Sunrise Cocktail Recipe

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Sunrise 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 Sunrise cocktail, also known as the Tequila Sunrise, was created in the 1930s in Mexico. It gained popularity in the 1970s when it became the signature drink of the Rolling Stones during their 'Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise' tour. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy fruity and refreshing drinks with a hint of tequila.

  • Origin: Mexico
  • Popularized by: Rolling Stones
  • Ideal for: Summer parties, beach vacations, and music events

How Sunrise Tastes?

The Sunrise cocktail has a sweet and tangy taste, with a hint of tequila. It is fruity, refreshing, and slightly sour, making it perfect for warm weather and outdoor events.

Interesting facts about Sunrise

  • The name 'Tequila Sunrise' comes from the way the grenadine sinks to the bottom of the glass, creating a sunrise effect.
  • The Rolling Stones helped popularize the drink during their 1972 tour, which was dubbed the 'Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise' tour.
  • The Tequila Sunrise is often served in a highball glass, allowing for the beautiful gradient effect to be showcased.



The heart of the cocktail, it provides a smooth, agave-based kick that's quintessential to the character of the Sunrise. Use too little and you might as well be sipping OJ at breakfast; too much and you could mistake sunrise for sunset after a few sips. Alternatives include Mezcal for a smokier touch, or a non-alcoholic spirit for a mocktail version.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Juice

This isn't just for warding off scurvy; it's the sunny disposition in a glass. OJ brings freshness and balances the boldness of the tequila. Without it, our 'Sunrise' would be more like a cloudy day. Opt for freshly squeezed orange juice to really see the sunrise shine.

Mary Mitkina


This ruby syrup isn't just for show; it's the sweet blush in the morning sky of our drink. The density creates the sunrise effect and adds a hint of fruitiness. Leaving it out? Say goodbye to the sunrise ritual and hello to a plain tequila screwdriver. A dash of raspberry or pomegranate syrup could be a fun twist if you're feeling adventurous.

Alex Green


Keeps the drink cool, like a fresh dawn breeze. No ice could lead to a lukewarm beginning, just as disappointing as a rained-out sunrise. Crushed ice works too and chills the drink faster, but will dilute it quicker!

Mary Mitkina

Orange Slice

Setting the scene with its citrusy arc on the rim of your glass—this garnish adds flair and a hint of extra flavor. Without it, it's not the end of the world, but why miss the chance to dress up the occasion?

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry

It's the proverbial cherry on top that adds a pop of color and a touch of sweetness, hinting at the fruitiness to come from the grenadine. Skip it, and the drink loses a bit of its pizzazz.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Sunrise Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour 2 oz of tequila over the ice.
  3. Add 4 oz of orange juice to the glass and stir gently.
  4. Slowly pour 0.5 oz of grenadine into the glass, allowing it to sink to the bottom and create the sunrise effect.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Pour the grenadine slowly to create the perfect sunrise effect.
  • Use freshly squeezed orange juice for a more refreshing taste.
  • Chill the glass beforehand to keep the cocktail cooler for longer.

Perfect Pairings

Brunch Foods

  • Eggs Benedict: The bright citrus notes cut through the rich hollandaise sauce.
  • Pancakes or Waffles: Add a vibrant touch to your sweet breakfast with the refreshing taste of this cocktail.
  • Bacon or Sausage: The saltiness of the meat complements the sweetness of the grenadine and orange juice.


  • Shrimp Cocktail: Seafood pairs well with the citrus flavor profile.
  • Chips and Salsa: The zesty flavors from the salsa harmonize with the crispness of the Sunrise cocktail.
  • Cheese Platter: The variety of flavors from the cheese pairs nicely with the complexity of the cocktail.


  • Fruit Tarts: The fruity cocktail enhances the sweetness of the tarts.
  • Sorbet: A refreshing ending to a meal that matches the lightness of the Sunrise cocktail.

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What you could change in Sunrise

  • Tequila: Can be replaced with vodka or rum.
  • Orange Juice: Can be substituted with pineapple juice or grapefruit juice.
  • Grenadine: Can be replaced with a dash of cranberry juice for a less sweet option.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Tropical Sunrise

Substitute Orange Juice with Pineapple Juice. Add a splash of coconut cream. Transform the classic into a tropical escape. The pineapple juice adds a tangy twist, while the coconut cream lays down a smooth wave of flavor that will have you dreaming of palm trees instead of orange groves.


Swap Grenadine for Blackberry Liqueur. Use pink grapefruit juice instead of orange juice. As the evening arrives, let's turn our Sunrise into a Sunset. The darker hues of blackberry liqueur offer a richer experience, and the grapefruit provides a bittersweet edge, much like the end of a perfect day.

Pomegranate Sunrise

Use Pomegranate Juice in place of Grenadine. Let the deeper tones of pomegranate juice paint your sunrise with a sophisticated brush. Pomegranate adds a tart complexity that takes the cocktail from a simple morning greeting to a herald of the day ahead.

In case you forgot basics how to make Sunrise

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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 Sunrise

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Sunrise cocktail?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version of the Sunrise cocktail can be made by simply omitting the tequila and increasing the amount of orange juice.

What are some variations of the Sunrise cocktail?

Some variations include the Tequila Sunset, which uses blackcurrant cordial instead of grenadine, and the Florida Sunrise, swapping the tequila for orange-flavoured vodka.

What would be an ideal time to have this cocktail?

The Sunrise cocktail is a great brunch drink given its citrusy flavour, or you can have it during a cocktail party or a summer gathering.

What are the health benefits of the ingredients used in the Sunrise cocktail?

Orange juice is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, grenadine is pomegranate syrup which is also high in antioxidants while tequila is known for aiding digestion when consumed in moderation.

Does the Sunrise cocktail pair well with any particular food?

Given its citrus flavor, the Sunrise cocktail pairs well with Mexican, seafood, and light dishes.

How long does it take to prepare a Sunrise cocktail?

The preparation for a Sunrise cocktail is relatively quick and usually takes no more than 5 minutes.

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