The “Sex on the Beach” cocktail is one of the most famous cocktails in the world not only because of its daring name, but also due to its refreshing and exquisite taste. Unfortunately, the origins of this cocktail are not known, although there are accounts of it being invented during a competition in the 1980s. It seems to be linked, in fact, with the launching of a then-new product, peach schnapps, which was promoted by the Republic National Distributor in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Precisely, the year was 1987 and, in order to promote the product and prepare for the upcoming tourist season, the National created a contest whereby the bar that would be able to sell the most peach schnapps would receive a prize consisting of $100.
The one who invented the best mixed drink and thus managed to sell the most peach schnapps was a bartender named Tom Pizio, who worked at Confetti’s. There, he mixed peach schnapps with vodka, grenadine and orange juice. When he was asked what the name of the beverage was, he thought he was being asked why people came to Ft. Lauderdale on spring break, and his quick answer was: for sex on the beach. He and his drink gained immediate popularity; the drink got the name “Sex on the Beach” cocktail and all the people and students who went back to their home states later started asking their local bars to prepare them the drink.
Because of this confusion, because bartenders would ask how the drink was prepared, there have appeared numerous variations of the “Sex on the Beach” cocktail. Today, there are two main variations of the mixed drink; the International Bartender’s Association official recipe for this cocktail specifies using
All the ingredients are gently poured into a highball glass which has been previously filled with ice; they are stirred and then straws and an orange slice are added as garnish. The other main variation, as presented in Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide is made using vodka, pineapple juice, Chambord, Midori Melon Liqueur and cranberry juice. Here, the bartender is supposed to shake all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and serve in a highball glass as well. This variation is also sometimes served in shots.
Other variations use grenadine instead of cranberry juice, some add amaretto, sometimes the vodka is replaced by coconut rum, or simply add both orange and pineapple juice. Popular variations of the “Sex on the Beach” cocktail are the “Sex on Fire” where vodka is replaced by Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey or the “Woo Woo” which is made without orange juice.