Sex On The Beach Cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Sex On The Beach cocktail is a tart, citrusy, and fruity drink from the 1980s. The fruitiness masks the alcohol pretty well, making it dangerously easy to drink.
Sex On The Beach cocktail with garnish

The Sex On The Beach Cocktail is mainly known for its provoking name. And whatever pun comes to your mind, trust me, it's all been said and heard before. 

It certainly is a drink that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's fruity, light, and an easygoing drink you can enjoy on the beach. And Like a Piña Colada or a Painkiller, you're more likely to find this cocktail at a beach hut than in a craft cocktail bar.

But don't be fooled by the fruity flavors. This drink contains quite some booze. It's not packed with it like a Long Island Iced Tea, but it's enough to make you tipsy. 

Depending on your recipe, you'll drink 1.5 - 2 ounces of Vodka plus various liqueurs and Peach Schnapps. All this is perfectly hidden behind a blend of fresh fruit juices.

So let's find out more about this drink from the 1980s and how you can easily make it at home.

Jump to Recipe | Ingredients | How to make | History | Why is it called like that? | FAQs


The standardized recipe only includes Vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Tweaks on this list of ingredients often add or substitute fruit juices; -The most common might be pineapple and grapefruit juice. 

My favorite recipe includes the following ingredients:

  • Peach Schnapps - You can opt for Peach Pucker or peach liqueur. DeKuyper is the classic choice. You can't go wrong with this one.
  • Orange juice - Fresh orange juice is key to making this drink.
  • Pineapple juice - If possible, go for fresh pineapple juice. But I know that pineapple is hard to juice, so at least opt for an unsweetened 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 I prefer to use Chambord in my drinks.
  • Cranberry juice - It can be either fresh or bought. Just make sure to use an unsweetened one without additives.

How to make it

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.

Step 1: To get the layers right, shake orange juice, pineapple juice, and peach schnapps on ice and strain the mix into an ice-filled glass. 

Step 2: Now, mix the remaining ingredients on ice and float them on the "Beach" layer.

Step 3: Garnish the drink with an orange peel or a slice of orange, and it's ready to be served.

Sex on the beach cocktail on table with oranges and bar tools on the side

History of the Sex on the Beach Cocktail

The Sex On The Beach drink was a must on most cocktail menus in the 1980s and 1990s. Its provocative name (I'll get to that in a minute), 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.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell 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.

One widespread anecdote is that a Florida bartender named Ted Pizio invented the drink 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.

Why is it called Sex On The Beach?

Who came up with the idea of such a provocative name is unknown. However, 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.

Sex On The Beach cocktail with garnish

Sex On The Beach

A popular sweet and fruity cocktail from the 1980s. It is an easy-to-sip drink that's boozier than one might expect.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vodka
Servings: 1
Calories: 239kcal
Cost: $2.90


  • 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.


Serving: 6.25oz | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.42g | Protein: 0.66g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2.66mg | Potassium: 127.98mg | Sugar: 21.4g | Vitamin C: 25.54mg | Calcium: 22.96mg | Iron: 0.32mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Sex on the Beach cocktail taste like?

When done right, the taste is fruity and sweet, with just the right level of tartness to balance the sugary ingredients. The harsh notes of alcohol are almost undetectable.

What does the Sex on the Beach shot have in it?

The shot version of the cocktail is typically made with Peach Schnapps, Vodka, cranberry juice, and orange juice.

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