The Tequila Sunrise is a picture-perfect cocktail with a rock ‘n roll history. Serve it poolside, at parties, and any time you are craving a sweet sunrise.

An angled shot of tequila sunrise in clear glasses with orange slices on a blue tray.

The drink was first served in Sausalito in the 1970s, created by bartenders Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice. In 1972, Mick Jagger tried it at a party and liked it so much, that the band ordered it everywhere they played in the United States. This made tequila infinitely more popular all around the country

Most versions are pretty to look at but can taste overly sweet. Not this one! I add fresh lime juice and an optional splash of seltzer, which in my humble opinion makes this cocktail worth an extra look.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled tequila sunrise ingredients.

Ingredient notes:

  • Tequila: Silver, Anejo, Reposado, it all works. 100% agave is best.
  • Lime juice: Purely optional, but oh, so amazing.  Tequila and lime are best buds.
  • Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed, if you can. It really makes a huge difference in a simple cocktail like this one.
  • Grenadine: That little bottle of red, sugary maraschino cherry syrup that is part of a well-stocked bar? That’s the “sunrise.” The syrup sinks to the bottom of the glass, giving the cocktail a rosy hue and some sweetness.
  • Soda or seltzer water: Look for an unsweetened, bubbly soda. Optional, but lightens the drink up from syrupy to ahhh, refreshing!

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, in a highball glass filled with ice, pour in the tequila, lime juice, and orange juice. Then give everything a good stir.
  2. Now for the magic. Slowly pour the grenadine into the glass over the back of a spoon or by drizzling it down the side of the glass, allowing it to settle at the bottom. Don’t stir! You want the drink to look like a sunrise. If you like, top with seltzer to lighten things up. Finally, garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.
    A side shot of grenadine being poured into tequila sunrise mixture in a clear glass.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Glassware: The more dynamic, the better. Tall glasses really show off the sunrise.
  • Tequila Sunset: Some variations use grapefruit juice instead of orange juice. Other recipes call for raspberry Chambord, crème de cacao, or even blackberry brandy drizzled over the drink instead grenadine, giving the drink a darker, purplish hue that resembles a sunset.
  • Tequila Screwdriver: Make it with tequila, orange juice, and a pinch of salt (no grenadine).
  • Grenadine substitute: Feel free to experiment with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a splash of cranberry juice, or raspberry syrup instead.

An overhead shot of tequila sunrise in glasses with cherries and an orange slice.

More cocktails you’ll love:

Tequila sunrise in two glasses on a blue tray.

Tequila Sunrise

The Tequila Sunrise is a picture-perfect cocktail with a rock 'n roll history. Serve it poolside, at parties, and any time you are craving a sweet sunrise.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Servings 1 cocktail
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Calories 194

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila (see note 1)
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice optional (see note 2)
  • 4 ounces orange juice (see note 3)
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine (see note 4)
  • Seltzer water optional (see note 5)
  • Half orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish

Instructions 

  • Fill a collins glass (or other tall glass) with ice. Add tequila, lime juice (if using), and orange juice. Stir.
  • Pour grenadine down a spoon and let it rise from the bottom of the glass. Do not stir. Top with seltzer water (if using) and garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Tequila: Silver, Anejo, Reposado, it all works. 100% agave is best.
  2. Lime juice: Purely optional, but oh, so amazing.  Tequila and lime are best buds.
  3. Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed, if you can. It really makes a huge difference in a simple cocktail like this one.
  4. Grenadine: That little bottle of red, sugary maraschino cherry syrup that is part of a well-stocked bar? That's the "sunrise." The syrup sinks to the bottom of the glass, giving the cocktail a rosy hue and some sweetness.
  5. Soda or seltzer water: Look for an unsweetened, bubbly soda. Optional, but lightens the drink up from syrupy to ahhh, refreshing!
  6. Glassware: The more dynamic, the better. Tall glasses really show off the sunrise.
  7. Tequila Sunset: Some variations use grapefruit juice instead of orange juice. Other recipes call for raspberry Chambord, crème de cacao, or even blackberry brandy drizzled over the drink instead grenadine, giving the drink a darker, purplish hue that resembles a sunset.
  8. Tequila Screwdriver: Make it with tequila, orange juice, and a pinch of salt (no grenadine).
  9. Grenadine substitute: Feel free to experiment with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a splash of cranberry juice, or raspberry syrup instead.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 227mgSugar: 17gVitamin A: 227IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Love the recipe it’s fun, beautiful and refreshing. Would do it again this weekend
    😁👍🍹5 stars