The History of the Sex on the Beach Cocktail

Ask any professional bartender for a Sex on the Beach cocktail and you will likely be met with a slightly disdainful look – it is hardly a drink for the more discerning of cocktail enthusiasts. However, you are unlikely to come across a more refreshing and relaxed beverage. In this cold February weather, this is a drink that will have you longing for warmer weathers, and is a suggestive choice for your loved one this Valentines Day.

Who Invented the Sex on the Beach Cocktail?

This fairly simple concoction has a few tales behind it. Some attribute this drink, and its name, to a bartender at Confetti’s Bar in Florida. Ted Pizio was challenged to sell the most peach schnapps in the area as part of the promotion for the new spirit. He created the fruity cocktail and decided to name it after the reasons why he thought tourists visited the area. Back in 1987, he decided that sex and beaches were more popular than Mickey Mouse, thinking of the spring-breakers who would be the target market for the drink, and so the name was born.

Despite this quite believable story, historians have found examples of this cocktail in recipe books as far back as 1982. The idea is that it was created by combining a Fuzzy Navel and a Cape Codder.

Regardless of how the drink came to be, it was quickly picked up by TGI Friday’s which had a great reputation for cocktails at the time. This helped to raise awareness of the drink, creating its cult classic status that it enjoys today.

Variations of Sex on the Beach

The original drink was made using peach schnapps, vodka, orange juice and grenadine. However, it is much more common to see bars serving it with cranberry juice, to replace the grenadine. This cocktail has been reworked many times, with the Woo Woo possibly being the most popular derivative, simply omitting the orange juice.

Other drinks include the Sex on Fire, which uses Fireball cinnamon whiskey, instead of vodka, and Sex on the Driveway, which uses blue curacao and sprite in place of fruit juices, giving it a very bright blue colour.

Modern Day References

Sex on the Beach is very much a drink attributed to the 80s and is not as popular in modern bars as it once was. However, a fairly recent song, Cake by the Ocean, was created after the name of the drink got lost in translation with the Swedish producers working with the band DNCE. Could this be the contemporary influence needed to see a reprisal of our tackiest favourite cocktail.

This post was written by ....

Suzanna H
Hi, I am Suzanna. I would describe myself as a bit of a foodie with a side-interest in fancy cocktails. Anything sweet and alcoholic and I'm in! I am also an avid writer, proofreader and editor and work freelance through the website People per Hour.

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