The Cocktail College Podcast: The (Re)Cosmo

“Cocktail College” is brought to you by Ketel One Vodka. Certain brands out there, certain vodka brands, want you to believe that these spirits should be flavorless and odorless. And they achieve this profile through multiple runs of distillation in column stills. They actually celebrate this thing; they market it. But you’re a discerning drinker, “Cocktail College” listener, aren’t you? And you know that vodka should have character, subtle character, and that arrives from the base ingredient and the production technique. In the case of Ketel One, we’re talking about a wheat base, made using a blend or a mix of pot and column still distillation. And what you get there is character, but subtle character, so that it’s going to enhance but never overpower your favorite vodka cocktails, your Matinis, your Cosmos. Ketel One stands so firmly behind this production technique that on every single bottle there’s an invitation for you, the drinker, to visit them at their Netherlands distillery. And hey, why wouldn’t they? They’ve only got 330 years of family distilling experience right there. So it’s understandable that they back themselves, and you should back them too, listener. You should pick up a bottle and head to to learn more.

It’s interesting how quickly things change in the cocktail space, especially when considering what’s hot and what’s not. Almost two years ago, we were in the midst of what some called the “Cosmopolissance.” With the pandemic mainly in the rearview, national trends turned to a yearning for nostalgia, which itself felt tied to the return of all things ’90s. In the middle of this Venn diagram of flip phones, baggy jeans, and colorful drinks stood the Cosmopolitan — at least for a fleeting moment.

Another of the earliest modern classics — the Espresso Martini — claimed the crown of the hottest drink in town. You could argue that maybe this was a good thing for the Cosmo. Perhaps this time it wouldn’t stick around for so long that every bartender and drinker would become sick of it. There’s a certain nostalgia to that. Maybe the opposite outcome awaits the Espresso Martini lurking somewhere in the future. But the future, and the recent past, are not the focus of today’s episode. The themes today remain just as relevant as they were back then and almost certainly will be tomorrow.

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On this episode of “Cocktail College,” we’re taking a trip in the time machine as we revisit our 2022 conversation with Toby Cecchini, co-owner of Long Island Bar and The Rockwell Place, and inventor of the Cosmopolitan. Tune in for more.

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Toby Cecchini’s Cosmopolitan Recipe


  • 1 ½ ounces Absolut Citron
  • ¾ ounce Cointreau
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¾ ounce Ocean Spray Cranberry
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until cold and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with lemon twist.

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Tim McKirdy