, "No you don't; let me make you something better." I'm fairly certain he's converted a few cosmo drinkers as well. :-)

                          2. re: Harp00n

                            The Pegu club is a good intro to a gin cocktail as a warm up for a martini. I made one for a friend who previously said she hated gin. She loved the Pegu, though. She's now tried and liked a few other gin cocktails.

                            Also try a modified "white lady": gin, cointreau, and lemon juice.

                            On the other hand, there is something to be said for jumping in with both feet and starting out with a regular martini. That's what I did many years ago. At first I was like, what the heck is this?! But I grew to appreciate it rapidly.

                            allegro: sniff around the spirits board a bit. I'm pretty sure there is at least one or two gin threads discussing different gins. It was discussed con brio. ;-)

                            1. re: Alcachofa

                              "Alcachofa",Thanks for the the reply to 'allegro".
                              While I'm at it, "negronilover"'s weapon of choice Hendrick's is also a great gin but not all that available when your in the 'burbs or exurbia. Hell, Plymouth isn't for that matter but it's getting better. Speaking of Negroni, that's a damn fine drink, as well. I like it 1/2 & 1/2 on the vermouth.

                              1. re: Harp00n

                                I don't understand those Negroni proportions: if it's half and half on the vermouth and gin, how much Campari do you use?

                                My version is equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. I had one at La Giacosa in Florence, the caffe where the drink was purportedly invented, and that's how they make it there. I love Hendrick's and Plymouth in other drinks, but I think any old gin that's not swill will do in this drink: the Campari tends to clobber the cucumber/rose subtleties of a Hendrick's.

                                More interesting Vermouths are worth trying: Vya sweet vermouth from California is incredible, as is Carpano's Punt e Mes, a very strong-flavored Vermouth from Milan. Carpano is credited with inventing vermouth -- I'm currently trying in vain to find their Antica Formula sweet vermouth, but no one seems to carry it in Greater Boston.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  My usage of The Queen's English was less than precise, "MC". What I meant to convey is that I use: 1 part gin, 1 part Campari, 1/2 part sweet vermouth & 1/2 part dry vermouth, respectively. I agree with you on the "clobber" factor. In this case, however, my comments about a Negroni were not relayed as an endorsement for using Hendrick's in it's making. I simply stated, I thought, that they're both "good". Capiche?

                                  Now more off topic, what are your recommendations & where can I go for a reliable source of orange bitters in the Boston/Metro-West area, please?

                                  1. re: Harp00n

                                    Ah, light dawns on Marblehead. I have never tried the Perfrect Manhattan approach to the Negroni, must give that a whirl some time.

                                    1. re: Harp00n

                                      I'm not sure if you want to purchase your orange bitters in a large enough bulk to justify shipping charges, but in order to get orange bitters here in Kentucky we wind up having to order them straight from the Fee Brothers website www.feebrothers.com . Oddly enough, you can also source Regan's Orange bitters from the Buffalo Trace Distillery website http://www.buffalotrace.com/giftshop.asp By the way, I wouldn't consider it too far off topic, by the way. A dash of orange bitters in a Negroni takes the drink from tasty to ethereal.

                                      1. re: negronilover

                                        Thanks for the terrific links. I actually use a dash in my Negronis & Manhattans, as well. I can't stand Emeril, but bam! The other bitters I'm searching for, again a reliable source, is Peychaud. Any suggestion there?

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          A couple of online retailers who carry Peychaud's:

                                          http://randalls.stores.yahoo.net/rws2...
                                          http://www.wallywine.com/p-20575-peyc...

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                            Not smoozing you "MC", you are the man...err, person. I knew you'd come up with the sources. Although I've been posting here for a relatively short time, I always pause to read your posts on whatever thread we're both participating in.

                                            Your opinions are always well thought out, sly and allow for a divergence of opinion. I just checked your profile and there's over forty people tracking you. I think that makes my points better than I can.

                                            Conversely; some of the bloviating that goes on in these posts just drive me nuts. And please, please, people stop using yum or yummy for the gazillionth time.
                                            Pick another adjective, any other adjective. There's got to be at least two or three that might suffice.

                                            1. re: Harp00n

                                              Gee, thanks, Harp00n! Though I've been known to bloviate myself.

                                      2. re: Harp00n

                                        Hi, regarding local sources for orange bitters, please post a new topic on your home board, so that your neighbors with similar interests can see your question:

                                        http://www.chowhound.com/boards/12

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          Perfect Negroni! I love that idea, I will try it next time. I like my Negronis on the dry side and I find the 1:1:1 gin/vermouth/campari a bit too sweet, so I go about 1.5:1:1 ratio. I also add two dashes Angostura bitters. I love them with Boodles.

                                          I tried a variation I called the Averoni: substitute Averna for the Campari. However, it came out way too sweet, Averna is a lot sweeter than Campari...it was a bit better with 1/2 as much Averna but there was still a definite cola aspect to the drink, so it needs some more work. Perhaps dry vermouth is the answer...I will continue this important work, probably tonight...

                                          1. re: kenito799

                                            Well here we go again: an Averoni? I think my liver's on borrowed time. Sounds like I'll have to try that, as well, when you've perfected it. Please give us some feedback when you do "kenito799".

                              2. People just like the glass - though I don't know why, since things get pretty spilly after having a couple.