Sundowner Cocktail Recipe

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Sundowner Nutrition Facts






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 Sundowner cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the early 20th century. It was originally created by British expatriates living in colonial Africa, who would enjoy the cocktail while watching the sun set over the African plains. The Sundowner has since become a popular choice for those looking to unwind after a long day, and is often enjoyed at beach bars and tropical resorts.

  • The name 'Sundowner' is derived from the tradition of enjoying the drink while watching the sun set
  • It is a popular choice for those looking to relax and unwind
  • The cocktail has a tropical and exotic feel, making it a favorite at beach bars and resorts

How Sundowner Tastes?

The Sundowner cocktail is a refreshing and well-balanced drink with a sweet and tangy flavor profile. It has a fruity taste, with hints of citrus and tropical fruits, and a slightly bitter undertone from the Campari. The cocktail is light and easy to drink, making it perfect for sipping on a warm summer evening.

Interesting facts about Sundowner

  • The Sundowner is often served in a highball glass, which allows for plenty of ice to keep the drink cold
  • The cocktail is sometimes garnished with a slice of orange or a cherry, adding a pop of color and a hint of sweetness
  • The Sundowner is a versatile drink that can be easily adapted to suit individual tastes, with variations including the addition of different fruit juices or swapping out the Campari for another bitter liqueur


A few good options for Sundowner are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


With a neutral flavor, 1.5oz of vodka is just enough to establish a boozy base without overpowering the fruit juices. Too little, you're at brunch; too much, you're hailing a cab home. Skip it, and you've got a fancy fruit punch.

Alex Green

Orange Juice

The 3oz of orange juice adds a zesty, refreshing layer and Vitamin C (because health is wealth, right?). Its sweetness balances Campari's bitterness. Without it, the drink loses its sunshiny vibe.

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice

Another 3oz of pineapple juice gives the cocktail a tropical twist. It's like taking your taste buds on a vacation. If omitted, your cocktail might taste like a bittersweet memory of a summer fling.

Mary Mitkina


The 0.5oz of Campari provides a slightly bitter edge, pulling the cocktail back from cloying sweetness. It's the person at the party who tells puns - necessary in small amounts. Leave it out, and you miss the complexity.

Alex Green


We use ice as needed to chill and slightly dilute the drink. Ice also makes the cocktail more refreshing, as cool as an ocean breeze. No ice, and it's like wearing a sweater on the beach.

Emma Rose

Orange Slice

An orange slice garnish isn't just for looks; it hints at the citrus notes before you even take a sip. It's the welcome sign to Flavor Town.

Mary Mitkina


A cherry says 'party' like nothing else. Plus, it's a tasty booze-infused treat at the end. It's the cherry on top—literally.

Alex Green


  • Swap vodka with white rum for a Caribbean take.
  • Try cranberry juice instead of orange to add tartness.
  • Mix in some soda water for a fizzy variation.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Sundowner Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice
  2. In a shaker, combine the vodka, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Campari
  3. Shake well to mix the ingredients
  4. Strain the mixture into the highball glass over the ice
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh fruit juice for a more vibrant and refreshing taste
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail colder for longer
  • Shake the ingredients well to ensure a well-mixed and balanced cocktail

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled shrimp: The sweet and tangy flavors of the cocktail complement seafood, particularly grilled shrimp with light seasoning.
  • Cheese platter: Opt for mild cheeses like mozzarella or feta to balance the cocktail's sweetness.

Main Course

  • Grilled chicken: A herby grilled chicken pairs well with the citrus notes of Sundowner.
  • Fish tacos: The light and fruity profile of the drink goes along with the freshness of fish tacos.

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What you could change in Sundowner

  • Vodka: Can be replaced with white rum or gin for a different flavor profile
  • Orange Juice: Can be substituted with grapefruit juice or a mix of citrus juices
  • Campari: Can be swapped out for another bitter liqueur like Aperol or Fernet

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Sundowner Spritz

  • Replace Campari with Aperol for a lighter, sweeter taste.
  • Add 2oz of prosecco for a bubbly twist.
  • Follow the original recipe, topping with prosecco instead of shaking with ice.
  • The taste will be more floral and less bitter, with an effervescence that elevates the drink.

Spicy Sundowner

  • Add a thin slice of jalapeño to the shaker.
  • Use mango juice instead of pineapple for extra sweetness to counter the spice.
  • The heat from the jalapeño will give a zesty kick that complements the sweetness of the juices.

Sundowner Mocktail

  • Omit vodka and Campari.
  • Use a splash of non-alcoholic Aperitif to get the bitter notes.
  • This non-alcoholic version maintains the fruity, refreshing taste with a touch of complexity from the Aperitif.

In case you forgot basics how to make Sundowner

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 Sundowner

What type of vodka is best for making a Sundowner cocktail?

Any kind of vodka can be used, though a top-shelf vodka will likely enhance the overall taste of the cocktail.

Can I make a Sundowner cocktail if I don't have a shaker?

Yes. Although a shaker helps mix the juices with the alcohol smoothly, you can also stir the ingredients together in a glass.

Is the Sundowner cocktail suitable for a winter drink menu?

Absolutely! Despite its tropical origins and flavor, the Sundowner can be enjoyed any time of the year.

What is the alcohol content of the Sundowner cocktail?

The exact alcohol content of a Sundowner depends on the amount and type of vodka used as well as how much juice is added. However, the cocktail is generally considered a moderate-alcohol drink.

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