[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Sidecar, Whiskey Sour, Margarita, Daiquiri. These drinks have something fundamental in common: they're all sours. Sours are fundamental cocktails. Take a base spirit, add citrus, and polish it off with a sweetener, usually (but not always) triple sec. Tweak the balance as you will, but sours made well are always delicious.

Sidecar: brandy, lemon juice, triple sec. Whiskey sour: Bourbon, lemon, triple. Margarita: tequila, lime, triple. Daiquiri: rum, lime, simple syrup.

Let's try a different base spirit: citrus vodka. To finish out the Sour Experience, add the requisite triple sec and citrus, in this case, lime. For variety, add another fruit flavor: cranberry, why not?

The Cosmopolitan is a cultural touchstone because once upon a time, Dale DeGroff got one into the hands of Madonna at the Rainbow Room and it became the drink to be seen with. Then HBO and SJP, of course, made the drink ubiquitous and clich├ęd.

Nevertheless, sours are fundamental cocktails, and the Cosmopolitan is, simply stated, the best Vodka Sour around.


About This Recipe

Yield:1 cocktail
Active time:4 minutes
Total time:4 minutes
Special equipment:Cocktail shaker and strainer


  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces citrus-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (Cointreau, preferably)
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice (fresh, fresh, fresh; no Rose's)
  • Orange twist, for garnish


  1. 1

    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and lime, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

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