Best Tequila Sunrise Recipes
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Top Rated Tequila Sunrise Recipes
This twist on a Wild Strawberry Freeze takes the Taco Bell menu item to new boozy heights.This recipe is courtesy of Taco Bell.
Sometimes you want to drink like a nineteen-year-old with a starter moustache who thinks that Mexican food is super exotic, and for that mood, the best of the tequila drinks is the Tequila Sunrise. If you’re going to make a tequila sunrise drink, you should make it right, and unabashedly. Juice an orange, pretend it’s 1978, and sip away.
The Best Tequila Sunrise
A Tequila Sunrise is the perfect poolside or beachside drink. This colorful cocktail gets its name from the beautiful colors in it that resemble a picturesque sunset.
The Tequila Sunrise can thank Mick Jagger for its popularity. Back in 1972, Jagger tried it at a party and was such a huge fan that he ordered it everywhere they played in The U.S. that year. The drink quickly caught on and skyrocketed in popularity.
There are a few different versions of the drink, but we like to stick with the original. Orange juice, tequila, grenadine, and a maraschino cherry make the perfect Tequila Sunrise.
The Tequila Sunrise cocktail, with its bright striations of color, evokes a summer sunrise. This classic drink has only three ingredients—tequila, grenadine and orange juice—and is served unmixed to preserve the color of each layer.
The Tequila Sunrise was created in the early 1970s by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice at the Trident bar in Sausalito, California. The cocktail achieved notoriety after Mick Jagger tasted it at a party to kick off The Rolling Stones’ 1972 tour. The band began ordering it at stops across the country, and even dubbed the tour “the cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour,” which helped to propel the drink’s popularity.
In 1973, Jose Cuervo put the recipe on the back of its tequila bottles, and that same year, the Eagles released a song called “Tequila Sunrise” on their “Desperado” album. These infusions into popular culture resulted in the drink going mainstream, and it has been a part of the cocktail canon ever since.
The Tequila Sunrise is very easy to make, but it must be constructed precisely in order to achieve the desired sunrise look. Tequila and then orange juice (fresh is best) are added to a highball glass filled with ice. Grenadine is applied last, but due to its density, it sinks to the bottom, creating a red layer at the base of the glass. If you want to spruce up the drink, skip the bottled bright-red grenadine available on store shelves and try making your own. It’s an easy exercise that’s worth the effort, as it imbues the cocktail with a richer flavor.
You don’t have to be a rock star to enjoy this tequila cocktail. It’s sweet, refreshing and delicious, so mix one whenever the mood strikes. But putting on a Rolling Stones or Eagles record will really complete that ’70s vibe.
Tequila Sunrise History
There are a few stories behind the origin of the tequila sunrise. As with most cocktail histories, things get a little cloudy at times, and it's hard to know which story to believe.
One account claims that the drink welcomed tourists to Cancun and Acapulco in the 1950s. A more plausible story points to Gene Sulit, who tended bar at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in the 1930s and '40s. He likely created the original version. Another credits it to bartenders Bobby Lazoff and Billy Rice at The Trident, a restaurant in Sausalito, California, during the tequila craze of the 1970s. It's thought that this is where the drink transformed into the popular orange juice version.
10 Best Tequila Cocktail Recipes
Watermelon Mary: A summer cocktail so perfect, you don't have to wait until brunch to drink it. Using both fresh-pressed watermelon and tomato juice, it's a light refreshing take on the classic, with just enough of a sweet tinge.
Red White & Blue: We came across this drink recipe from West Hollywood's Tortilla Republic that makes a great, celebratory quaff -- you don't need to add alcohol to make it tasty, so it's great for an all-ages party.
Cucumber-Lavender Margarita: This was created in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. We're not sure how that day became so associated with margaritas, but hey, we'll take it.
Fresh Margaritas: This America's Test Kitchen recipe pulls no punches: it calls for steeping the citrus and sugar for a full 24 hours. If you didn't plan your partying that far in advance (and really, who does), four hours will do if this is all last minute, just omit the zest and you're good to go.
Lavender Margarita: Margaritas are something of an art form in Los Angeles, and there are many, many ways to create them. This one, from Whiskey Blue at W Los Angeles -- Westwood, adds a little crème de violette to the mix, making it a frilly, fun little drink. (I say little, but be careful: it's these sweet ones that'll get ya.)
Laredo: We've found a refreshing, simple (just use fancy ingredients!) cocktail from the relatively new Willie Jane in Venice, a restaurant run by celebrity chef Govind Armstrong.
Patrón Gold Cosmopolitan: This is the official drink of the Oscars after-party. And yes, it does have a gold garnish.
The Girl is Dangerous: This cocktail doesn't necessarily look dangerous -- it's a lovely, frilly shade of pink -- but someone at The Corner Door in Culver City must have had their reasons for naming it as they did.
Tuk Tuk: The well-regarded Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach is getting experimental with their cocktails. They shared this recipe with us, one that requires some pre-planning: you've got to infuse your tequila with chilies, and your coconut milk with Thai herbs. (Don't fret. "Infuse" is just a fancy word for "soak.")
Picante de la Casa: This joint effort by the teams at Cecconi's and Soho House (both places most people don't regularly go to) has some heat from the chili pepper garnish as it is -- need it spicier? Just throw that chili chunk in the drink itself. It may not look as elegant, but that's why you're making it at home.
A New Take on the Tequila Sunrise
In theory, there shouldn't be anything wrong with a Tequila Sunrise, an oft-maligned cocktail you might remember best from that time you mistakenly drank one in 1985. A mix of tequila, orange juice, sparkling wine, and grenadine, the drink sounds pretty dang good on paper. But there is something seriously wrong. The problem? Most store-bought grenadine is downright terrible, so sticky-sweet and packed with high-fructose corn syrup that it more closely resembles melted-down Jolly Ranchers than anything that once came from a pomegranate.
But the tequila, orange juice, and sparkling wine part? There's something great there.
My solution? It's called the Mezcal Sunset—a drink that packs all the deliciousness of its more famous cocktail cousin without any of the swim-up bar stigma.
First, I swap out tequila for mezcal, its smoky alter ego that boasts the freshness of an agave-based syrup with the complexity of a fine Scotch. The orange juice and sparkling wine go unchanged.
Now, about that grenadine bit. Sure, you could sub in pomegranate molasses—a thick, syrup-y concoction that actually tastes of the fruit that shares its name—but the stuff's expensive and might go unused in your kitchen unless you cook Middle Eastern dishes frequently. So I made my own version by combining equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar and cooking the mixture down until it's reduced to a slightly viscous, deep-red liquid. No chemicals, no artificial sweeteners—just great pomegranate flavor.
The result is something as beautiful to behold as is it delicious to drink, the pomegranate syrup sinking past the ice cubes and all the way to the bottom of the glass like a #nofilter Instagram sunset.
And you can't help but wonder why you didn't think of reinventing this drink sooner.
What is tequila?
Tequila is from Mexico, but it isn’t the one with the worm in it. In fact, if someone offers you a bottle of something called tequila and there’s a worm in it, run a mile. Mezcal, on the other hand, does sometimes have a worm in it, technically the larvae of the mariposa butterfly which feeds on the plant.
Tequila does come from the state of Jalisco but also from a few other places around the country and is still the real deal. Yes, there’s a place called Tequila as well, which is quite cool unless they don’t actually make tequila in which case it is just misleading.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant but there’s only a requirement for it to be 51% blue agave. Tequila comes in different colours to indicate its age ranging from the youngest, silver stuff through to golden and even more mature drinks. Older is stronger, more alcohol and obviously more expense.
6. Chalino Special
Another tequila cocktail for the sophisticated drinker is the Chalino Special. This tequila cocktail recipe is slightly more advanced than your bloody maria or margarita. It&rsquos mostly unknown and quite impressive &mdash even for tequila cocktail lovers. Because it&rsquos a fairly simple drink, it&rsquos a great way to display a great bottle of blanco tequila such as Casamigos (the powerhouse brand famously founded by George Clooney).
MAKE IT: In a shaker with ice, combine three ounces of tequila, half an ounce of lemon juice and half an ounce of lime juice, as well as half a tablespoon of creme de cassis and half a tablespoon of simple syrup. Per Esquire, shake well, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
What’s in a Tequila Sunrise
There are three basic ingredients in a tequila sunrise recipe: tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup. Grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup used in a number of different cocktails. Made from pomegranate juice, it’s both tart and sweet. For a tequila sunrise recipe, you’ll only need a tablespoon of grenadine, so you won’t need to add it to your grocery list often. Since orange juice and tequila are more common to have on hand, this is one of the easiest stay at home chef recipes to make on a whim. What makes this simple list of what’s in a tequila sunrisedrink into such an iconic cocktail is the fact that they’re not stirred or shaken together. By layering the tequila sunrise ingredients on top of each other, you’ll create that signature sunrise look.
Tequila Sunrise Mimosa
Yield: 8 servings
prep time: 5 minutes
total time: 5 minutes
Easy peasy 4-ingredient mimosas that are sure to impress everyone! Plus, you only need 5 minutes to whip this up. That’s it!
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup Lunazul Blanco Tequila
- 1/4 cup grenadine syrup
- Using a pitcher, mix orange and pineapple juice.
- Pour tequila and orange juice into champagne flutes, topped with grenadine, allowing it to settle.
- Serve immediately.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lunazul Tequila. As always, I only partner with brands that I love and truly believe in, allowing me to create more quick and easy recipes to get us through the week without breaking the bank. All opinions expressed are my own.
Tequila Sunrise Margarita Cocktail
Today is National Margarita Day. A day in the middle of the week, in the middle of winter.
Every year I wonder who decided on that time frame because even though I will now enjoy a margarita in the winter with seasonal flavors, it will forever remain in my heart as the quintessential summer drink.
None of that says February. But I’m a sucker for a day devoted to my all time favorite cocktail so I’m celebrating with this Tequila Sunrise Margarita Cocktail and it’s a beautiful thing.
I was asked by a tequila brand to feature a recipe of theirs and use their product. The problem is that I had none of their product on hand and I didn’t want anymore because I already have enough for a small liquor store.
I’ve got all of my liquor and liqueurs organized and catalogued and with 14 bottles of tequila on the shelves I’m not needing anymore for a bit.
Like in five years maybe. So I used their recipe as my inspiration and made it my own.
One thing I know about a Tequila Sunrise, they are supposed to show a layering that mimics the colors of a real sunrise.
The recipe I was given had all the ingredients shaken together and while a sort of pretty pinkish orange color it just did not work for me. Round One was out of contention.
On to Round Two. I made some revisions opting to make a cranberry simple syrup instead of grenadine which is basically pomegranate simple syrup.
Why? I had no pomegranate juice in the pantry but did have cranberry and either one works.
Last, but not least by a long shot, I included some orange liqueur. What margarita is made without orange liqueur anyhow isn’t it one of the main prerequisites? Thanks…I thought so too!
Round Two was much better and I got the results I wanted. The heavier red syrup cuts through the tequila and juice mixture and covered the bottom of the glass.
Yay! BUT I decided to try using an old fashioned margarita glass and even if it looked sort of pretty it bugged me all of the red cranberry simple syrup was in that little abutment at the bottom of my margarita glass.
I tried mixing it a bit and that was better so I forged ahead with photos. I took probably 50 shots, picked my two favorite and did some work on them in Photoshop and was set to start writing this post about 1pm.
Then something happened. It’s not often but it’s happened before and I’ve learned to not fight it too hard. I just could not wrap my arms around those photos. They weren’t awful, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad photos but they also did not make me happy.
Just as I was ready to start…I quit as suddenly and decided a third go around was necessary. I’m glad I did. Once I do the work to showcase a cocktail these photos will represent it for many years.
Still, it is why I’m so late getting published today but trust me no way this margarita loving, cocktail making, food blogger was NOT going to post about a tasty margarita today.
That would have been sacrilege right? So here you have it a pretty cocktail spiced up a bit and turned into a margarita. Though my intent was to make this Tequila Sunrise Margarita Cocktail for National Margarita Day trust me, it’s good any day so pretty and so refreshing.
The good news? I have three batches now sitting in the fridge. Wonder if I can rustle up some drinkers? Hurry before they’re all gone! Cheers!