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Tequila Sunrise

Our Tequila Sunrise recipe is so easy to craft that you’ll be sipping your tasty tequila tipple in just a few minutes. In other words, it’s not just another Tequila Sunrise recipe. It’s a keeper.

Tequila Sunrise Close Up with Black Background from Above with Straw
Image: ©2foodtrippers

You’re probably already familiar with tequila sunrises.

Perhaps you drank Tequila Sunrise cocktails when you were in your early 20s or during a Caribbean vacation. With its fruity flavor and relatively low alcohol content, the colorful cocktail is easy to find at both frat parties and beach bars.

Discover more colorful cocktails.

Tequila Sunrise with an Orange
Orange juice is a key ingredient in the Tequila Sunrise recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Or maybe you’re more familiar with the Tequila Sunrise’s place in pop culture. It was Mick Jagger’s nickname for a 1972 Rolling Stones tour, the name of a 1973 Eagles song and a 1988 movie starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell. References aside, once you start humming the Eagles song, it’s hard to get it out of your head.

Either way, your first time crafting a Tequila Sunrise cocktail at home likely won’t be your last. It’s one of those cocktails that’s as easy to craft as it is to sip.

What Is A Tequila Sunrise Cocktail?

Tequila Sunrise Close Up with Blue Background from Above
Despite its name, you can drink a Tequila Sunrise at any time of the day. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Not counting ice cubes and garnishes, a Tequila Sunrise is a three-ingredient cocktail with a clever name. It also has a unique appearance that justifies a moniker that makes people smile.

After all, who doesn’t like sunrises?!

History Of The Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise from Above with Black Background
You become part of the Tequila Sunrise’s history once you craft the cocktail at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Tequila Sunrise is a cocktail with two different histories.

History number one occurred almost a century ago when bartenders combined tequila with creme de cassis, lime juice and club soda at a Phoenix hotel. While those cocktails surely tasted good, that Tequila Sunset didn’t stand the test of time.

Things got real in the swinging 70s. That’s when the Tequila Sunrise we all know and love was first crafted with tequila, grenadine and orange juice in Sausalito, California.

Ingredients

Tequila Sunrise Ingredients
The Tequila Sunrise ingredient list includes tequila, grenadine and orange juice. Its garnishes include an orange wedge and a maraschino cherry or two. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You only need the following ingredients to craft a Tequila Sunrise at home:

  • Blanco Tequila
  • Orange Juice
  • Grenadine
  • Ice Cubes
  • Orange Wedge (garnish)
  • Maraschino Cherry (garnish)

You probably already have all of these ingredients in your pantry and home bar. If not, they should be easy to find either locally or online.

Grenadine and Tequila Bottles
We used these bottles of grenadine and tequila to craft Tequila Sunrise at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You don’t have to buy a special bottle to craft Tequila Sunrise cocktails at home. Any tequila will work so long as it’s blanco, i.e. white.

We crafted our Tequila Sunrise cocktails with Jose Cuervo Especial tequila made with blue agave since that’s what was in our liquor cabinet. Distilled in Mexico, it has a 38% ABV. While it may not be the finest tequila for sipping, it’s an ideal tequila for crafting cocktails like this one.

Discover our favorite tequila cocktails.

We also used grenadine syrup produced by Monin. This French company doesn’t add any artificial colors or flavors to its bright red pomegranate syrup which makes it better than other commercial grenadine syrups.

Discover our favorite grenadine cocktails.

How To Craft A Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

Tequila Sunrise Mise en Place
It was go time once we gathered the necessary Tequila Sunrise ingredients and tools. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Tequila Sunrise is a lazy mixologist’s dream. Not only does this cocktail look and taste great, it’s also super easy to craft with the most basic of equipment.

After you gather the ingredients and bar tools, the first step is to fill a highball glass with ice cubes.

Adding Ice Cubes to a Highball Glass
Adding ice to a highball glass is the first step in our Tequila Sunrise recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Measure the tequila and orange juice and immediately pour each into the highball glass. We use a Japanese jigger for this step to ensure accurate pours and minimize spillage.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Stir gently with a bar spoon or another long utensil.

Stirring a Tequila Sunrise
Stirring is the most labor intensive step in this easy Tequila Sunrise recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Measure the grenadine. Slowly pour the ruby red pomegranate syrup into the highball glass.

Do not stir after adding the grenadine. If you do, you’ll lose the sunrise effect.

Pouring Grenadine into a Tequila Sunrise
Slowly pouring the grenadine creates a cocktail sunrise. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Garnish with an orange wedge and a maraschino cherry or two.

Tequila Sunrise with White Background from Above with Straw
Whether you sip your Tequila Sunrise with a straw is up to you. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Sip and enjoy.

Variations

Tequila Sunrise with Black Background
We won’t judge you if you tweak our Tequila Sunrise recipe. That’s part of the fun of lazy mixology. The other part is drinking the fruits of your labor. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The following Tequila Sunrise alternatives should keep your tastebuds from getting bored:

  • Add a squirt of fresh lime juice to craft a tart (i.e. less sweet) Tequila Sunrise cocktail.
  • Craft an OG Tequila Sunrise cocktail with tequila, creme de cassis, fresh lime juice and club soda.
  • Omit the tequila to craft a Virgin Sunrise mocktail.
  • Replace the grenadine with Aperol to craft an Aperol Sunrise cocktail.
  • Replace the tequila with amaretto to craft an Amaretto Sunrise cocktail.
  • Replace the tequila with rum to craft a Caribbean Sunrise cocktail.
  • Replace the tequila with vodka to craft a Russian Sunrise cocktail.
  • Replace the tequila with southern comfort to craft a Southern Sunrise cocktail.
  • Replace the grenadine with blackberry brandy to craft a Tequila Sunset cocktail.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tequila Sunrise cocktail?

The Tequila Sunrise is a colorful tequila cocktail crafted with tequila, grenadine and orange juice.

Where was the Tequila Sunrise cocktail invented?

The modern-day Tequila Sunrise was invented in Sausalito, California.

What are the ingredients in a Tequila Sunrise cocktail?

Blanco Tequila, Orange Juice, Grenadine, Orange Wedge (garnish), Maraschino Cherry (garnish) and Ice Cubes

Is the Tequila Sunrise cocktail shaken or stirred?

The Tequila Sunrise is stirred, not shaken, before the grenadine is added.

Is the Tequila Sunrise strong?

No. The Tequila Sunrise is relatively mild since tequila is the cocktail’s only liquor ingredient.

What’s the difference between a Tequila Sunrise and a Tequila Sunset?

While both cocktails contain tequila and orange juice, the Tequila Sunrise recipe includes grenadine while the Tequila Sunset includes blackberry brandy.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Tequila Sunrise Close Up with Black Background from Above with Straw
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5 from 1 vote

Tequila Sunrise Recipe

This isn't just another tequila sunrise recipe. It's also an easy recipe that combines tequila, grenadine and orange juice to create a tasty tipple.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 220kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fill highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour tequila and orang juice into the glass. Gently stir.
  • Slowly pour grenadine into the glass.
  • Garnish with orange wedge and a maraschino cherry or two.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 227IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: January 27, 2023

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