This gorgeous white Cosmopolitan is perfect for winter! Although it looks very different from the beloved pink (or red) vodka and cranberry cocktail, this spin on the classic tastes remarkably similar.
The secret? White cranberry juice! White cranberry juice is made with yes, white cranberries. Fully ripe cranberries can be white, pink, or red. And it is the red skin of the fruit that gives cranberry juice its characteristic red color. The actual juice inside the fruit is clear. Mind blowing, I know.
What is white cranberry juice?
White cranberry juice cocktail is the easiest type to find, and it’s what I’ve used here. Rather than being a pure, unsweetened juice, it’s a mix of white cranberry juice, other fruit juices (like white grape, for sweetness), as well as sugar and water.
Cranberry juice cocktail vs. pure cranberry juice
If you’ve ever had pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, you’ll know that it’s not something you can easily drink straight. It needs some dilution and sweetness to make it palatable. It does have intense cranberry flavor though, and can be a great way to improve a classic Cosmopolitan!
Cranberry juice cocktail is a juice blend that lets you enjoy the flavor by making it a bit more mild. The same is true with white cranberry juice cocktail, and it has an even more mild flavor.
In addition to the characteristic sweet and sour cranberry flavor, it’s crystal clear color makes it a really fun cocktail and mocktail ingredient. During my last pregnancy, I made a ton of mocktails with white cranberry juice. It’s gentle flavor and sweetness make it an excellent mixer for anyone with a sensitive stomach.
Want to try an easy white cranberry mocktail? Add a splash of the juice to premium ginger ale or ginger beer and squeeze a lime or lemon wedge over the drink. Serve it in a tall glass with plenty of ice and enjoy the refreshing burst of winter flavors.
About the Cosmopolitan cocktail
The Cosmopolitan is a vodka cocktail that rose to popularity in the 1980s. Its origin is debated, like most classic cocktails. Some say that the drink appeared in the 1930s, but that early Cosmopolitan recipe was made with gin and raspberry syrup.
In the late 1980s, a bartender named Cheryl Cook likely created the modern Cosmopolitan recipe that we’re familiar with today. Cook’s recipe included Absolut Citron (citrus flavored vodka), triple sec, Rose’s Lime Juice, and “just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink.”
Because of some less-than-balanced versions of the cocktail served in bars during the ’80s and ’90s, it’s often seen as a watered-down cocktail containing too much cranberry juice.
However, Cosmopolitans can easily be made with just the right amount of sweet and sour, and this one is crisp and not too sweet, with a bold fruity flavor that seems to defy its colorless appearance. It’s really fun to sip, and so easy to make.
Cosmopolitans are known for their pink or reddish hue, but a white Cosmo has a totally different, and somehow much sexier vibe. This recipe uses the only white cranberry juice I’ve been able to find, a juice blend from Ocean Spray.
It’s a fairly sweet cranberry juice, so I’ve kept the Cointreau to a half ounce and fortified the drink with a full two ounce pour of vodka. You can use a citrus flavored vodka like Absolut Citron, or any regular vodka as well. If you’re a gin fan, feel free to substitute with a crisp London dry, I won’t judge. Garnish with red roses and you have a quintessential Valentine’s Day cocktail!
If you enjoy Cosmos, try my cachaca-based Cosmopolita!
Try a shimmering Cosmo with white cranberry and ginger
I recently had the pleasure of creating a cocktail recipe for MeUndies to celebrate the launch of their new pattern, Cosmic Cocktail. I made a delicious (and fun!) white Cosmopolitan variation with a hint of ginger and some edible silver glitter. The garnish is a cranberry and lime peel planet inspired by the garnish used for the Saturn classic tiki cocktail. Get the full recipe at the bottom of this post, glitter and fancy garnish optional.
You may also enjoy these other vodka cocktails:
- Whipped Pink Lemonade
- Spa Day (Vodka Cocktail with Lemon & Mint)
- Classic Martini
- Winter Sea Breeze
- White Russian
White Winter Cosmopolitan Cocktail
- 2 oz vodka
- 1 oz white cranberry juice I used Ocean Spray
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz Cointreau (or other triple sec liqueur)
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, about 12 seconds.
- Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge (or a rose for Valentine's Day).
Cosmic Cosmo (White Cranberry & Ginger) RecipeIngredients:
- 2 oz vodka
- 1 oz white cranberry juice
- 3/4 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)
- 1/2 oz ginger syrup
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- Pinch of edible glitter (optional)
This post was first published February 6, 2020 and last updated on January 28, 2022.