The Exposure of Cranberry Cocktails in Pop Culture
Today we are going to talk about two cocktails that are not so different from each other. One is the Cranberry Martini aka Crantini and the other is the slightly more complex Cosmopolitan aka Cosmo.
When I think about cranberry juice, I remember that line from the Departed. Where Leonardo Decaprio’s character orders a cranberry juice at the bar and then the other character goes, “that’s what my girlfriend drinks when she’s on her period, are you on your period?” Then Leo kicks his ass.
Needless to say, with the prominence in the Sex and the City and the one line from the Departed, which is my favourite movie, cranberry juice in general has a certain femininity to it. I now have this preconception that cocktail with cranberry juice in it are for women. Which although might be socially agreed upon is not politically correct. I should be able to order any cocktail without having to feel self-conscious.
The first drink I ever ordered, officially, by myself, without getting ID, was a gin and juice (cranberry juice). It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I like cranberry juice. There is certain dry taste to the drink that other juice doesn’t have. It makes me feel more mature when I’m drinking cranberry juice as opposed to orange or apple or grape.
How is the Cranberry Martini Different from the Classic Martini?
A traditional martini consists of gin or vodka and some dry vermouth with an olive to garnish — a bit of olive juice too if you want to make it dirty.
The thing about a cranberry martini is that it is mostly always made with vodka and doesn’t contain any dry vermouth at all.
The cranberry juice kind of takes over the dryness of the vermouth, but as a cocktail, it’s not really a substitute, it makes it a completely different drink. You can almost say that a Crantini isn’t a Martini at all. While it may have some boozy quality that you may love in a Martini, a Crantini in my opinion should be classified as a simplified version of the Cosmopolitan.
So my question is, does the simplification make the drink that much worst? If you don’t have the triple sec or the lime juice, can you have the same level of enjoyment with a Crantini? Or should a simplified cocktail have its own identity?
The Cosmopolitan and the 90s
The Cosmopolitan is one of those artifacts that brings you right back to the 90s. It’s funny thinking of the 90s as a long time ago, but in a way it is. It’s retro the way disco is now retro. I wasn’t of age in the 90s or the early 2000s, so I wasn’t a part of the Cosmo buzz, and even if I was around back then, I don’t think I would order the Cosmopolitan at a bar. Unless of course I end up at the Odeon in Tribeca, New York, where the origin of the Cosmopolitan began.
It’s tricky ordering drinks at a bar sometimes, because you don’t know what glassware it’s going to come in. Up until recently, anytime I ordered a cocktail and the drink comes in a coupe glass, I would feel a little embarrassed — as If I was drinking a girly drink.
I’m not a big fan of coupe glasses as their little stem makes it more prone to being broken. Coupe glasses were originally designed for champagne in the 17th century, but later became a fixture for cocktails. I guess what makes me uncomfortable with it is that it looks like a boob. When you are holding it, you are cupping a boob. It’s been said to have been inspired by Marie Antoinette's left breast, so there you have it.
Anyways, making a Cosmo really does test my sexuality, which to be honest is healthy to do every once in awhile. Do something feminine and indulge in it. Take a bubble bath or go shopping with a group of friends, boys, it’s good to acknowledge that side of us.
How to Make a Cosmopolitan
Ingredients for Cosmopolitan
1.5 oz vodka
0.25 oz lime juice
0.25 oz triple sec
0.25 oz cranberry juice
Pour vodka, lime juice, triple sec, and cranberry juice into shaker, add ice, shake. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
How to Make a Crantini
Ingredients for Crantini
3.5 oz vodka
0.5 oz cranberry juice
Pour vodka and cranberry juice into shaker, add ice, and shake. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
It’s hard to say that a simplified drink can ever resemble its more complex version. A slight adjustment in ingredient and proportion is enough to throw the flavour off of any cocktail, therefore, it’s fair to say that any drink with a different recipe should have a different name. A Crantini can certainly exist off of a branch of the Cosmopolitan and represent itself as a distant cousin, but it cannot replace a Cosmo in the sense of flavour — appearance maybe, but not flavour.
A Crantini does have that Martini tone to it. It is bolder, boozier. Whereas, the Cosmopolitan — in my experience — is a sweeter beverage, more suited for lunch date, as opposed to being the after dinner drink for a Thanksgiving or a Christmas dinner that a Crantini is more suited for. One of these drinks may be considered a simplified version, but it is by no means the substitute when you don’t have the ingredients. Yes, you can make due, but the structure of the drink will be completely altered.
Give it a try at home: make yourself a Crantini and then make yourself a Cosmopolitan and see which one you like more. Let me know what you think in the comments!