Sex on the Beach: That Tempting Fruity Vodka Cocktail Recipe

Sex on the Beach Cocktail
Fill your glass with fruit and vodka and enjoy a little Sex on the Beach. Image Source/Getty Images
    3 mins
Ratings (16)

One of the most popular vodka cocktails, the Sex on the Beach is a delicious fruity drink that anyone will like and everyone can make. It is a great tropical highball for hot summer nights and an afternoon at the beach.

The Sex on the Beach recipe is easy: simply choose your favorite vodka and add the sweet mix of fruits. You may want to add your own twist by switching to a flavored vodka as well. Strawberry or coconut vodkas would be a lot of fun.

If you are just starting out as a bartender, you will find that the Sex on the Beach is a good drink to add to your memory bank. It is also one of those that you can mix up when someone says, "I feel like something different, something fruity".

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a highball glass.
  4. Garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry.

More Tips for Making a Great Sex on the Beach

The choice of vodka is not important in this drink. Feel free to use a 'well' vodka. There are some good and inexpensive vodkas available that are perfect for cocktails like this.

The one ingredient that you may not have on hand is creme de cassis.

This is a black currant-flavored liqueur that also makes an appearance in the Kir and Chimayo cocktails. It is not an essential in the bar, but it is nice to have around and a drink like this is a great excuse to pick up a bottle. Don't worry; it is one of the inexpensive liqueurs. Just look near the schnapps and it should be there.

Though the more 'traditional' recipe for a Sex on the Beach uses creme de cassis, its infrequent use in the bar has caused Chambord to become a substitute. The difference between the black currant and black raspberry liqueurs is not significant so if you stock Chambord, go ahead and use it. Grenadine can also be used.

If you like, transform this cocktail into a pitcher or punch drink. It is the perfect style of drink for doing just that. All you need to do is keep the ingredients in proportion and increase each to the amount you need for the party. Your guests will love it!

It should also be noted that there ​are a number of Sex on the Beach recipes out there. As the drink spread across the U.S. in the 1980's, bartenders came up with their own versions and kept the provocative name. This just happens to be one of the most popular recipes that was passed around (and even this one has a number of variables).

How Strong Is the Sex on the Beach?

Let's assume that we use an 80-proof vodka with Peachtree Schnapps (48 proof). In this case, the Sex on the Beach poured according to this recipe would have an alcohol content of about 11% ABV (22 proof). It is the same as the average mixed drink, so keep an eye on the number of drinks you have. 

The History of the Sex on the Beach

The name alone gives this cocktail its obvious appeal. The 'Sex on the Beach' moniker is fun, suggestive and great for selling drinks. Where did the drink and its name originate? That is a good question.

It is without fail that the true origins of many of our favorite cocktails are a little hazy. We are talking about alcohol, after all, so it goes with the territory. This drink is no different and there are a few popular stories circulating.

One of the more common accounts of the Sex on the Beach's creation is a flashback to 1987 and the rise of peach schnapps. It seems that a big liquor distributor, National Distribution, held a contest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the bartender who sold the most peach schnapps.

Ted Pizio from the bar Confettis won the $1000 prize. Pizio's mix of vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and grenadine was a hit and he gave it the name because 'sex on the beach' was one of the main reasons to visit Ft. Lauderdale on spring break.

It is a great story, but according to some bartenders who worked in the 1980's, this was not the creation of this drink. Some accounts claim to have mixed the drink as early as 1981. There are also stories from that early that refer to the Chambord version under the name Florida Sunset.

What Is so Great About the Sex on the Beach?

There are many things to like about this drink, but it has to be the name that made it famous. The 70's and '80's were filled with tall, fruity, vodka-based drinks and it was those that had the funky, sexy, and sometimes wacky names that have stuck in the minds of drinkers.

The Sex on the Beach is the perfect example of how a great name can make an admittedly mediocre drink stand out from the crowd. Don't get me wrong -- it is a nice drink, just not spectacular. It is the name that makes it memorable.