You Can Thank Ocean Spray For The Rise Of The Sea Breeze Cocktail

Among the many breezy cocktails of the world, the Sea Breeze might be one of the most iconic. Cranberry and vodka have always had a solid relationship, and the inclusion of cranberry juice in the Sea Breeze is simply an elevated expression of their love. 

The first Sea Breeze cocktail was created in the 1920s. Originally made with gin and grenadine, it soon evolved to include the addition of apricot brandy and lemon juice. It wasn't until the 1960s that the Sea Breeze we know today — made with cranberry, grapefruit, and vodka — was born. With only three ingredients, it's as easy to make as it is to drink, making it a perfect cocktail to sip in hot weather. While it's no surprise that this recipe is as esteemed as it is simple, it may be a bit of a revelation to learn that Ocean Spray perfected this famous pink drink.

Origins of the Sea Breeze

Ocean Spray was founded in Massachusetts in 1930 as a cooperative run by three independent cranberry farmers. The first few decades saw tremendous growth in the cranberry farming industry, but disaster struck in 1959 with a national cranberry panic. The discovery that cranberry bogs around the Pacific Northwest were contaminated by aminotriazole, an herbicide shown to cause cancer, effectively tanked the fruit's reputation for the better part of a decade.

So what do you do when your singular crop becomes a national pariah? You make the people fall in love again — and Ocean Spray knows better than anyone that the way to a nation's heart is almost entirely through their stomachs. So, in the 1960s, Ocean Spray decided to release recipe booklets to share all the wonderful applications of the tart fruit. This is where the first recipe for the cranberry Ocean Breeze cocktail appeared, as well as Ocean Spray's version of the Sea Breeze, in the popular form that we know and love it today. Consumers were quickly drawn to the fruity addition, which just goes to show that you can't keep a good idea down for long.