Sea Breeze cocktail is a refreshing and fruity cocktail that will remind you of the sunny days at the beach. It’s just what the name says – it feels like a sea breeze. It’s made with only 3 ingredients (vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice) and it’s built in the same glass you drink it in so it’s really easy! If you enjoy light and thirst-quenching cocktails, you need to try this one.
Check out this similar cocktail – malibu bay breeze – it’s a reader’s favorite!
History of the Sea Breeze cocktail
The origins of this cocktail trace back to the 1920s during the Prohibition Era, but to be precise – only the name of this cocktail. It was a totally different cocktail back then, it was made with gin, apricot brandy, lemon juice, and grenadine and was called the Sea Breeze Cooler. It first appeared in “The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Craddock in 1930.
With time the recipe evolved to what it is today – a simple cocktail made with vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice.
The creation of today’s cocktail was promoted by Ocean Spray company which has been producing (and still is) cranberry juice. They have released a booklet with cocktail recipes that contained the recipe for Sea Breeze Cocktail made with cranberry juice in order to promote it following issues with herbicide contaminated crops in the 1960s.
It’s no surprise that it gained popularity quickly in the 70’s and 80’s – it’s really delicious!
You need only 3 ingredients to make this delicious cocktail:
- Vodka – is a great base for cocktails. It has a neutral taste and pairs well with other ingredients without overwhelming their flavor.
Which vodka is best for cocktails? Can I be patriotic and say – use Polish vodka? Wyborowa, Chopin vodka, Żubrówka, and Belvedere vodka are great choices! If there is no Polish vodka available at your grocery store – other great choices are Smirnoff, Absolut vodka, or Grey Goose.
This cocktail is made with so much fruit juice so you can also use a budget-friendly vodka for this recipe!
You could also use flavored vodka – I bet citron vodka would also be great.
- Grapefruit juice – you can use store-bought or homemade grapefruit juice when grapefruits are in season. I used store-bought juice for convenience.
- Cranberry juice – it needs to be sweetened cranberry juice also called cranberry juice cocktail. Pure cranberry juice would be too tart for this recipe. If you’re looking for more cocktails with cranberry juice, try Malibu bay breeze or a Cosmopolitan! Check out all my cocktail recipes with cranberry juice to see how you can use up the leftovers.
- Ice – you can use ice cubes or crushed ice. I prefer ice cubes. If you’d like to make crushed ice just put ice cubes into a ziplock bag and pound them with a rolling pin or a bottle until crushed.
How strong is this cocktail?
This is not a strong cocktail. It contains a small amount of vodka and a lot of fruit juices so it’s rather weak than strong, but be careful – it’s so easy to drink that you can easily drink too much!
Proportions of ingredients
I was having a really hard time developing this recipe, simply because no matter the proportions of the ingredients, this drink is just delicious!
Make it grapefruit juice-heavy (add more grapefruit juice than cranberry juice) – it’s delicious!
Make it cranberry juice-heavy (add more cranberry juice than grapefruit juice) – it’s delicious!
Making this cocktail is not difficult, you don’t need to carefully balance sour and sweet flavors like in this sidecar cocktail. It’s very simple – just neutral-tasting vodka and fruit juices.
1 1/2 to 2 ounces of vodka per 1 tall drink is perfect for “light drinking” but you can of course add more.
Adjust the ratios to your personal preference, try to add more cranberry juice or grapefruit juice (leaving the amount of vodka the same), and see what you like better.
If you like cocktails with grapefruit juice, you may want to try this cocktail – grapefruit mimosa.
This drink is considered an IBA Official Cocktail.
Glass for sea breeze cocktail
Traditionally a highball glass (such as Collins glass) is used for this cocktail but you can really use any kind of glass to make it! Preferably, it should be a tall glass but any short glass like an old-fashioned glass will also do.
When using a short glass, reduce the amounts of ingredients or your drink just won’t fit in the glass!
How to make Sea Breeze Cocktail step by step
STEP 1: Fill a highball glass halfway with ice cubes. Measure out the vodka and add it to the glass.
STEP 2: Measure out the grapefruit juice and add to the glass.
STEP 3: Measure out the cranberry juice and add to the glass.
STEP 4: Stir to combine and enjoy!
You can garnish your drink with lime slices or grapefruit slices when they are in season.
To see a nice contrast of colors you can add vodka and grapefruit juice to the glass then very slowly add cranberry juice and serve the drink quickly before all the ingredients are combined.
Scaling up the recipe: you can easily prepare this cocktail in a pitcher! Simply pour all the ingredients (scaling up each ingredient) into a pitcher filled with ice then stir to combine.
What is the difference between a Bay Breeze and a Sea Breeze?
Bay Breeze cocktail (also called Hawaiian Sea Breeze) is made with pineapple juice and the Sea Breeze cocktail is made with grapefruit juice.
Foamy Sea Breeze – for a little “sea foam” on top of your drink add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass.
Malibu Bay Breeze – it’s made with malibu rum, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice.
Winter Sea Breeze – replace vodka with gin.
Ocean Breeze: Add pineapple juice to this recipe.
Cape Codder – it’s made with just vodka and cranberry juice.
Madras – orange juice is used instead of grapefruit juice.
Make it alcohol-free (Sea Breeze Mocktail): just use sparkling water/club soda/ginger ale instead of vodka.
Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!
Sea Breeze Cocktail
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- 2 oz vodka 60ml
- 2 oz grapefruit juice 60ml
- 3 oz cranberry juice cocktail sweetened cranberry juice, 90ml
- ice cubes
- Fill a highball glass halfway with ice cubes.
- Measure out all the ingredients and add into the glass.
- Stir to combine and enjoy!
- You can garnish your drink with lime slices or grapefruit slices when they are in season.
- There really is no right or wrong with this cocktail. Just adjust it to your taste! We prefer it heavier on the cranberry juice, but you can add more grapefruit juice if you prefer.
- To see a nice contrast of colors you can add vodka and pineapple juice to the glass then very slowly add cranberry juice and serve the drink quickly before all the ingredients are combined.
- Calories = 1 cocktail. This is only an estimate!