Back in the 1980s and 90s (yes, I’m old) the popular cocktails included the Sea Breeze, Bay Breeze, Cape Codder (or just Cape Cod) and other cranberry based drinks. While cranberry as an ingredient is still used quite a bit, it is not as popular as it once was.
What I found interesting was exactly HOW cranberry juice became so fashionable at the time.
Turns out, it is all thanks to a health scare in 1959. Some cranberries on the west coast were found to have a weed killer (aminotriazole) on them, which turned out to cause cancer in lab rats.
So the U.S. Secretary of Health advised everyone to maybe avoid cranberries from certain regions. But that affected all cranberry farmers and the Cranberry Growers Co-op was founded, which later became Ocean Spray.
Ocean Spray started marketing all sorts of food and drink recipes using the cranberry as an ingredient. One such drink was called the Harpoon and was simply gin and cranberry. This evolved to vodka and cranberry, which is the Cape Codder and somewhere along the way, as Ocean Spray’s efforts to instill its juice as a viable cocktail ingredient, gave way to the Sea Breeze by adding grapefruit to the Cape Codder. Variations just went from there.
Here are a few simple and popular cranberry based cocktails.
Cape Codder – vodka and cranberry juice over ice, optional squeeze of lime
Sea Breeze – vodka, equal parts cranberry and grapefruit juice, squeeze of lime
Bay Breeze – vodka, equal parts cranberry and pineapple juice, optional squeeze of lime
Malibu Bay Breeze – Malibu rum, equal parts cranberry and pineapple juice
Ocean Breeze – vodka, equal parts cranberry, grapefruit and pineapple juice
Cosmopolitan – vodka, equal parts triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice