Cactus Cooler Cocktail Recipe

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Cactus Cooler Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:12

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Cactus Cooler cocktail is inspired by the popular Cactus Cooler soda, which originated in Southern California in the 1960s. The soda is known for its unique blend of orange and pineapple flavors, and the cocktail version adds a boozy twist to this classic taste. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy fruity, tropical drinks and is especially popular during the summer months.

  • Origin: Southern California
  • Inspired by Cactus Cooler soda
  • Popular during summer months

How Cactus Cooler Tastes?

The Cactus Cooler cocktail is a delightful blend of sweet, tangy, and fruity flavors. The orange and pineapple juices provide a tropical taste, while the vodka and peach schnapps add a subtle kick. The overall taste is refreshing, bright, and perfect for warm weather.

Interesting facts about Cactus Cooler

  • The Cactus Cooler cocktail is named after the popular soda from Southern California.
  • The soda was first introduced in the 1960s and is still enjoyed today.
  • The cocktail version adds a boozy twist to the classic soda flavor.


A few good options for Cactus Cooler are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


  • Why: Vodka is the canvas here, providing a strong yet neutral alcohol base that lets the fruity flavors shine.
  • What if you don’t use it: Without vodka, you're basically left with a virgin peach and citrus punch – still tasty, but missing the kick!
  • Alternatives: Switch to white rum for a more tropical twist, but expect a slightly sweeter, molasses note.

Emma Rose

Peach Schnapps

  • Why: Peach schnapps brings a sweet, fruity flavor that bridges the vodka and the juices.
  • What if you don’t use it: The cocktail loses a layer of depth and fruitiness.
  • Alternatives: Try apricot brandy for a similar profile with a touch more sophistication.

Alex Green

Orange Juice

  • Why: This juice adds a fresh citrus zing, vital for balancing the sweet peachy notes.
  • What if you don’t use it: The drink would be less complex and the absence of the tang would be noticeable.
  • Alternatives: Mandarin or blood orange juice could offer a fun color twist and a slightly different citrus profile.

Mary Mitkina

Pineapple Juice

  • Why: Pineapple juice gives a tropical flair and adds sweetness and acidity.
  • What if you don’t use it: The cocktail would miss the tropical character and might taste flat.
  • Alternatives: Mango juice could be a great sub, though the drink will be sweeter and lack some tartness.

Emma Rose


  • Why: Ice chills the drink, enhancing its refreshing quality and diluting it slightly to mellow the flavors.
  • What if you don’t use it: A warm cocktail? Yikes. That’s a non-starter.
  • Alternatives: Crushed ice for a slushier texture, but watch out – it dilutes faster!

Alex Green

Orange Slice and Maraschino Cherry

  • Why: The garnish adds visual appeal and a hint of extra fruitiness.
  • What if you don’t use it: You lose some 'gram-worthy aesthetics and the tiny flavor boost.
  • Alternatives: A pineapple wedge or lime wheel could also work well and maintain the tropical theme.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Cactus Cooler Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add 1.5 oz of vodka, 1 oz of peach schnapps, 2 oz of orange juice, and 2 oz of pineapple juice to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh orange and pineapple juices for the best flavor.
  • Chill your glass beforehand for an extra refreshing cocktail.
  • Adjust the ratio of vodka and peach schnapps to your taste preference.

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled Shrimp: The sweetness of the cocktail complements the slight char and savory flavors of grilled shrimp.
  • Fruit Salad: The citrus and peach notes pair nicely with a fresh, summery fruit salad.

Main Courses

  • Teriyaki Chicken: The fruity flavors of the cocktail can cut through the richness of a glazed teriyaki chicken.
  • Fish Tacos: With a lime-infused slaw, the Cactus Cooler's tropical vibe is a perfect match.


  • Lemon Tart: The tartness of the lemon contrasts pleasantly with the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Simplicity at its best, vanilla ice cream allows the cocktail to shine.

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What you could change in Cactus Cooler

  • Vodka: You can replace vodka with gin or tequila for a different flavor profile.
  • Peach Schnapps: If you don't have peach schnapps, you can use peach liqueur or apricot brandy.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Spicy Cactus Cooler

  • Add a small slice of jalapeño to the shaker before adding the ingredients.
  • The cocktail gains a kick, flirting with your taste buds between the sweet and spicy.
  • The jalapeño's heat will balance the sweetness, providing a bold contrast to the fruity taste.

Cactus Cooler Highball

  • Use sparkling water or club soda to top off the cocktail in a highball glass.
  • This variation introduces a refreshing effervescence.
  • A fizzier experience that lightens the drink and makes it even more refreshing on a hot day.

Berry Cactus Cooler

  • Substitute 1 oz of raspberry or strawberry puree for some of the orange juice.
  • The cocktail becomes a berry paradise with a deep, rich color.
  • This twist provides a berry blast alongside the tropical vibes, for those who love a more berry-forward flavor profile.

In case you forgot basics how to make Cactus Cooler

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Cactus Cooler

Is the Cactus Cooler a sweet or dry cocktail?

The Cactus Cooler cocktail is more on the sweet side because of the fruit juices and Peach Schnapps. However, its sweetness is balanced by the vodka, making it a well-rounded drink.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of this drink?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version can be made by simply omitting the vodka and Peach Schnapps. You can substitute them with more fruit juice or soda water.

Can I use canned or packaged fruit juice for this cocktail?

Yes, you can. However, using fresh fruit juice is recommended for a fresher and more vibrant flavor.

What food pairs well with the Cactus Cooler cocktail?

This cocktail pairs well with light seafood dishes, such as grilled shrimp or fish tacos.

Can I make this cocktail in a large batch for parties?

Yes, you can easily multiply the recipe to accommodate the number of guests you're serving. Make sure to adjust the amount of alcohol accordingly to keep the cocktail balanced and flavorful.

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