While the Sex on the Beach cocktail has a name that will either make you giggle or cringe, there’s no denying that our Sex on the Beach recipe is both easy to craft and delightful to sip.
If you’re like us, the idea of ordering a Sex on the Beach cocktail at a bar makes you cringe with embarrassment. Let’s face it – time hasn’t been kind to the drink’s name or reputation.
Sure, bellying up to the bar and requesting sex on the beach might have been cute back in the 1980s. But that’s also the decade when people were proud to wear acid wash denim and pumped-up shoulder pads.
While we won’t suggest pulling old jeans, pink polo shirts or puffy jackets out of your closet, we do think you should give the Sex on the Beach cocktail a second chance. But this time we encourage you to make it in the privacy of your own home. The fruity drink, which tastes like a vacation in a glass, is as easy to craft as a summer breeze,
What Is a Sex on the Beach Cocktail?
If a Fuzzy Navel and a Cape Codder were to have a baby, that baby would be the Sex on the Beach.
The combination of the Fuzzy’s Navel’s orange juice and peach schnapps with the Cape Codder’s vodka and cranberry juice is pure cocktail magic.
History of the Sex on the Beach Cocktail
Sex on the Beach became part of pop culture in the 1980s but its exact origin has a few stories which may or may not be true.
The best story involves a bartender named Ted Pizio who gave the people what they wanted at a St. Lauderdale bar. Not only did he create a sweet sensation of a drink, but he also named it after the two things spring break partiers typically seek. The drink eventually became more popular than wet t-shirt contests back when those were a thing.
The 1988 movie Cocktail memorialized the drink for posterity when Tom Cruise stood atop a bar and declared:
I am the last barman poet.
I see America drinking
the fabulous cocktails I make,
Americans getting stinky
on something I stir or shake.
The Sex on the Beach,
the schnapps made from peach,
the Velvet Hammer,
the Alabama Slammer!
Hey, we can’t make this stuff up.
Sex on the Beach Ingredients
The Sex on the Beach cocktail’s ingredients are far less provocative than the drink’s name implies. They include the following:
The four liquid ingredients (vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and orange juice) are added in a 2:1:2:2 ratio. While you should be able to find the two juices at your local market, you’ll likely need to buy the two liquors at a liquor store if you don’t already have them on hand.
Since you don’t need special vodka to craft a Sex on the Beach cocktail, we recommend using what you have in your liquor cabinet. We typically have Absoult vodka on one of our shelves. Absolut is ideal for this recipe since the vodka brand took America by storm during the same decade that the Sex on the Beach cocktail reached peak popularity.
Absolute Vodka has an ABV of 40%.
Discover our favorite vodka cocktails.
If you’re in America, you’re probably going to use DeKuyper’s Peachtree peach schnapps to craft this recipe. It’s not the only peach schnapps on the market, but it’s the most common bottle sold at American liquor stores.
DeKuyper’s sweet peach liqueur has a 15% ABV.
How to Craft a Sex on the Beach Cocktail
You don’t need fancy equipment to craft a Sex on the Beach cocktail. You don’t even need a shaker or mixing glass. We recommend using the following two basic bar tools in our Sex on the Beach recipe:
Don’t give up if you’re missing one or both of these basic bar tools. You could use an angled measuring cup instead of a jigger and a regular spoon instead of a bar spoon.
Discover 10 essential bar tools for home mixologists.
Once you’re organized and ready, the first step in this Sex on the Beach recipe is to fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
Next, measure the four liquid ingredients. We like to use a Japanese jigger for this step as it gives us accurate measurements and pours easily.
Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or desire an inexpensive upgrade.
Pour the liquids directly into the highball glass as you measure each.
Gently stir with a bar spoon.
Discover more colorful cocktails.
Garnish the cocktail with an orange wheel and a maraschino cherry or two.
Add a straw if you’re so inclined. Either way, start sipping before the ice begins to melt.
Sex on the Beach Cocktail Alternatives
The Sex on the Beach cocktail may or may not become your new guilty pleasure. If not, consider the following alternatives:
Sex on the Beach Cocktail Recipe
Sex on the Beach Cocktail
The Sex on the Beach cocktail isn't just for vacations. Crafting one at home is easy. And, as a bonus, you don't have to say the name out loud.
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 3/4 ounces peach schnapps
- 1 1/2 ounces orange juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
- maraschino cherry (for garnish)
- orange wheel (for garnish)
- ice cubes
- Partially fill a highball glass with ice.
- Pour vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and cranberry juice into the highball glass.
- Gently stir.
- Garnish with an orange wheel and a maraschino cherry or two.
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Japanese Jigger - Premium Double Cocktail Jigger, 1oz/2oz made from Stainless Steel 304
Hiware LZS13B 12 Inches Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon, Spiral Pattern Bar Cocktail Shaker Spoon
Highball Glasses [Set of 4] + 4 Stainless Steel Straws, 16 oz Lead-Free Crystal Clear Glass, Elegant Drinking Cups for Water, Wine, Beer, Cocktails and Mixed Drinks - Round Top, Square Bottom
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Cranberry Juice from Concentrate, 64 Ounce
Collins Stemless Maraschino Cherries | Popular Garnish for Cocktail Drinks, Desserts, Martinis, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, 10oz
Wusthof CLASSIC Paring Knife, One Size, Black, Stainless Steel
BLACK+DECKER 32oz Citrus Juicer, White, CJ625
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: May 5, 2023