The monster who invented the cosmo says “I’m sorry”


Lot’s of inventors come to regret the fruits of their genius. Just look at Albert Einstein’s work on the Manhattan Project and Dr. Frankenstein. You can now add another mad scientist to that list, the guy who invented the fun, girly drink par excellence – the cosmo.

Back in 1988, Toby Cecchini devised a modern spinoff of the classic cocktail at Manhattan’s The Odeon. But the rapid popularity of the drink brought him nothing but resentment and shame from fellow bartenders, according to a new book, “A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World” by Robert Simonson.

Toby Cecchini
Toby Cecchini

“Years and years of bartenders saying: ‘You! You invented the cosmopolitan, you fuck!’ Cecchini recalled, adding that he would just reply ‘I’m sorry, man.’ ”

Cecchini originally crafted the cocktail with Absolut Citron, fresh lime juice, Cointreau, and cranberry juice. But a bastardized version of the drink was featured on “Sex and the City,” and it all went down hill from there, according to the New York Post.

“I became really puzzled as I visited other bars and noticed this small diaspora around downtown New York and seeing people make it wrong and badly,” Cecchini said.

In fact, a similar drink, made of low quality spirits had been around for sometime on the West Coast and Cecchini says that he was trying to create a high-quality version.

“The Cosmopolitan was a kind of drink made of rail vodka, Rose’s lime juice, and Rose’s grenadine that was making the rounds of gay bars in San Francisco in the early ’80s,” Cecchini says. “I simply gave it the same treatment we were giving our Margaritas at the time, with is using fresh lime juice and Cointreau, and I swapped out the grenadine for a little Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, which is what we were using in Cape Codders. And it became the staff drink. I remember being puzzled when the customers began to order one.”

Anyway, Cecchini is out of the closet (he wrote a book about the drink in 2004) and he’s very, very sorry, in a humble brag sort of way. [NYP]