Sea Breezes evoke images of Nantucket reds, trips out on the family yacht and East Coast fishing towns circa the 1970s. Originally, though, the Sea Breeze had nothing to do with the sea or anything native to New England. When it first came into existence in the 1920s, it was made with just gin and hibiscus grenadine. By the end of Prohibition, apricot brandy and lemon juice entered into the mix. In short, it was nothing like the cocktail we know it as today—that was the doing of the Cranberry Growers Association.
In an effort to market cranberry juice as a cocktail mixer in the late 1950s, the association created a new family of cocktails known as Breezes (which included the Bay Breeze, Hawaiian Breeze, the Cape Codder and, of course, the Sea Breeze). Unfortunately for Ocean Spray, the campaign was a flop. Shortly after it launched, the Health Department claimed that cranberry crops were poisoned with toxic herbicides and unsafe for consumption. Eventually, though, cranberry juice was deemed safe again and the Sea Breeze went on to become one of the 1970s most popular cocktails.