Sea Breeze

Sail the Seven Seas of flavor with this tall and tangy tipple.

Sea Breeze

“One case of apricot brandy, and you buy the lunch.”

In Steven Spielberg’s iconic summer movie, “Jaws”, a grizzled shark hunter named Quint demands the fruit-flavored liquor as part of his payment for ridding an island community of a Great White menace. The sailor was a World War II veteran, talked a bit like Popeye and was generally an all-around old-school guy. Hard to love, but easy to like, the character of Quint more than likely wanted that case of apricot brandy in order to make and endless stream of classic, original recipe Sea Breeze cocktails. At least, that’s what I like to imagine.

In the 1930s, the original version of this drink, as it appeared in Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, included gin, grenadine and apricot brandy. I’m taking a wild guess here, but it’s this first take on the Sea Breeze that I think old salty dog Quint would have needed that case for. He was of that era that would’ve been used to that recipe, which didn’t change until the 1960s. Because in 1959, something very interesting and terrifying happened.

In November of that year, entire crops of cranberries in the Pacific Northwest were testing positive for containing the herbicide aminotriazole, a notorious cancer-causing chemical. The U.S. Secretary of Health began to warn Americans to avoid cranberries unless they were sure of their source, and as a result, sales of the fruit dropped off dramatically. To combat this, Ocean Spray released a number of recipe pamphlets to promote their cranberries and their safety. Among these were the revamped Sea Breeze cocktail, which called for vodka in place of gin, and a mixture of cranberry and grapefruit juice to substitute the other ingredients.

This version has stuck around over the decades, peaking in popularity during the 1980s. Many cocktail enthusiasts and historians, however, are of a mind that the original 1930s recipe is primed to make a comeback. Not unlike a certain shark, rising up from the depths…

What is the Best Vodka to Use in a Sea Breeze?

When it comes to vodka cocktails, you can choose any of the multitude of flavored versions that are out there. But I like to use a simple mid-to-top shelf grain or potato distilled vodka when I mix my drinks. This way, the flavors of the cranberry and grapefruit juice do most of the heavy lifting. The spirit will meld seamlessly with the mixers, creating a tart and strong beverage.

Sea Breeze
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 lime wheel for garnish


  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes to keep your drink chilled.
  • Pour 1 1/2 ounces of vodka over the ice. Choose a smooth, quality vodka for the best flavor.
    Sea Breeze
  • Add 3 ounces of cranberry juice to the glass, which provides a tart sweetness and the drink’s signature color.
    Sea Breeze
  • Squeeze in 1 1/2 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice.
    Sea Breeze
  • Stir the mixture gently with a long spoon to combine. Garnish with a lime wheel on the rim of the glass.
    Sea Breeze


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Sea Breeze

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Sea Breeze

Similar Cocktails to the Sea Breeze

Planning on a maritime excursion in the near future? Searching the watery depths in a quest for fortune and glory? Or maybe you just installed a hammock beachside between two palm trees? No matter what your seafaring plans are, you should probably bring a beverage worthy of Neptune’s realm. Twist & Toast can be your compass and steer your ship in the right direction with these recipes:

  • Long Beach Iced Tea – Your first port of call is the sand and surf of Southern California’s South Bay with this cranberry flavored cocktail.
  • Salty Dog – The salty rim of this vodka and gin creation will give you the bite you’ve been craving.
  • Classic Daiquiri – This legendary drink has its origins on the high seas of the Caribbean. Heave to and have a few.
  • Gin & Tonic – Been on the water for too long? This cocktail got its start as a cure for seasickness, so you can tell everybody your tipple is for medicinal purposes.

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