The delicious Sea Breeze drink recipe features vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice. It’s a refreshing cocktail with just the right balance of sweet and tart.
The evolving recipe
This classic drink recipe goes back a long way. It started life in the 1920s during the Prohibition Era. At that time, the recipe was just gin and grenadine. It seems like Prohibition times must have been hard on cocktail lovers.
Later on, the Sea Breeze recipe changed to include apricot brandy and lemon juice. Then somebody swapped the gin for vodka, and everything else for dry vermouth, Galliano, and blue curacao. Which isn’t even close to the original, but okay.
Eventually, the Sea Breeze evolved into the recipe we know it as now. It’s a simple blend of vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice.
If that drink recipe is reminding you of the Cosmopolitan, it should. That one also features cranberry grape fruit juice, but was citron vodka, Rose’s Sweetened lime juice, and Cointreau. The Cosmopolitan has a lot more citrus flavor going on than the Sea Breeze.
The taste of a Sea Breeze
The taste of a Sea Breeze is tart and refreshing. It’s simple and straightforward, without any complicated notes or underlying flavors that take some getting used to.
It’s a terrific summer cocktail – not that it’s to be avoided the rest of the year. The summer thing is kind of traditional, but traditions were made to be broken. Or something like that.
It’s perfect for sipping by the beach, but it’s also great for a night out dancing. You can even enjoy one of these with a meal. Try it with any kind of turkey sandwich – the cranberry juice goes perfectly with turkey, just like cranberry sauce.
How strong is it?
The Sea Breeze uses the standard 1 1/2 ounces of alcohol that you find most cocktails. Because it contains so much fruit juice relative to the alcohol, it’s a little bit on the weak side.
That makes it really really nice choice for occasional drinkers. And also for anytime you want to drink you can really enjoy sipping along on without worrying so much about it knocking you off your feet.
It’s a long drink, so it takes longer for you to drink all the alcohol (compared to, say, a classic Martini). And the alcohol is diluted by all the fruit juice as it hits your system.
Shaken or Stirred?
You can mix this drink just by pouring all the ingredients into a glass with ice and giving it a good stir. Or you can check everything together in a cocktail shaker and then strain the mixture into a glass of ice.
Neither method will make a difference with the flavor. Shaking gives it a little more of a foamy texture, just like what you get when you shake a bottle of fruit juice.
If you like that one…
If the Sea Breeze is right up your alley, you should also try the Mountain Breeze, which tastes similar but is much stronger with just about every liquor you could throw into a drink.
And speaking of which type of grapefruit juice you want: most everywhere this recipe appears, it just says “grapefruit juice” without specifying pink or white. Because all the sweetness and the strength comes from fruit juices, you probably want to make it with pink grapefruit juice. But if you like your drinks dry, you should probably try it with white grapefruit juice and see which you prefer.
Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice is also worth the effort. Chances are, all the grapefruit sold in your local grocery store will be pink because almost no one sells white grapefruits anymore.
But if you don’t have the time to squeeze grapefruits, or they’re out of season in your area, the bottled stuff will still taste great. Fresh squeezed is just like an added bonus to the flavor.
You don’t need to break out the top shelf vodka for this one. Because it’s so overwhelmed by the fruit juices, you won’t taste the vodka all that clearly.
If you want, however, you can play around with flavored vodka. Use a cranberry or grapefruit flavored vodka instead of plain, and you’ll intensify that fruit flavor in your drink.
Option 1: Stirred
- Pour the vodka into a highball glass over ice.
- Pour in the grapefruit juice.
- Stir them both together.
- Pour in the cranberry.
- Stir until the drink is all one color.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
Option 2: Shaken
Because cranberry juice isn't all that sweet, you should probably use pink grapefruit rather than white in this drink. But some people prefer white, which is more tart and less sweet.