Sex on the Beach

Derided by some, adored by others and slowly becoming an iconic cocktail.

Bawdy, ballsy and almost neon hued, the Sex on the Beach is as crass to taste as it is to ask for out-loud in busy bar.

What's it actually like? It’s an easy-sipping riot of summer flavours, with peach, cranberry and orange culminating in the juiciest, silliest cocktail on the block.

It’s mighty boozy, too – basically a hen party in a glass.

1 serving
  • 50 ml Vodka
  • 35 ml Peach Schnapps
  • 50 ml Fresh orange juice
  • 50 ml Cranberry Juice
  • 1 Glacé Cherry
  1. Half fill a hurricane glass with ice. Pour in the vodka, schnapps and orange juice. Stir until the drink is well mixed and cold throughout.
  2. Slowly pour the cranberry juice on top and finish with the cherry.
Sex on the Beach cocktail
Sex on the Beach cocktail

Top Tips

Don’t scrimp on juice – supermarkets play mean tricks these days and it is very easy to accidentally come home with something along the lines of ‘CRANBERRY JUICE flavoured juice drink feat 0.05% real cranberries.’ Like most things, a cocktail is only as strong as its weakest link, so a soulless, chemically enhanced juice is going to result in a hollow cocktail. Buy the best you can get your hands on – it’s really worth it.

Schnapps is a German term with a wide reach – traditionally it means a strong alcoholic drink imbued with fruit or herb spices (an eau-de-vie or fruit brandy), but more recently it errs on the side of liqueur. Peach Schnapps definitely falls into the latter category – it is a sweet, syrupy alcoholic cordial bursting with fruit – Archers is the biggest name on the block, but those with a hankering for paths less trodden will find comfort in a Sex on the Beach made with De Kuyper Peach Liqueur, Teichenne Melocoton Peach Schnapps, Trulo Peach Melba Schnapps or Berentzen Peach Schnapps – all will do the intended job.

Originally, the Sex on the Beach was made with grenadine. Somewhere along the way that got swapped out to cranberry, but if you’re inclined to try the original, it’s something along these lines: 50ml Vodka, 30ml Peach Schnapps, 100ml Orange Juice, 10ml Grenadine.

An Abridged, Inebriated History

If you find yourself wondering how a summertime cocktail sweet enough to appeal to your nan ended up with such an absurd name, you need to remember one thing: sex sells.

The most over-told story of the Sex on the Beach is this one: In the summer of 1987, bartender Ted Pizio – working at Confetti’s Bar in Florida – was suckered in by a competition to sell the most peach schnapps - the victorious bartender would walk away with a $1000 prize, so it was well worth a go. 

Knowing how besieged his city was by spring breakers, he decided to gear his peach concoction towards them, naming it after the two things Florida-bound college students were really interested in: sex and sand. 

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By Leah Gasson