Sea Breeze Cocktail

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Cocktail Type


Great for




A Sea Breeze cocktail garnished with grapefruit

If beach days, sunny skies, and a fresh dip in the ocean are your thing, then you have to try this Sea Breeze cocktail recipe. It’s a classic that rose to fame in the Zinka Sunscreen and neon wetsuit days of the 1980s. An easy blend of vodka, cranberry, and grapefruit juice, the Sea Breeze was a cocktail for everyone and anyone. Its bright, refreshing and electric cranberry color made it instantly recognizable. It’s a tasty nostalgic throwback to a simpler time, far away from social media and the bustle of the modern world. Just you, a beach chair, some good friends and an ice-cold Sea Breeze cocktail in hand.



Use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for best results.


Citrus vodka can also be used for extra zest.


The Sea Breeze is a great cocktail to mix in batches for a crowd.



1 Person

1.5 Oz

45 Ml

1.5 Parts

3 Oz

90 Ml

3 Parts

Cranberry juice
0.5 Oz

15 Ml

0.5 Parts

Grapefruit juice 
Lime wedge or orange slice to garnish



Fill a highball glass with ice


Pour in the vodka, cranberry, and grapefruit juice


Stir until chilled then garnish with lime or orange and serve

History of the Sea Breeze cocktail

The first cocktail bearing the Sea Breeze name appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book from the 1930s. It featured a different line-up of ingredients than the 1980s version, but it’s widely accepted that this was the precursor to today’s Sea Breeze cocktail recipe. In the 1960s, Ocean Spray, a cranberry fruit company, distributed recipe booklets that featured their cranberry juice version of the Sea Breeze. The cocktail gained traction over time and by the 1980s, the era of loud colors and even louder mullets, the Sea Breeze found its niche.   

Skip forward a few decades and the Sea Breeze is still doing its refreshing thing. It’s a must-try cocktail and while it’s spawned many famous variations, only the Sea Breeze has made it onto the International Bartenders Association list. It’s a quintessential beach cocktail that will never go out of style.   

You might also like: 12 Best Fruity Cocktails 


The Bay Breeze, Cape Codder, and Greyhound are all variations of the vodka Sea Breeze cocktail recipe. The Bay Breeze uses pineapple juice instead of grapefruit. The Cape Codder is a simple 2-ingredient mix of vodka and cranberry juice. And the Greyhound uses vodka or gin and loses the cranberry juice entirely.    

You might also like: A Tropical Mango Gin Cocktail. 

When to serve

The Sea Breeze is most at home during summer and preferably near a body of water, but that doesn’t mean it can’t shine anywhere. It’s perfect for casual cocktail parties and its electric pink makes for a show-stopping wedding cocktail.

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While both are delicious cocktails, the Bay Breeze uses pineapple juice instead of grapefruit juice. 

The Sea Breeze is a combination of sweet yet tart cranberry juice and floral, citrusy grapefruit with a bitter tang.

White rum or gin would be an acceptable substitute if you are in a pinch. Both will bring different aspects to the cocktail. White rum is bright with citrus notes while gin adds botanical notes.

This is a matter of personal preference. Using sweetened juice is a simple solution, but you may have to top it up with club soda if you find it too sweet. Unsweetened juice gives you more control but then you’ll need to sweeten it with sugar or simple syrup.