What exactly is the “sunrise” in a Tequila Sunrise?
Tequila Sunrise

The cocktail with a personality

Like many fashionable cocktails, the Tequila Sunrise was forever etched in pop-culture when popularised by famous 60’s rock band The Rolling Stones. At a private party to kick-off the Rolling Stones’ 1972 tour in America, Mick Jagger had one of the cocktails, really liked it, and he and his entire entourage started drinking them. As a result, the tour was also famously dubbed the “cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour”.

In 1973 The Eagles also recorded a song titled Tequila Sunrise for their Desperado album as the cocktail was forever increasing in its popularity. In 1988, a successful film, with the same title was released starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell.

It’s quite clear that the cocktail has a rich history, but what exactly is the sunrise in a Tequila Sunrise?


What is in a Tequila Sunrise cocktail?

This cocktail’s longstanding history has made sure it’s had its fair share of variation! It is honestly fair to ask what exactly is in a Tequila Sunrise cocktail.

The Tequila Sunrise is served unmixed on the rocks by first blending Tequila and orange juice, and then pouring grenadine syrup on top. It’s the variation in the cocktail’s colour that resembles a sunrise with the bottom red, seemingly disappearing into the yellow “sunrise” over the horizon.

The original fresh and fruity Tequila Sunrise contained tequila, creme de cassis (liqueur), lime juice, and soda water, and dates back to the 1930s when Gene Sulit, of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, first combined these ingredients.

In 1970 Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice, while working as young bartenders at the Trident in California, created the more modern version of the cocktail as we know it today, but it always kept its red and yellow hue.

The classic recipe

Why not try to make your own Tequila Sunrise cocktail by trying our recipe below; you will need:

  • 3 tots (75ml) Tequila (we recommend Leonista)
  • 6 tots (150ml) orange juice
  • 1 tot (25ml) grenadine syrup
  • 1 cup of ice

Pour the orange juice and Tequila in a glass over ice. Add the grenadine cocktail syrup. (Do not mix the syrup with the rest of the blend as this will spoil the sunrise look.)

Garnish with an orange slice and cherry. Now sit back and enjoy the sunrise!