The Easiest Way To Remember The Difference Between A Sea And Bay Breeze

There is a reason so many people love Sea Breeze and Bay Breeze cocktails: They're as delicious and refreshing as they are simple and quick to make. That being said, with names and ingredients that are so similar, how can someone make sure they're whipping up the right drink?

First, it's essential to establish the difference between them. A traditional Sea Breeze is a three-ingredient cocktail of 1 oz of vodka mixed with 3 oz of cranberry juice and ¾ oz of grapefruit juice. On the other hand, a Bay Breeze uses the same proportions but swaps out the grapefruit juice for pineapple juice. 

A clever bartender's trick for telling these two cocktails apart is remembering the phrase, "The bay is less choppy than the sea." Here, the "choppiness" refers to the sourness and tartness introduced into the Sea Breeze by grapefruit, while the calmer waters of the bay are created by sweet pineapple juice. Another trick is to think of the Bay Breeze by one of the other names it sometimes goes by, the Hawaiian Sea Breeze. The relationship between Hawaii and pineapples should help link the cocktail to the correct type of juice in your mind. 

The history of the Sea Breeze cocktail

The origins of these bright and tropical drinks date back more than half a century. The familiar vodka Sea Breeze was developed in the 1960s and became common in the nation's bars by the 1980s. It was created by adding grapefruit juice to the famous cranberry and vodka cocktail called the Cape Cod. These drinks — along with the sweeter, pineapple-laced Bay Breeze — were the product of a marketing campaign backed by Ocean Spray and other large cranberry producers, which aimed to improve sales after years of slumping interest. 

In the late 1950s, tests discovered some cranberries contained traces of aminotriazole, a powerful herbicide linked to cancer in lab rats, leading to warnings from government health authorities to avoid eating them. To aid economically suffering growers, Ocean Spray began producing recipe books designed to use cranberries in all sorts of dishes — including cocktails. With the same origin and similar goals, it's easy to see why the two cocktail recipes are so closely linked.

Don't stop with the Breezes if you're in a summery drinking mood. They're a great starting point for whipping up other tropical cocktails and can make your backyard feel more like a beach vacation when you're enjoying the warmer weather at home.