Tequila Sunrise Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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The Tequila Sunrise is a classic cocktail made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine (pomegranate syrup). While incredibly simple, it’s quite delicious and refreshing if made with the right ingredients and proportions. I’d even go as far as saying it’s underrated!

A golden Tequila Sunrise cocktail sitting on a wooden coffee table on a coaster.

Why This Recipe Works

The Tequila Sunrise is an iconic classic dating back to the 1970s thanks to its ultimate simplicity. The drink is a tequila spin on the Screwdriveroft, often overlooked for its reputation of being a one-dimensional sugar bomb. Truth be told, when the cocktail is made with fresh squeezed orange juice and a 1:2 ratio of tequila and orange juice, it’s quite delicious and citrusy.

This cocktail requires almost 0 experience and no bar tools since it’s made and served in the same glass.

If you’re looking for more poolside classics, try my piña colada recipe, frozen mudslide, and mango margarita!

Ingredients

Tequila Sunrise cocktail ingredients laid out on a wooden cutting board.
  • Tequila: always use a Blanco (unaged) tequila for this recipe. This keeps the cocktail bright and citrusy.
  • Orange juice: I highly recommend freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges. I usually have 1-2 oranges lying around after pulling the peels for an Old Fashioned cocktail. Fresh citrus elevates this drink and makes it taste less like drinking OJ with tequila (which is too sweet from the added sugars). If you must use OJ, start with less and add more to taste.
  • Grenadine: grenadine is pomegranate-flavored simple syrup. It’s very easy to find and serves more as a garnish than anything.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Make a Tequila Sunrise

Step 1.

Juice an orange using a hand juicer (image 1a). Fill a chilled double old-fashioned glass to the top with ice (image 1b).

A hand juicing an orange with an orange juicer.
A frozen double old fashioned glass on a wooden cutting board filled with ice.

Step 2.

Add tequila and orange juice (image 2a) and stir to mix (image 2b).

A hand holding a jigger pouring fresh orange juice into an ice filled double old fashioned glass.
Stirring tequila and orange juice together in a cocktail glass with a bar spoon.

Step 3.

Slowly add grenadine to the drink. It will sink to the bottom on its own, creating the sunrise effect. Do not stir!

Adding grenadine to a Tequila Sunrise with a cocktail jigger.

Step 4.

Garnish with an orange wedge or cherry and serve.

A golden Tequila Sunrise cocktail garnished with a brandied cherry.

Expert Tips

  • Always freeze your glasses to keep them cooler for longer. This is especially helpful in the summer!
  • I highly recommend freshly squeezed orange juice. The flavor is more complimentary and citrusy than store-bought orange juice with added sugar. If you must use OJ, start with 3 ounces and add more as needed.
  • Always use Blanco tequila. This will keep the drink light and citrusy. Aged tequila will taste muddled and clash with the orange juice.
  • One large orange renders 1 serving of orange juice. Save the peels for other cocktails such as Negronis or Old Fashioneds,

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Tequila Sunrise and a Tequila Sunset?

The Tequila Sunrise uses grenadine to achieve its reddish hue, while the Tequila Sunset uses blackberry brandy for a darker, more purple effect.

What tequila is best in Tequila Sunrise?

Always use Blanco tequila. This will keep the drink light and citrusy. Aged tequila will taste muddled and clash with the orange juice.

IS the Tequila Sunrise a strong drink?

I make the Tequila Sunrise the same strength as my classic margarita, which is 2 ounces of tequila per serving.

More Tequila Cocktails

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this cocktail, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

Tequila Sunrise

Servings: 1
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
The Tequila Sunrise is a classic cocktail made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine (pomegranate syrup)

Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 4 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed from oranges
  • 1/4-1/2 ounce grenadine, pomegranite syrup

Instructions 

  • Fill a chilled double old-fashioned glass to the top with ice.
  • Add tequila and orange juice and stir to mix.
  • Slowly add grenadine to the drink. It will sink to the bottom on its own, creating the sunrise effect. Do not stir!
  • Garnish with an orange wedge or cherry and serve.

Notes

One large orange renders 1 serving of orange juice. Save the peels for other cocktails such as Negronis or Old Fashioneds,
Always freeze your glasses to keep them cooler for longer. This is especially helpful in the summer!
I highly recommend freshly squeezed orange juice. The flavor is more complimentary and citrusy than store-bought orange juice with added sugar. If you must use OJ, start with 3 ounces and add more as needed.
Always use blanco tequila. This will keep the drink light and citrusy. Aged tequila will taste muddled and clash with the orange juice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 10.2gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 4mgPotassium: 230mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 227IUVitamin C: 57mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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