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Tequila Sunrise

There are few cocktails quite as visually appealing as the tequila sunrise. Made from a mixture of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup, it’s one of the sweetest cocktails around too, a surefire hit for those with a sweet tooth and wonderfully refreshing when sipped slowly on a summer’s day.


History of the Tequila Sunrise

The history of this cocktail is believed to go all the way back to the 1930s, and the original recipe was quite different from the one we know today. Reports state the drink was first blended at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, made by Gene Sulit for a tequila-loving guest. It involved creme de cassis, seltzer water, and lime juice.


The more popular modern blend of this drink, however, was made by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice back in the 70s at a Sausalito restaurant called The Trident. It was first served at a Rolling Stones tour party, with Stones frontman Mick Jagger falling instantly in love with the drink and recommending it to his fellow bandmates. From there, the drink’s popularity soared, with an Eagles song named after it and a 1988 Michelle Pfeiffer movie too.


How to Make it – Recipe

One of the most famous things about this drink is its appearance, with a gradual gradient of reds and oranges, looking just like a real sunrise, and in order to get that effect, you have to prepare this drink with care. The following ingredients should fill a Collins glass, and you can adjust the measurements accordingly for bigger or smaller servings.


  • 1.5 oz (45ml) of tequila
  • 3 oz (90ml) of orange juice
  • 0.5 oz (15ml) of grenadine syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange and cherry to garnish (optional)



  1. To start off, pour the tequila into your glass over the ice
  2. Next, add the orange juice to help the ingredients blend together
  3. Pour in the syrup
  4. Stir very gently to get the sunrise effect, or simply leave the syrup to settle at the bottom of the glass



There are a lot of different ways in which you can play around with the classic formula for this cocktail, and most of them involve switching out just one of the ingredients for something else. A Caribbean sunrise, for example, is made with rum in the place of tequila. A Russian sunrise can be prepared with vodka instead. Or there’s the Amaretto sunrise, a very distinctive cocktail that uses Disaronno as its base.


You can also try out an Aperol sunrise, using Aperol liqueur rather than grenadine, or a Southern sunrise, which is blended with Southern Comfort instead of the tequila. Cocktail enthusiasts are also encouraged to experiment with different fruit juices too. A Florida sunrise, for instance, involves equal amounts of orange and pineapple juice, giving it a more tropical flavor.


The story goes that this cocktail was designed to be sipped by the side of the pool, and that’s still one of the best ways to enjoy it today. It’s a delicious, refreshing, and enjoyable drink that will appeal to cocktail fans who tend to prefer sweeter flavors over bitter or sour notes.

Written by My Bartender

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