Culture: The Cosmopolitan (Finally) Gets a Makeover in ‘And Just Like That’
Amidst the fanfare surrounding the highly anticipated arrival of Samantha Jones in season two of And Just Like That, fans likely couldn’t help but notice the absence of another main character. Yes, we’re talking about the Cosmopolitan. The cocktail became synonymous with the original Sex and the City series during its heyday of the early 2000s. The drink was like a fifth bestie to the quartet of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte—and has finally made its big return. With a bit of a makeover.
The Cosmopolitan cocktail—colloquially known as the Cosmo—was largely missing during AJTL’s first season. It appeared in just one scene: Viewers watched as Carrie and Seema, Carrie’s realtor-turned-gal-pal, sipped on the drink together, a subtle signal that Seema’s friendship was equal to that of Carrie’s already-established girlfriends.
But beyond the one scene, it appeared the ladies had all but kissed the Cosmo goodbye. During the 2008 SATC movie, they even made light of how they’d stopped drinking them, “because everyone else started.” Wine, martinis and even an errant Moscow Mule or two seemed the foursome’s new drinks of choice.
“[The Cosmo] was a sort of mascot,” says Nicole Salicetti, a New York City-based cocktail specialist who worked during SATC’s golden age at Union Square’s The Coffee Shop, a common shooting location for the original series. “It was super popular,” says Salicetti, “and ordered by absolutely everyone.”
However, in AJLT’s second season, the Cosmo got its main character energy back. It appeared in a whopping four scenes: It again co-signed Carrie’s relationship with Seema—on two separate occasions, no less. It was also used to underscore two poignant farewell scenes, the first Carrie’s farewell to her beloved apartment and the second to toast Stanford Blatch, a fan favorite from SATC with whom Carrie had famously shared a Cosmo (or 12).
Eagle-eyed fans of the show, however, perhaps couldn’t help but notice that the Cosmos most recently featured looked a little… different from those that appeared earlier. In fact, every Cosmopolitan in the original series was ruby-colored and transparent. In AJLT, they appeared pale pink and opaque. So, why the makeover?
“In most New York City establishments 20 to 25 years ago, Cosmos were made with Rose’s Lime,” explains beverage consultant Pamela Wiznitzer. Bartenders also frequently utilized grenadine to create the drink’s ruby hue. It was often a drink that prioritized style over substance. “The show was merely showcasing what people were actually drinking then,” she says.
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“[The original Cosmopolitan] looked pretty but tasted awful: jarring and artificially sweet and just wrong,” wrote New York City bar owner Toby Cecchini in his 2001 book Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life.
Fortunately, drink standards have improved since the 1990s. Cecchini and the well-known bartender Dale DeGroff are both credited with improving the Cosmopolitan in the intervening decades. They added fresh lime, Cointreau and a splash of cranberry for a more balanced flavor profile and modern, demure look. The Cosmo’s new look in AJLT is seemingly a reflection of this evolution.
We wonder if actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie Bradshaw, had a role in changing the look of her iconic character’s signature cocktail. In a recent episode of the iHeart Radio Table for Two podcast, Parker admitted that for years she couldn’t understand what all the Cosmopolitan fuss was about—until she tasted an updated version after the original series wrapped. (For what it’s worth, she also confessed that the prop Cosmos used in SATC were merely glasses of watered-down cranberry juice.)
Prop or otherwise, in this season of AJLT, the Cosmopolitan finally got the attention—and the makeover—it deserves. “It’s fun to remember how far cocktail culture has come in the past few decades,” says Wiznitzer. “I’m glad that the upgrade reflects how they are made now, complete with the proper orange twist.”
Last Updated: August 25, 2023