The Sex on the Beach cocktail is known as much for its provocative name as its fruity, refreshing taste. It’s unclear exactly when or where the drink was invented, but popular liquor-soaked lore points to a Florida bartender who created the drink in 1987 as part of a liquor distribution company’s promotion to sell peach schnapps. The only problem with that theory, however, is that the drink was already included in the 1982 “American Bartenders School Guide to Drinks.”
While no one can agree where the drink originated, many suggest the cocktail may have been invented when a bartender combined a Fuzzy Navel (peach schnapps and orange juice) with a Cape Codder (vodka and cranberry juice). Put those two drinks together, and all the constituent parts of the Sex on the Beach are accounted for. Some recipes also call for a small measure of crème de cassis, but that is usually considered optional.
The Sex on the Beach was a mainstay of 1980s and 1990s cocktail menus, and though it fell out of favor during the ensuring craft cocktail renaissance, it’s still a popular call at beach bars and a favorite among vacationers.
The Sex on the Beach is very easy to make, so you might try mixing one for your next cocktail party. Fresh orange juice will add bright acidity and produce a fresher tasting drink. Some people prefer to sub pineapple juice for the OJ, but orange will keep the cocktail classic. Any solid vodka will do, as it provides a mostly neutral base that lets the peach liqueur and fruit juices take center stage. Merge your ingredients, take a sip, and transport yourself to the beach one cocktail at a time.
Click Play to See This Sex on the Beach Cocktail Come Together
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce peach schnapps
- 1/2 ounce Chambord or crème de cassis (optional)
- 1 1/2 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
- Garnish: cocktail umbrella
Add the vodka, peach schnapps, Chambord (if using), orange juice and cranberry juice to a shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with a cocktail umbrella.