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June 6, 2019

The History Behind the Sea Breeze Cocktail

Post by South Lyndale Liqours

The Sea Breeze is a very simple cocktail to make. It's just an easy pour and stir drink, but it has a unique flavor due to it's refreshing, main ingredient: cranberry juice. If you're a vodka lover, this is one of those classic vodka long drinks that deliver on freshness and simplicity.

** See the recipe below!

The Sea Breeze is built directly in the glass, so it's a perfect summer cocktail because you won't need a shaker or other bar accouterments - just a stirring stick. The ingredients are only 3 and easily obtainable: vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice. There are other variations, but this classic recipe wins a thumbs up every time.

Tip - stick to ripe grapefruit so your drink isn't too sour.

The Sea Breeze cocktail is great as afternoon aperitif in the summer. But thanks to its moderate alcohol content, it shines at brunches and with fish dinners.

History behind the Sea Breeze

’80s aficionados will revel in the fact that their favorite decade was a popular propagator of the Sea Breeze. It is  not, however,  where the drink originated.

In the late '50's to early '60's cranberries carried some controversy because a bunch of berries in the Pacific Northwest were found to contain traces of the herbicide aminotriazole. This was a bog weed killer that caused cancer in lab rats. The U.S. Secretary of Health (at the time) advised Americans to avoid cranberries if they weren’t sure of their origin.

Historically, there was a little growers's collective formed in the 1930's called "Ocean Spray". According to the archives at Ocean Spray, in the1960s the company began suggesting a cranberry-centric cocktail that included vodka and grapefruit. There were many versions of the Sea Breeze cocktail but Ocean Spray may be known for being the first to add cranberry to it.

The History Behind the Sea Breeze Cocktail

The 1928 Sea Breeze

There's another version of the Sea Breeze Cocktail out there and the man coined with bringing it back to life is David Moo, the owner of the Quarter Bar in Brooklyn, New York.

According to Liquor.com, in 2013, Moo came across an entirely different recipe for the Sea Breeze, and it piqued his interest.

I was browsing cocktail recipes when I came across it. It wasn’t necessarily in an old book—I actually don’t remember where I found it. But I do remember reading that the original recipe was from the 1920s, but it didn’t give an exact year, and it involved gin.

He thought that sounded like a considerably better drink, so he made one for himself. Due to it's deliciousness, he put it on their menu.

** See the recipe below!

Sea Breeze Cooler

You also try substituting your fruit juice with apricot brandy and adding soda water to spritz it up! Garnish it with fresh mint and you're on a whole other level.

No matter, which Sea Breeze cocktail you choose, you'll enjoy a refreshing and relaxing drinking experience with fresh fruit juices and summer warmth.

The Sea Breeze Cooler

Classic Sea Breeze Cocktail

Garnish: Pineapple wedge, Lime wedge
Glass: Highball/Collins

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  • 1 1⁄2 oz vodka
  • 2 1⁄2 oz Cranberry juice
  • 2 1⁄2 oz Pineapple juice
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1928 Sea Breeze Cocktail

The 1928 Sea Breeze Cocktail

This version of a Sea Breeze is by David Moo, the owner of Quarter Bar in Brooklyn. Its a mashup of the old and new: gin, equal-parts house-made grenadine and fresh ruby-red grapefruit juice.

This recipe originally appeared as part of “The Inside Story of the Sea Breeze Cocktail” on Liquor.com.

PREPARE

  • 2 oz Gordon’s gin
  • 1⁄4 oz Homemade grenadine*
  • 3 oz Fresh pink grapefruit juice, to top
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