Start to Finish: 5 minutes
Level of Difficulty: Beginner
The original tequila sunrise is said to have been created in the 1930s at the Biltmore Hotel in Arizona. But in 1973, the Trident Restaurant — a legendary rock-n-roll hangout in California — introduced a cocktail of the same name that became a hit with rock stars as well as other patrons. This sweet and tart mix of tequila, orange juice and grenadine intermingle to resemble a gradient sunset, in a glass.
- 2 ounces (or jiggers) high-quality tequila
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grenadine (also called pomegranate syrup)
- 1 orange wedge
- 1 maraschino cherry with stem
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the tequila, orange juice and lime juice. Stir the ingredients well.
Drizzle the grenadine onto the top of the cocktail. Add a drinking straw to the glass and lightly mix the liquid to allow the grenadine to swirl through the cocktail, creating the “sunset” color effect.
Garnish the cocktail with a wedge of orange, speared with a maraschino cherry.
Though some recipes for a tequila sunrise do not call for extra citrus, adding lime will bring out the herbal flavor in the tequila. Lime also complements the orange juice, elevating the overall taste of the cocktail.
The classic tequila sunrise is served over ice in a Collins glass, or in a shorter, wider glass called a highball. It can also be served without ice, in a martini glass.
To serve a tequila sunrise straight up; pour the tequila and juices into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and then strain into a martini glass. Slowly drizzle the grenadine into the cocktail. Allow the grenadine to sink to the bottom before serving.
Instead of using commercial grenadine which can be overly sweet and may contain preservatives, you can make your own with pomegranate juice, sugar and a squeeze of lemon.
This is adapted from a recipe for grenadine syrup from The Kitchn.
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pour the pomegranate juice and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring the liquid to a simmer and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes until the syrup starts to thicken.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Allow the syrup to cool before pouring into a clean bottle. For ease in pouring, cap the bottle with a pour-spout top. Store the syrup in the refrigerator and use within one month.
References and ResourcesNational Geographic Assignments: Just Another Tequila Sunrise
Esquire: Tequila Sunrise Drink Recipe
The Kitchn: DIY Grenadine Syrup