Recipes: The Sex on the Beach Is a Sun-Soaked Classic | Wine Enthusiast
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The Sex on the Beach Is a Sun-Soaked Classic

Don’t let the cheeky name of this 80s classic cocktail deter you from ordering one. Sex on the Beach is a fun and fruity cocktail with flavors of peach, orange, cranberry and cherry. And it’s not only for oceanfront consumption—this easy recipe can transform any locale into an instant beach vacation, at least in spirit.

What Is a Sex on the Beach?

The 80s cocktail is a blend of cranberry and orange juices with peach schnapps, which gives the provocatively-named cocktail a tropical vibe and acidity. Vodka is the main spirit, which, because it’s a neutral base, lets the peach schnapps and fruit juices take center stage. Some modern recipes also call for a small measure of Midori, Chambord and pineapple juice, but those are usually considered optional.

Where Did Sex on the Beach Come From?

Legend has it that a Florida bartender created the cocktail in 1987 as part of a promotion to sell peach schnapps. The name supposedly came from a combination of the main attractions for spring breakers—sex and the beach. But that timeline doesn’t quite fit, because the drink was already included in the 1982 American Bartenders School Guide to Drinks.

The drink’s popularity continued to soar in the 90s, but faded in the 2000s. You can still find the drink on the menu at popular beach bars and spring break destinations.

How to Make a Sex on the Beach Cocktail


1 ounce vodka
½ ounce peach schnapps
2 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces orange juice
Orange wheel, for garnish
Maraschino cherry, for garnish


Fill a tall glass with ice. Add vodka, schnapps, cranberry juice and orange juice. Top with a splash of grenadine. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange wheel.


What Kind of Vodka Should I Use for a Sex on the Beach Drink?

A unflavored vodka is ideal here to let the fruit juices shine. Here are some of our favorite vodkas, but feel free to use any kind you have on hand.

When Do You Serve a Sex on the Beach Cocktail?

This drink can be served anytime and any day of the year. But we’re fans of sipping it outside in the summer months by a body of water, because of its refreshing, fruity flavors. Plus, it’s easy to make large batches to serve at a party.

Are There Variations of the Sex on the Beach Cocktail?

You can swap the fruit juices in for any other juice you have on hand. A popular swap is using pineapple juice in place of orange juice. You can also use a flavored vodka for a more complex flavor profile.

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