The inventor of The Cosmopolitan has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to making cocktails at home.
Midwest-native Toby Cecchini came up with the now-world famous libation when working in bars in New York in the 1980s, and was more surprised than anyone when it took off.
Some decades later, the drinks expert agrees that it’s still the perfect cocktail recipe to whip up for guests at home this holiday season. Particularly when you put a festive spin on it.
How to mix like a pro: Mixologist Toby Cecchini, creator of The Cosmopolitan, shared his tips and tricks for whipping up cocktails at home
Spirits: When it comes to having the essential cocktail ingredients on standby, Toby recommends having base spirits like vodka, bourbon, scotch, rye, cognac, gin and tequila
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Toby said: ‘The recipe for The Cosmopolitan is easy to remember. It is a simple sour with four punchy ingredients.
How to make a Ginger Cosmopolitan
The 1.5 oz vodka
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz lime
.5 oz ginger syrup*
.5 oz hibiscus infusion**
Shake all ingredients together over ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
*For ginger syrup: Using an extraction juicer, juice ginger fresh.
Add 2 parts sugar to each 1 part fresh ginger juice, by volume, and mix very well, until sugar is dissolved.
**For hibiscus infusion: To 100 grams of dried hibiscus flowers, add 1 liter of boiling water and steep for 30 minutes.
Strain and keep flowers for garnish.
‘Always remember the ratio 2:1:1:1. Two parts citrus vodka, one part each Cointreau, fresh lime juice and cranberry juice – the thing that gives the drink its famous pink color.’
Having made the drink likely thousands of times by now, he has the method down pat.
Toby instructed: ‘Pack your martini glass with ice cubes to chill it.
‘Pour the fresh lime juice, cranberry juice, citrus vodka and Cointreau into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
‘Shake vigorously until outside of the shaker is so cold your hands sting, or about 20 seconds.’
‘Remove the ice from the martini glass. Strain cocktail through a strainer into the martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.’
For the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, Toby envisioned a new festive take on the all-time favorite.
‘I love to create a fresh, sometimes seasonal spin on a classic cocktail. For example, I recently created The Ginger Cosmopolitan, which uses a made-from-scratch ginger syrup and hibiscus infusion, which will be sure to impress guests.’
Famous: Sex and the City’s characters Enid, Carrie and Charlotte helped to popularize Toby’s pink-hued cocktail around the world
When it comes to mixing cocktails at home on the regular, Toby said it’s wise to start building a kit to cover all bases.
Here’s what to have on hand:
Freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice – as well as their peels for aromatic garnishes, sprigs of fresh herbs and berries are all staples for holiday cocktail making.
This is a basic hourglass-shaped measuring device that helps you to ensure measurements and ratios are consistent.
For its versatility to be paired with many spirits, it’s a staple in more than 350 classic cocktail recipes.
An array of good base spirits
Staple spirits like vodka, bourbon, scotch, rye, cognac, gin and tequila are the base of most cocktails.
Tonic, bitters, simple syrup, cranberry juice.
A must for drinks that are stirred rather than shaken.
Essential for perfectly chilled cocktails.
Cocktails can be beautifully served in glassware for presentation.
Toby adds that when it comes to knowing which cocktail goes in what type of glass, there are a few easy tips to keep in mind, especially when entertaining guests at home.
‘You always want to consider the volume of the cocktail, for example, you don’t want to serve alcohol neat in a Collins glass as it wouldn’t look proportionate.
‘Rocks glasses work well for cocktails that are served with ice, whereas taller glassware like the Collins is usually used for shaken highball type cocktails that are topped off with a soda or champagne.
‘A martini glass is best for shaken or stirred cocktails that are strained into a glass with no ice, like The Cosmopolitan.’
Glassware: A classic martini glass, left, is a solid investment if you like to mix drinks at home, however Toby said it is more important to invest in good alcohol than good glassware
If you are investing in just one glass type, rocks glasses are a good starting point.
‘You can use them for whiskey or bourbon neat or can serve more classic cocktails like The Original Margarita, a Mai Tai or even the Sidecar,’ Toby explained.
But where you should invest is in quality booze.
‘Spend a bit more on the alcohol that you like,’ Toby agreed.
‘Otherwise, ask for help at a trusted liquor store. In most cases you likely won’t need to splurge on a base spirit if you spend more on an orange liqueur, such as Cointreau.
‘In cases where you do spend a lot on a base spirit you don’t want to ruin that spirit with a cheap mixer.
His clever tip is to use ingredients in order of their price, just in case you make a mistake.
‘When making cocktails, use ingredients in order of their price and pour the cheapest ingredient in first.
‘That way, if you mess it up early on, you can throw it out and start again without feeling like you wasted too much.’
But to ensure that you will like your tipple of choice, only mix flavors that you enjoy.
‘If you like bitter, add tonic. For sour, add fresh lime juice. For sharpness, add grapefruit. For overall balance, Cointreau is essential.
‘Mixing up cocktails isn’t an exact science, sometimes it takes years to perfect one, and other times it’s a matter of minutes.’
If all else fails, follow the old adage and keep it simple.
‘The whole family of sours consist of favorites that are simple to make, almost all of them using merely three ingredients.
‘This includes The Margarita, the Sidecar, the daiquiri, The Cosmopolitan, whiskey sours and loads of others.
‘You might think they all lack the panache of newer head turners, but when correctly made with premium ingredients and attention to detail, all of these are insuperable drinks.’