Tequila Sunrise Cocktail Recipe

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Tequila 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 Tequila Sunrise is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1930s. It was first created in Arizona by a bartender named Gene Sulit, who wanted to create a refreshing drink that captured the essence of a beautiful sunrise. The cocktail gained popularity in the 1970s, thanks to the rock band The Eagles, who mentioned the drink in their hit song 'Tequila Sunrise'. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy fruity and refreshing drinks with a hint of tequila.

How Tequila Sunrise Tastes?

The Tequila Sunrise has a sweet and fruity taste, with a hint of sourness from the orange juice and grenadine. The tequila adds a subtle warmth and depth to the flavor, making it a well-balanced and satisfying drink.

Interesting facts about Tequila Sunrise

  • The name 'Tequila Sunrise' comes from the beautiful layered appearance of the drink, which resembles a sunrise.
  • The original recipe for the Tequila Sunrise included creme de cassis, lime juice, and soda water instead of grenadine and orange juice.
  • The Tequila Sunrise is often associated with the 1970s, as it was a popular drink during that time.


Tequila (2oz)

  • Why: Tequila is the spirit that gives this cocktail its backbone and distinctive Mexican flavor. It's smooth yet fiery and creates an exciting dance with the sweetness to come.
  • Without it: Omitting tequila from a Tequila Sunrise is like leaving the sun out of daytime; it simply doesn't shine as bright!
  • Alternatives: Mezcal can be used instead for a smokier touch. However, your sunrise might turn into a smoky sunset!

Alex Green

Orange Juice (4oz)

  • Why: It's all about balance! Orange juice brings a fruity sweetness and tartness that perfectly complements the tequila. Plus, it's crucial for the sunrise effect.
  • Without it: No orange juice, no 'sunrise', just a lamentable layer of tequila and grenadine longing for a citrus squeeze.
  • Alternatives: Mango juice for a tropical twist. A Sunset on Tropic Beach, anyone?

Emma Rose

Grenadine (0.5oz)

  • Why: The grenadine is the sweet syrup that gently settles to create a gradient, evoking a breathtaking sunrise. Aesthetic and flavor in one fell pour!
  • Without it: You might end up with a bright and sunny day, but no gorgeous sunrise to start it off. Just a simple tequila orange.
  • Alternatives: Raspberry syrup can be used if you're ready for a change of scenery and flavor. It's sunrise in a berry-infused world!

Mary Mitkina

Ice (As needed)

  • Why: Ice is what keeps things chill, literally. It's the unsung hero that tempers the warmth of the tequila and keeps your drink refreshing.
  • Without it: A warm Tequila Sunrise? That might just be as fun as sunbathing during a heatwave.

Alex Green

Orange Slice (1), Maraschino Cherry (1)

  • Why: Garnishes are the cherry on top—literally here. They offer a hint of sophistication, a pop of color, and a teaser of flavors to come.
  • Without it: The drink performs, but the garnishes are the encore that makes the show memorable.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Tequila Sunrise Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour 2oz of tequila over the ice.
  3. Add 4oz of orange juice to the glass and stir gently.
  4. Slowly pour 0.5oz 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

  • Use fresh orange juice for a more refreshing and natural taste.
  • Pour the grenadine slowly to achieve the perfect sunrise effect.
  • Chill the glass before preparing the cocktail to keep it cool for longer.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Classic Mexican Dishes: The Tequila Sunrise, with its zesty citrus notes, pairs excellently with tacos, nachos, and quesadillas. The citrus cuts through the richness of cheese and meat.
  • Brunch Favorites: Complement a weekend brunch with this vivid cocktail. It's a fantastic match for omelets, avocado toasts, and even pancakes with its sweet and fruity profile.
  • Summer Salads: Light and fresh summer salads adorned with fruits like mango or strawberry create a refreshing balance when enjoyed with a Tequila Sunrise.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: For those wanting to stay hydrated while indulging, a cool side of sparkling water is friendly to the palate and the head the morning after.
  • Cold Brew Coffee: For a non-alcoholic buzz, a cold brew's richness alongside the Tequila Sunrise's brightness offers a unique and invigorating pairing.

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What you could change in Tequila Sunrise

  • Tequila: Can be replaced with white rum or vodka.
  • Orange Juice: Can be replaced with pineapple juice or mango juice.
  • Grenadine: Can be replaced with raspberry syrup or pomegranate syrup.

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Sunrise

  • Ingredients: 2 oz Mezcal, 4 oz Fresh Orange Juice, 0.5 oz Grenadine, Ice, Orange Slice, Maraschino Cherry
  • Recipe: Follow the traditional Tequila Sunrise steps but substitute tequila with mezcal. The smokiness of mezcal will give a robust twist to the classic and bring a bonfire vibe to the sunrise.

Tropical Tequila Sunrise

  • Ingredients: 2 oz Tequila, 2 oz Orange Juice, 2 oz Pineapple Juice, 0.5 oz Grenadine, Ice, Pineapple Wedge, Maraschino Cherry
  • Recipe: Mix tequila with orange and pineapple juices for a more tropical feel. Pour grenadine to create the sunrise effect. This twist will make you feel like you're sipping your drink under a palm tree.

Berry Bliss Sunrise

  • Ingredients: 2 oz Tequila, 4 oz Cranberry Juice, 0.5 oz Raspberry Syrup, Ice, Lime Wheel, Fresh Berries
  • Recipe: Swap orange juice with cranberry juice and grenadine with raspberry syrup. The drink will have a tart berry kick, and the color will be a deeper red, reminiscent of a late-summer dawn.

In case you forgot basics how to make Tequila 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 Tequila Sunrise

What type of tequila is best for a Tequila Sunrise?

A quality silver or blanco tequila is typically preferred for a Tequila Sunrise. This is because they have a smooth, clean taste that blends well with the other ingredients.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of Tequila Sunrise?

Yes, you can replace tequila with a non-alcoholic spirit or simply skip it altogether. The drink will still have the sweet fruity taste from orange juice and grenadine.

What does grenadine add to the cocktail?

Grenadine adds sweetness to the cocktail and provides the distinct red color at the bottom of the glass that creates the 'sunrise' effect.

When is the best time to serve Tequila Sunrise?

While there are no hard rules, the Tequila Sunrise is popular as a breakfast or brunch cocktail, particularly for special occasions or holidays. It's also a hit at evening parties.

How do I prevent the grenadine from mixing with the other ingredients?

Pour the grenadine slowly and against the side of the glass. This allows it to fall to the bottom and create the sunrise effect.

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