‘Sex and the City’: All of the Cocktails on the Show Were Fake

Sex and the City was a perfect snapshot of an era in New York City that captured many of the issues that single women faced in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The HBO series was also responsible for making several things popular, including Manolo Blahnik shoes and Cosmopolitan cocktails.

Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker
Cynthia Nixon (L) and Sarah Jessica Parker film a scene from “Sex and the City” in Lincoln Square April 14, 2003 in New York City | Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

‘Sex and the City’ followed 4 young friends in New York City

Sex and the City was revolutionary at the time it was on TV because of its portrayal of four carefree single women in their thirties who were in no rush to settle down. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis each brought something different to the table, and each embodied the different personalities in every friend group.

The ladies of SATC had a taste for the finer things in life, as evidenced by Carrie Bradshaw’s soft spot for designer shoes. They also had a unique taste in alcohol, with their cocktail of choice being the Cosmopolitan — a vodka drink made with triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime juice.

The drink became popular in New York in the early ’90s, but by the time SATC premiered in 1998, it had fallen off as many people’s drink of choice.

Sex and the City cast
Actress Kim Cattrall, actress Kristin Davis, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and actress Cynthia Nixon attend the Screening of the Season Three Premiere of “Sex and the City” on June 1, 2000 at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles, California | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

‘Sex and the City’ popularized 1 cocktail

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of the book Sex and the City and Us, told Refinery29 in 2018 about SATC‘s impact on bar drinks and its role in popularizing the recently-invented Cosmopolitan cocktail.

“I don’t know if there’s any other drink or even food that I could think of that is so closely associated with a show,” she said. “I think whatever you think of as the caricature of SATC, the Cosmo goes with it.”

Chelsea Fairless, one of the people who run the popular Instagram account Every Outfit on SATC, acknowledged “The Cosmopolitan has become the unofficial drink of what I will lovingly refer to as ‘the basic bitch,’” she said bluntly. “Even though SATC was a very smart show, it became an integral part of basic culture.”

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon in promotional photos for 'Sex and the CXity'
The cast of ‘Sex and the City’ | HBO/Newsmakers

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The cocktails on ‘Sex and the City’ weren’t real

While many iconic bar and restaurant scenes in SATC featured the pretty pink drink, the cast members who were drinking them weren’t actually getting sloshed on camera.

Parker revealed the secret of the on-screen cocktails in a 2016 interview with — of all publications — Cosmopolitan magazine.

“The Cosmopolitans were made of water and food colouring or watered-down cranberry juice,” the actor admitted. “Ginger ale was a substitute for champagne and red wine was always just grape juice.”