The Sex On The Beach Cocktail is mainly known for its provoking name.
It certainly is a drink that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's fruity, light, and easygoing. And like other fruity drinks, you're more likely to find this cocktail at a beach hut than in a craft cocktail bar.
Don't be fooled by the fruity flavors - hidden behind the fresh juices, this drink contains a shot of vodka, liqueur, and Peach Schnapps.
Quick Facts Sex On The Beach Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: fruity, sweet
- How to serve it: over ice
- Best glassware: hurricane glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 11% ABV, 19 grams of alcohol per serving
So let's find out more about this drink from the 1980s and how you can easily make it at home.
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 0.75 oz Peach schnapps
- 1 oz Fresh orange juice
- 1 oz Fresh pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Cranberry juice
- 0.5 oz Raspberry liqueur
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- Pour peach schnapps, orange juice, and pineapple juice into your cocktail shaker and shake with ice.0.75 oz Peach schnapps, 1 oz Fresh orange juice, 1 oz Fresh pineapple juice
- Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.
- Add remaining ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.1.5 oz Vodka, 1 oz Cranberry juice, 0.5 oz Raspberry liqueur, 1 tsp Lemon juice
- Strain and float on top of the other ingredients.
- Garnish with a slice of orange or an orange peel.
The standard recipe includes vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice. However, we like to tweak and refine the formula a bit by adding other fruit juices and liqueur.
Hence, our favorite recipe includes the following ingredients:
- Peach Schnapps - You can opt for Pucker or peach liqueur. DeKuyper is the classic choice. You can't go wrong with this one.
- Orange juice - Freshly squeezed orange juice is key to making this drink worth your while.
- Pineapple juice - If possible, go for fresh pineapple juice. I know that pineapple is a bit of a pain to juice, so if you don't have the time, opt for an unsweetened packed option.
- Lemon juice - The tartness of fresh lemon juice is a great addition to the drink. One teaspoon is sufficient to lift this pretty sweet and boozy cocktail and give it a kick of acidity.
- Vodka - For the vodka part, I recommend using a quality mid-shelf product like Absolut or Ketel One Vodka.
- Raspberry liqueur - The one from Bols is the most common, but we prefer to use Chambord in our drinks.
- Cranberry juice - It can be either fresh or bought. Just make sure to use an unsweetened one without additives.
How to Make it -Pro Tips
For me, the only way to present this drink is in layered form. Just remember to serve it with a straw or another tool to stir it before drinking.
To get the layers right, shake orange juice, pineapple juice, and peach schnapps on ice and strain the mix into an ice-filled glass. Then, mix the remaining ingredients on ice and float them on the "beach" layer.
Pour slowly and gently to prevent both layers from mixing too much. If the glass is filled with ice to the rim, it is easier to create the layers.
Variations of the Sex on the Beach Recipe
The original recipe consists of four elements only, and it's also the version published by the International Bartending Association (IBA). To make that, you need 1.5oz each of vodka, orange & cranberry juice, and a healthy dash of peach schnapps.
Other widespread riffs call for extra pineapple juice only, or pineapple and lime, instead of the lemon you can find in our recipe.
History of the Sex on the Beach Cocktail
One widespread anecdote is that a Florida bartender named Ted Pizio invented the Sex on the Beach recipe in 1987 to promote Peach Schnapps. However, as plausible as this claim may sound, the cocktail already got a mention in 1982 by the Americans Bartenders School in their Guide to Drinks.
Another tale says it all started by combining a Fuzzy Naval and a Cape Codder. And true enough, bring both these drinks together, and you have all the main components to make a Sex On the Beach cocktail.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to say for sure who invented the iconic 80s drink. Yet there are numerous myths and stories about how the Sex on the Beach cocktail came about, but all lack substance.
What's certain, though, is that it used to be a staple on cocktail menus in the 1980s and 1990s. Its provocative name, combined with the fruity taste masking the high alcohol content, make it a popular choice amongst partying folks. However, the love for this drink faded when the craft cocktail scene started its latest renaissance.
Why is it called Sex On The Beach?
The usually layered presentation of the drink delivers an obvious explanation:
The red part represents the "Sex" - A mix consisting of vodka, cranberry juice, and sometimes additional red and fruity liqueurs.
The yellow, or better, the beach part of the cocktail, is represented by peach schnapps combined with orange juice and occasionally pineapple juice.
However, who came up with the idea of such a provocative name is unknown.
When you're looking for more fruity summer drinks that bring beach vibes to your home bar, try these recipes:
Check out the list with our Top 17 Fruity Cocktails for more inspiration.