Sea Breeze: Easy 3-Ingredient Cocktail [The Ultimate Recipe]

The Sea Breeze cocktail is a popular, refreshing drink made with vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice, served in a highball glass with ice. It is known for its tart and sweet flavor profile, with a visually appealing pink hue. This cocktail is often garnished with a slice of grapefruit or lime, adding to its aesthetic and taste. Ideal for summer events and casual gatherings, it pairs well with seafood and light appetizers. The Sea Breeze rose to popularity in the late 20th century, becoming a staple in bars for its simplicity and delightful taste.

Ingredients for Sea Breeze Cocktail

The Sea Breeze cocktail, a refreshing and tangy drink, primarily comprises 30 ml (1 oz) of vodka, 30 ml (1 oz) of grapefruit juice, and 90 ml (3 oz) of cranberry juice.

  1. Vodka: 30 ml (1 oz) – forms the alcoholic base.
  2. Grapefruit Juice: 30 ml (1 oz) – adds a tangy twist.
  3. Cranberry Juice: 90 ml (3 oz) – imparts sweetness and color.
  4. Ice – for shaking
  5. Slice of grapefruit – optional, for garnish.

This mixture creates a delightful balance of flavors, with the vodka providing a smooth base, the grapefruit juice adding a tart zestiness, and the cranberry juice offering a sweet, fruity finish. The ingredients are effortlessly combined in a highball glass filled with ice, making it an ideal choice for a summer refreshment or a casual social gathering.

Ingredient Substitutes for Sea Breeze Cocktail

For those looking to experiment or substitute ingredients in a Sea Breeze cocktail, there are several alternatives. Instead of vodka, one can use gin for a more herbal undertone or white rum for a sweeter profile. If grapefruit juice is too tart, orange juice or pineapple juice can be used for a sweeter, more tropical flavor. For cranberry juice, pomegranate juice serves as a great alternative, offering a similar color and a slightly different fruity taste.

  • Vodka Alternatives: Gin for herbal notes, White Rum for sweetness.
  • Grapefruit Juice Substitutes: Orange Juice for sweetness, Pineapple Juice for tropical flavor.
  • Cranberry Juice Alternatives: Pomegranate Juice for a similar fruity taste.

Ingredient Proportions for Sea Breeze Cocktail

The ideal ratio for a Sea Breeze cocktail is 1 part vodka, 1 part grapefruit juice, and 3 parts cranberry juice, equating to 30 ml (1 oz) vodka, 30 ml (1 oz) grapefruit juice, and 90 ml (3 oz) cranberry juice.

This proportion creates a harmonious balance between the smoothness of the vodka and the contrasting tartness of the grapefruit juice, complemented by the sweet and fruity cranberry juice.

While this ratio is widely recommended, the proportions can be adjusted according to personal preference to suit individual tastes, making the Sea Breeze a versatile and customizable cocktail.

  • Ideal Ratio: 1 part vodka, 1 part grapefruit juice, 3 parts cranberry juice.
  • Measurements: 30 ml (1 oz) vodka, 30 ml (1 oz) grapefruit juice, 90 ml (3 oz) cranberry juice.
  • Customization: Proportions can be modified for personal taste preferences.

Best Ingredients for Sea Breeze Cocktail

For the best Sea Breeze cocktail experience, use high-quality ingredients. A smooth, clean-tasting vodka is essential as it forms the base of the drink. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice offers a more vibrant and tangy flavor compared to store-bought varieties. Similarly, using a good-quality cranberry juice that is not too sweet or artificial enhances the cocktail’s sweetness and depth of flavor. While specific brands aren’t necessary, choosing premium, fresh ingredients elevates the overall taste and experience of the Sea Breeze.

  • Vodka: Smooth and clean-tasting.
  • Grapefruit Juice: Freshly squeezed for vibrancy.
  • Cranberry Juice: Good quality for depth of flavor.

Flavor Profile of Sea Breeze Cocktail

In Sea Breeze, the vodka provides a smooth and neutral canvas, allowing the distinct tastes of grapefruit and cranberry to shine. Grapefruit juice adds a bright, citrusy tartness, while cranberry juice contributes a sweet, fruity contrast.

This combination results in a drink that is both thirst-quenching and easy to drink, appealing to a wide range of palates. The Sea Breeze is characterized by its light and refreshing taste, making it a popular choice for casual sipping and social occasions.

  • Vodka: Smooth and neutral base.
  • Grapefruit Juice: Citrusy and tart.
  • Cranberry Juice: Sweet and fruity.
  • Overall: Refreshing, light, and easy to drink.

Tools & Equipment for Sea Breeze Cocktail

Creating the perfect Sea Breeze cocktail requires a few essential tools and pieces of equipment. A highball glass is the ideal vessel for serving, offering the perfect size and shape to showcase the drink’s vibrant color. A jigger is recommended for precise measurement of the ingredients, ensuring the perfect balance of flavors. Additionally, a bar spoon or stirrer is needed to mix the ingredients gently in the glass, integrating the flavors without diluting the drink excessively.

  1. Highball Glass: Ideal for serving.
  2. Jigger: For precise measurements.
  3. Bar Spoon: To mix ingredients gently.

Instructions for Preparation of Sea Breeze Cocktail

The preparation of a Sea Breeze cocktail is straightforward, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced cocktail enthusiasts. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Measure Ingredients: Using a jigger, measure 30 ml (1 oz) of vodka, 30 ml (1 oz) of grapefruit juice, and 90 ml (3 oz) of cranberry juice.
  2. Add Ingredients to Glass: Pour the measured vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice into the glass.
  3. Add Ice: Fill up the highball glass with ice cubes to the brim.
  4. Mix: Use a bar spoon or stirrer to gently mix the ingredients in the glass.
  5. Garnish and Serve: Optionally, garnish with a slice of grapefruit for an extra touch of elegance. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Pro Tip: You can stir the drink both before and after adding ice to make sure the ingredients are properly incorporated.

Stir or Shake Sea Breeze Cocktail?

When preparing a Sea Breeze cocktail, it’s best to stir the ingredients rather than shake them. Stirring is the preferred method as it gently integrates the vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice, maintaining the clarity and integrity of the drink. Shaking could lead to over-dilution and a cloudy appearance, which isn’t ideal for the light, refreshing nature of a Sea Breeze.

  • Stirring: Preferred method for clarity and gentle mixing.
  • Avoid Shaking: Prevents over-dilution and cloudiness.

Ice, Chilling & Dilution of Sea Breeze Cocktail

Ice plays a significant role in the Sea Breeze cocktail, not only chilling the drink but also contributing to slight dilution, which is desirable for balancing the flavors. Use large, solid ice cubes that melt slowly, reducing the risk of over-diluting the drink. Pre-chilling the highball glass enhances the refreshing quality of the cocktail. Fill the glass with ice cubes to the brim to ensure the drink remains cold throughout.

  • Large, Solid Ice Cubes: For slow melting and minimal dilution.
  • Pre-Chill Glass: Enhances the cocktail’s refreshing quality.
  • Fill Glass with Ice: To keep the drink cold.

Scaling Sea Breeze Cocktail for a Group

To serve a Sea Breeze cocktail to a group, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of servings required. For instance, for a group of four, use 120 ml (4 oz) of vodka, 120 ml (4 oz) of grapefruit juice, and 360 ml (12 oz) of cranberry juice. Prepare in a large pitcher or jug, stir gently, and serve in individual highball glasses filled with ice. This method maintains the balance of flavors and ensures each serving is as enjoyable as the last.

  • Multiply Ingredients: By the number of servings.
  • Prepare in Pitcher/Jug: For ease of serving.
  • Serve in Individual Glasses: Filled with ice.

Troubleshooting Common Mistakes: Sea Breeze Cocktail

One of the biggest mistakes when making a Sea Breeze cocktail is incorrect ingredient proportions, which can throw off the balance of flavors. Over-dilution is another common issue, often caused by using small, fast-melting ice cubes or over-stirring. Not pre-chilling the glass can result in a less refreshing drink. Lastly, using low-quality ingredients, especially juices, can significantly affect the overall taste and experience of the cocktail.

  • Correct Ingredient Proportions: Essential for flavor balance.
  • Avoid Over-Dilution: Use large ice cubes and stir gently.
  • Pre-Chill Glass: For a more refreshing cocktail.
  • Use High-Quality Ingredients: Especially important for juices.

Presentation of Sea Breeze Cocktail

The presentation of the Sea Breeze cocktail is as important as its preparation, contributing to the overall enjoyment and aesthetic appeal of the drink.

Glassware for Sea Breeze Cocktail

The classic choice for serving a Sea Breeze cocktail is a highball glass. Its tall, narrow shape is perfect for showcasing the vibrant color of the cocktail and allows ample room for ice, keeping the drink chilled.

For a more modern twist, a Collins glass can be used, which is similar to a highball but slightly taller and thinner. A stemless wine glass is another alternative, offering a contemporary and casual look.

  • Highball Glass: Traditional and ideal for presentation.
  • Collins Glass: A taller, thinner alternative.
  • Stemless Wine Glass: Contemporary, casual option.

Garnish for Sea Breeze Cocktail

A classic garnish for the Sea Breeze is a lime wedge or a thin slice of grapefruit. These citrus garnishes add a touch of elegance and a hint of additional flavor to the drink.

For a creative twist, consider adding a sprig of fresh mint for a refreshing aroma, or a skewer of fresh berries (such as cranberries or raspberries) to complement the fruity flavors of the cocktail. Edible flowers can also be used for a visually striking presentation.

  • Lime Wedge or Grapefruit Slice: Classic and elegant.
  • Fresh Mint Sprig: Adds a refreshing aroma.
  • Berry Skewer: Complements fruity flavors.
  • Edible Flowers: For a visually striking presentation.

 Variations & Riffs on Sea Breeze Cocktail

Discovering variations of the Sea Breeze cocktail broadens its appeal. The Bay Breeze with pineapple juice offers a tropical spin, while the Madras’ orange juice caters to sweeter palates. The Cape Codder simplifies to vodka and cranberry. The Greyhound (Salty Dog) focuses on grapefruit and vodka. Harvey Wallbanger and Sex on the Beach introduce unique elements like Galliano and peach schnapps, diversifying the flavor profile of the classic cocktail.

  1. Bay Breeze: Pineapple instead of grapefruit.
  2. Madras: Swaps grapefruit for orange juice.
  3. Salty Dog (Greyhound): Grapefruit juice and vodka.
  4. Cape Codder: Just vodka and cranberry.
  5. Harvey Wallbanger: Adds Galliano.
  6. Sex on the Beach: Peach schnapps addition.

Experimenting with Your Own Sea Breeze Riff

Creating a personal riff on the Sea Breeze involves experimenting with spirits, juices, and garnishes. Try flavored vodkas, tequila, or rum for a different base. Swap grapefruit with lemon, orange or blood orange for varied acidity. Infuse vodka with herbs or spices for depth, or use tropical juices like mango for a fruity twist. Add bitters or syrups for complexity and top with soda or sparkling wine for fizz. Unique garnishes can enhance the visual appeal.

  • Spirits: Flavored vodka, tequila, rum.
  • Citrus: Lemon, orange, blood orange.
  • Infusions: Herbs, spices.
  • Tropical Juices: Mango, guava.
  • Add-ins: Bitters, syrups.
  • Fizzy Elements: Soda, champagne.
  • Garnishes: Exotic fruits, zest rims.

Serving Occasions for Sea Breeze Cocktail

The Sea Breeze cocktail, known for its refreshing and light profile, is perfectly suited for a variety of occasions. It’s a popular choice for summer gatherings, beach parties, and poolside lounging due to its cooling effect. The cocktail’s elegant appearance and balanced flavor also make it a great option for brunches, dinner parties, and happy hours. Its versatility allows it to fit seamlessly into both casual and formal events, making it a go-to choice for cocktail enthusiasts looking to enjoy a drink that’s both delightful and easy to sip.

  • Summer Gatherings: Ideal for outdoor, warm-weather events.
  • Brunches: A refreshing daytime drink.
  • Dinner Parties and Happy Hours: Elegant and balanced for formal and casual settings.

Food Pairings with Sea Breeze Cocktail

Pairing food with a Sea Breeze cocktail enhances the overall dining experience. The cocktail’s tartness and sweetness pair well with seafood, particularly lighter dishes like grilled shrimp or salmon. It also complements salads with vinaigrette dressings, balancing the acidity with its fruity notes. For appetizers, consider pairing with bruschetta or light cheese platters. The Sea Breeze’s refreshing quality cuts through the richness of creamy dishes, making it a suitable accompaniment to pasta with white sauces or creamy chicken dishes.

  • Seafood: Shrimp, salmon, light fish dishes.
  • Salads: Especially with vinaigrette dressings.
  • Appetizers: Bruschetta, light cheese platters.
  • Creamy Dishes: Pasta with white sauces, creamy chicken.

Why is the cocktail called a Sea Breeze?

The cocktail “Sea Breeze” likely got its name from the visual and taste experience it offers. The vibrant red hue of the cranberry juice in the drink evokes images of a stunning coastal sunset, while its refreshing taste is reminiscent of a gentle sea breeze. This combination of visual appeal and flavor likely inspired mixologists to name the cocktail “Sea Breeze”.

Sea Breeze Cocktail

Sea Breeze - Cocktail Recipe

The Sea Breeze cocktail, a blend of vodka, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice, is a visually stunning, pink-hued drink known for its refreshing tartness and sweetness. Served in a highball glass with a grapefruit or lime garnish, it's perfect for summer events and pairs beautifully with light seafood and appetizers. This easy-to-make cocktail has risen to popularity for its delightful taste and simple elegance.
Total Time 3 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Highball glass
  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Bar spoon (or stirrer)


  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Grapefruit juice
  • 3 oz Cranberry juice (or to taste)
  • 1 slice Grapefruit (optional - for garnish)
  • Ice cubes


  • Measure Vodka: Pour vodka into a highball glass.
  • Add Grapefruit Juice: Follow with grapefruit juice.
  • Add Cranberry Juice: Then top up with cranberry juice.
  • Add Ice: Fill up the glass with ice cubes to the top.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon or stirrer to mix the ingredients well.
  • Garnish: Finish by garnishing with a slice of grapefruit.
  • Serve: Present the cocktail immediately for the best taste and refreshment.


Calories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 113mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 52IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.3mg
Calories: 118kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: cranberry, grapefruit, vodka
  1. Prepare the Glass: Start by filling a highball glass with ice cubes to the top.
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