Cosmopolitans and Roasted Nuts with Rosemary

Roasted Nuts with Rosemary

I’ve been terribly remiss in a lot of things. I have piles of paperwork stacked around me so high that the mess of papers are tumbling into the others. (Who knows what kind of catastrophe is waiting for me when I accidentally mash-up a recipe, and my French electrical bill?) There are reams of e-mails that I’ve starred so much that my Inbox looks like a planetarium. And I just got back from a trip I and returned to find my apartment a frosty 15º (59ºF) since the heat seems to have stopped working.

And since I’m on a roll here, I spent 3 hours last night trying to figure out how to put a group of pictures into a folder in the new photography program I got to help me organize my photos (which, like my office, aren’t very well-organized), which shouldn’t be that hard. Does anyone else wonder why we spend so much time wrestling with technology, when it’s supposed to make everything easier?

Another thing I’ve been remiss about is getting back to a number of recipes that went away when I changed blogging platforms back in 2006, losing them all to cyberspace. However they apparently continue to exist on search engines because I get messages at regular intervals from random folks wondering where those recipes went.


One recipe that went away, but came back to me as a flash from the past today is Cosmopolitans, which I had posted about way back in 2001. They were a signature cocktail during the Sex in the City era, but along with vodka, they have fallen out of favor as cocktail fans moved on to more sophisticated libations. However I was in the supermarket recently and saw a bottle of cranberry juice that wasn’t 8 bucks like it used to be in Paris – like it was ten years ago – but was reasonably priced. So I impulsively bought it.

I had some vodka on hand that I’ve been ignoring, like those long-lost recipes that I keep saying I’m going to get caught up on. (And paying my electrical bill, which may or may not have something to do with my heating situation.) But since all the forces seemed to be coming together for this one – fresh limes in my refrigerator, cranberry juice, a bottle of vodka, and the obvious need for a cocktail – it was clear what I needed to do.


Two cocktails

Some will undoubtably argue that you should use Grand Marnier or Cointreau, but the slight sweetness of Triple Sec pairs perfectly with the tart lime and cranberry juice, so I use that. (For those who want to delve deeper into it, technically Cointreau is a triple sec, but the company doesn’t refer to their orange liqueur as that.) If you do choose to use Cointreau or Grand Marnier, you might want to add a sprinkle of sugar to offset the tartness of the lime juice and the slightly more bitter orange liqueur.

  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Triple Sec
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice, or to taste
  • 2 wide strips orange zest

1. Chill two cocktail or martini glasses in the freezer.

2. Halfway fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the above ingredients and shake vigorously.

3. Strain into the icy cold cocktail glasses and garnish each with a strip of orange zest.

When serving cocktails, it’s obligatory to serve something to nibble on. These Roasted Nuts with Rosemary, from The Union Square Cafe in New York City, are quick to make and fit the bill nicely.

Roast 3 cups (about 400g) of mixed raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts all work well) in a preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking, until golden brown. Transfer the hot nuts to a bowl, and toss in 3 tablespoons very coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt.


  • I love the combination of pecans and rosemary.

  • Out of fashion or not the cosmopolitan is still one of my favorite cocktails. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Wow I don’t know which looks tastier, the cosmo’s or the nuts?? Guess I’ll just have to try both!:)

  • Well, for what it’s worth, I used to be the most organized person in the world. I worked six days a week, ran four days a week, cleaned the house and managed the lives of my husband, teenage daughter and even the dog! Then I got fired and had the opportunity to write full time, something I always wanted to do. Since then, I have completely fallen apart. I forget things, neglect others and my to-do stack is always overflowing. Now that I have time, the time I have is never enough. Here is my theory. Those of us who tend to be right-brained sometimes get lost in that creative cavern and might not be seen or heard from for days; this is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! ;) Thanks for the post; wonderful as always! Laura

  • The roasted nuts sound super easy to make…what a good alternative to Pringles, Twinuts, or those peanut butter-flavored “cheetos” that seem to be Parisian apéro staples!

    I haven’t had a cosmopolitan in years, maybe it’s time to resurrect my college days :)

  • I think I have seen those nuts on an episode of “Best Thing I Ever Ate”. Rosemary is the perfect herb to add around this time of year!

  • I get reminded by you about recipes and books a lot (like the Alice Waters vegetables), and now these rosemary nuts, which I have marked somewhere, I just need to find it again now! I wonder what I can sub for the cranberry juice, since it’s not popular at all here, and I don’t think it will be, ever (I could hear you gasp btw). And I’ve adding sentences to a post, sort of a parody about a food bloggers day, because it’s getting totally out of control. Technology is a good thing, but it’s gone on for far too long, ja!

  • These look delicious and the recipe ingredients are easily at hand!

    * Need a personal assistant? This person can help keep your files organized and easily accessible, so you don’t get lost in the minutia. And, distracted when the creative processes are flowing!

  • I really love the roasted nuts and usually make them to have out for nibbles at the holidays. In style or out Cosmos are one of my favorite drinks.

  • Somewhat similar to a drink called Tequila sunrise — tequila, orange juice and grenadine syrup. The grenadine syrup sinks to the bottom of the glass making it look like a sunrise :)

  • oh yum, sometimes the more things change, the nicer it is to enjoy the same OLD things. especially on a sunday, which it still is, in l.a. and i couldn’t agree more about technology’s dubiously “timesaving attributes”.

    hope you get some heat soon!

  • For a winter holiday party we had white cosmopolitans, using white cranberry juice. Looked very seasonal with some skewered fresh cranberries for garnish and didn’t stain the rug if someone spilled!

    • Good idea! I had someone spill a cocktail on a light-colored rug once, which I laughed off during the party since I didn’t want them to feel bad about it – and, of course, those things happen. (But later spent a few days scrubbing out, to no avail…)

  • Now, this caught my eye and drew me right in (perhaps an indication of the kind of week it’s been). I agree, a cosmopolitan with some beautifully seasoned nuts is a perfect combination. Love the photographs! And by the way, I also use Triple Sec in my cosmos.

  • What is “white” cranberry juice? Made from peeled cranberries??

    • I guess it’s w/o skins. It’s really yummy not quite as tart as red cranberry juice. I vote for Grey Goose vodka and soda with touch of cranberry juice… Ahhh.

  • that recipe for the nuts sure has made the rounds! they are awesome, that’s for sure. the cosmos are good too, drink a couple for me!

  • Thank you David
    A nice reminder .. starting to ponder what to make for many grown nieces nephews
    co-horts for the holidays…

  • Maggie Beer who is a cook here in Australia has a recipe for Macadamia nuts with rosemary, she sautés raw macadamias and fresh rosemary in macadamia oil and serves them hot, it’s delicious – great before dinner.

  • oh and Salt – with the macadamias

  • I have never had a cosmopolitan, but you’ve encouraged me to try one. I have triple sec in the house to make the essential English summer drink, Pimms (very hard to find in France), and I usually have cranberry juice. So there’s nothing to stop me. The nuts look wonderful too.

  • Hey david am a growing fan of your the way does kosher salt taste different ?

  • Concerning your carpet with the spill – my husband had on his new leather shoes and insisted on “helping” me deep-fat fry some food and of course got splatters on the shoes. So I later dipped a finger in the fat and “painted” all the surfaces of his shoes – presto – no spots!

  • I’ve been making Union Square Café’s roasted nuts for years and love them! What I’ve never made is a Cosmopolitan, and this one sounds perfect for guests at this year’s Thanksgiving!

  • I am definitely going to make the pecans with Rosemary. They sound luscious. I have a huge rosemary bush in my front yard so I am always looking for new ways to use it. I’ll make up a big bowl of them for my writers’ group next week.

    As for people moving on to more sophisticated cocktails, it seems to me that today’s cocktails are becoming more like candy than a cocktail. I’m not sure that sophisticated is the right word. Some are yummy, but most are just too sweet. Then, again, I’m more of a vodka martini extra dry with two olives kinda gal.

  • What about people who use the left part of the brain.
    Pomegranate instead of cranberry.
    Kosher salt is not free running, coarse and maybe saltier.

  • I saw you yesterday…not physically, but on TV. I was watching the The Getaway on the new Esquire channel. It was the Paris episode, and I said to myself, oh the best guide would be David and then Pouf…you appeared. I must admit, that hearing your voice was kind of weird. When I read your blog, I hear it in my imagery David voice (oh…no one does that..just me..oh well) your actual voice had nothing to do with it! My brain was telling me…this is not David!

  • Have you tried The Wayback Machine? A friend was able to access a recipe on one of her earliest blogs.

    • Yes, the Wayback Machine is fun and kinda great (here’s a flashback to my site/blog — in 2000!) But it doesn’t retrieve everything and I’m okay with tackling some of the recipes that went away again, and giving them a fresh look. But thanks for the tip ~

  • Hi, David…hello from San Francisco! Great post on the cocktails and roasted nuts. Good timing, as the holidays are rapidly approaching! This, it’s entertainment time. I was wondering, though, where did you get the little silver dishes that you put the nuts in? I love those!

  • I’m sure your cocktail is delicious, but could you put it into measurements we can understand on this side of the Atlantic, please? I have no idea how much an “ounce” of anything liquid is.

  • Yes, I wonder that too. Technology. Easier. NOT.

    In general can’t figure anything out the first time. And yet another layer of impossible was introduced when I indentured myself to a smartphone.

    But at least I can chill when cocktail hour rolls around, thanks to you!

  • I’m crazy about the roasted nuts (why aren’t they served always like this ? it’s like the job half done to serve them not roasted ! )
    I can’t wait to mix them with rosemary on the oven

  • Hmm contemplating cocktail party with cosmos & dramatic readings from Cosmo. All your fault.

  • Add a smidge of brown sugar into the nut mix and you get a whole different treat altogether. A Nigella trick. Would perhaps clash with the Cosmopolitan though…

  • Fresh roasted nuts are one of my favorite little nibbles–I like to do a sweet-and-savory version with rosemary, cayenne, and honey. So good!

  • ” Does anyone else wonder why we spend so much time wrestling with technology, when it’s supposed to make everything easier?” Yes I wonder every day and then why do I pay money to people to help me who just screw it up more. I lost probably 10,000 photos and stories off my website when someone I hired was updating it. I also know that they are in cyberspace and will have to try that Wayback program.
    Here in SC and when I lived in NC I can grow rosemary bushes as big as cars so keep those recipes coming!

    • I just updated my smartphone, which deleted almost all the apps. Some were recoverable, but it took me the better part of a day to figure out how to get back the ones I could. But at some point, I had to stop and move on to other things. Many things on the internet are ‘cached’ and are sometimes retrievable, but my previous internet provider had lousy service that would cut out in the middle of when I was publishing a post, and I often would lost half of them hitting the “Publish” button.

      • But David you handle it so well and still look young! I have always lied about my age but now even the lied number is getting old! I m reading a book “The Cancer Chronicles” by George Johnson and we must avoid stress and my drug of choice estrogen.

  • These would be great at our upcoming holiday party.

  • If memory serves me properly I think in the 1980s, not only Alice Waters, but early protégée Mark Miller, Texan Stephan Phyles and others sautéed pecans in butter with rosemary, salt and depending on the mood of the chef with sugar and chili of some variety. All the variations I have ever tried were festive and enjoyed by the crowd at the bar.

  • I always ordered my Cosmos with gin. Much tastier than vodka. But they always put them in a martini glass. I like your glasses ever so much better–I tend to spill martini glasses!

  • I just ended a 13 year business in pursuit of my next dream – and as I will be spending my savings on schooling instead of travel tony favorite cities -(Paris, Montepolliciano, etc..) for the next two years- I am glad to have found your Blog – And as a “SFO -ite” – ill recipricate with photos to you.

  • Thank you for this, David! Where did you get the little pans that you served the nuts in?

  • Hi David,
    EUUUU sounds cold….the recipe sounds wonderful, have not thought of these in a very long time. Why the cosmo and not something warm to drink? Men!

    My copy of French Market Cookbook just arrived. THANKS SO MUCH for mentioning this it is full of really fun recipes. Clotilde looks like a darling as well.

    I will do your nut recipe. Usually I use an OLD Martha Stewart recipe from the 80’s as well, almonds that are cooked and caramelized with cumin and chili.
    KEEP up the great work, THANKS.

  • Hi David
    Love these nuts. Made it yesterday and its gone when I got up this morning( my husband!!!). On totally different note which kind of rolling pin do you suggest for making croissant and other laminated dough? I am in US. I tried amazon but got overwhelmed from straight to tapered end and from wood to marble to plastic. Thanks

    • Rolling pins are personal choices. Europeans tend to prefer the straight ones, but I like the ones with rollers (ball bearing mechanisms) because that’s what I’m used to. I do find the ball bearing ones less work, but I use a straight one now since that’s what I have.

  • This is the first time I’ve made seasoned nuts and they were sensational — simple but so delicious. I like that they aren’t sweet and not too spicy. Used almonds, cashews and pecans, but I still haven’t decided which one is my favorite!

    Our friends must have loved them, too. The big bowl I made was finished with cocktails . Good thing I had the foresight to stash away a small dish for ‘later’ ;~>

  • My first time to your blog… It’s great – thanks you for the treats. I also love this recipe and the version I have is in a Nigella Lawson book includes soft brown sugar – another tablespoon. I think it marries something in the flavours.

  • I’m not very organized myself, but my other half is. thank goodness. We’ve organized our photo albums according to the dates, so we can find things quick. I find that journaling or blogging helps keep my memory fresh, so I find things a lot faster.

    Rosemary must be the IN herb as I’ve seen it in many recipes. Before Cosmopolitan came on the scene, there was Cape Codder. Simple and delicious – Vodka, Cranberry Juice and lime.

  • Triple Sec is cheapest, so I’ll go with that, thanks.