Tequila Sunrise, The Cocktail Treasure of California

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The greatest joys of life come with colorful tequilas. And, not any tequila but the innovative cocktails. Liquors mixed with other liquors and juices to create an exceptional taste, how lovely it sounds! Yet, we all desire to pick the best cocktail to enjoy a game of poker. That’s right! Today, we are presenting, Tequila sunrise. It is the treasury cocktail from California. Well! If you have not tried Tequila sunrise in California, the Golden State, you have not known the real-time pleasure of alcohol. 

The delicious and smooth texture of this outstanding spirit makes the drinking experience worthwhile. To the readers’ surprise, this exclusive cocktail is served at a speed of fun in Las Vegas, Sin City. This wonderous drink makes all the sins a virtue. But, enough about the locations. Let’s find out more about this cocktail and ‘why is it called Tequila sunrise?’

Introduction To Tequila Sunrise

The first time I came across a glass of Tequila sunrise was when I got someone’s order by mistake. Well! Destiny works in mysterious ways. Next, I recognize, I am known to myself as the biggest fan of this crack-the-dawn spirit. Do you need an introduction to it too? Take a glimpse!

Tequila sunrise is an orange juice and tequila complimented cocktail with a high-end base of Grenadine syrup. Grenadine is a deep-red syrup that is commonly used in bars for making sweet-exotic cocktails. It is noteworthy to mention that this cocktail was originally made in Phoenix, Arizona in the 1930s.

However, an advanced version of this mixed spirit had hit the alcohol industry in the 1970s in Sausalito, California. Yes! The Marin city nearby the north of San Francisco. We would say that the location has some contribution to the success of the Sunrise tequila drink

Why is it called Tequila Sunrise?

In the 1970s, California had broken new grounds in the cocktail business. Yet, the question about how the drink it came to be known as ‘tequila sunrise’ still arises. Hold your horses! Because we are going to tell you. The drink is called tequila sunrise because of its visual appearance.

what is a tequila sunrise

That’s right! When you see a glass of this upstaged mixed liqueur, you get to picture ‘a sun rising.’ this picture appears because while making tequila sunrise, the grenadine syrup is poured at the bottom and orange juice is poured at the top. The deep red color of the syrup turns orange. And, the orange color of orange juice turns yellow.

The prepared cocktail is supposed to be served ‘unstirred.’ thus, the view of parallel to the actual sunrise appears in the cocktail glass. This is why it is called the tequila sunrise. 

Tequila Sunrise 1930s Vs. Tequila Sunrise 1970s

1930s version of the drink was introduced by Gene Sulit at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The late recipe of the cocktail included tequila, lime juice, creme de cassis and soda water. Creme de cassis is a dark-red liqueur. This is why the 1930s were also known for sunrise appearance.

Hence, we can expect the preliminary version of the mixed spirit to be strong. However, in the 1970s, the new version came into existence. This cocktail made it to the international alcohol industry. The new version of the cocktail was acknowledged as the tributary innovation of Billy Rice and Bobby Lozoff. 

Keeping aside the differences of tangs of Tequila Sunrise 1930 and 1970, in 1973, the Eagles (one of the prominent bands of those times) has launched the Desperado music album in which tequila sunrise was one of the song titles. Yes! Believe it or not! This sunrise drink has exemplified the metaphor ‘you can love it, you can hate it but you cannot escape its melody.’ Whereas for us, it is the taste and mouthfeel too!

How to make a Tequila Sunrise? 

Are you looking for a perfect step-to-step tequila sunrise recipe? Congratulations! Because you have successfully found it. At Alcohol by Volume today, we are presenting to you, one and original way to prepare this sunish cocktail liqueur.

We take much pride in our bartenders who have helped us to provide our readers with the right recipe. Thus, now you can make a Tequila sunrise at home and we promise that it would be just as sweet and exotic as it looks at a popular bar. Let’s collect the following Tequila sunrise ingredients first. 

List of Ingredients followed by the given quantity:

  • Tequila (as per your choice): 2 ounces/ 60 ml
  • Orange juice (without pulp): 4 ounces/ 120 ml
  • Grenadine syrup (pick deep-red): 0.5 ounces/ 15 ml

For Garnishing:

  • Cherry/ blueberry (whichever you have): single
  • Orange peel/slice

 Follow the given Recipe step-by-step:

  • Step 1: Take a cocktail glass filled with ice cubes (2-3). It is recommendable to pick a highball cocktail glass as the quality of the ingredients is much. 
  • Step 2: Pour tequila. Do not Stir yet. 
  • Step 3: Now, pour orange juice. 
  • Step 4: Stir well.
  • Step 5: Now, it is time to pour grenadine syrup. Remember, to pour it on the edges of the glass and not in the center.
  • Step 6: Wait for the syrup to sink at the bottle of the glass.
  • Step 7: The drink would appear red/orange at the bottom and yellow at the top.
  • Step 8: Stir lightly.
  • Step 9: For garnishing, use cherry and orange slices.
  • Step 10: Your favorite cocktail is ready at home.

Note: This recipe is as per 1 serving. You can change the number of ingredients to serve for 2 or more. Also, it is a recipe for Tequila sunrise 1970s. 

How to make an original tequila sunrise at home?

One of the major ways to compare the latest sunrise cocktail and the original one is that the latter one remains sparkling. It is because of the presence of creme de cassis.

Creme de cassis is a black currant liqueur that is sweet and delivers a thick mouthfeel because of its ‘creme’ texture. It is dark-red in color. Thus, the original sunrise looks redder at the bottom than orange. To make an original cocktail at home, collect the given ingredients:

  • Tequila (1.5 Ounces/ 45 ml)
  • Lime juice (0.25 ounces/7-10 ml)
  • Creme de cassis (¾ ounces/ 22 ml)
  • Club soda (as per taste)
  • Lime wheel (single)
  • Cherry (single)

Follow the step-by-step recipe given below:

  • Step 1: Take a highball glass. Fill it with 3-small ice rocks. 
  • Step 2: Pour Tequila
  • Step 3: pour the lime juice and stir well.
  • Step 4: Top the drink with club soda. 
  • Step 5: Pour Creme de cassis at the edges and give it some time to settle down at the bottom of the highball cocktail glass.
  • Step 6: Stir lightly after the dark-red liqueur is settled.
  • Step 7: Garnish the cocktail with a lime wheel and cherry.
  • Step 8: Serve the cocktail chilled and beautified.

Note: You can also use collins cocktail glasses. 

What is Tequila Sunrise Alcohol content?

This is one of the most interesting, yet confusing subjects for alcohol consumers who desire to order a Tequila sunrise every time for the first time. However, we have the answer. More often, the alcohol content of Tequila Sunrise mainly depends on the amount of tequila that has been poured into the drink while making.

For example, if you are using an eight proof tequila and you have poured (25% or 22 proof by volume) of the drink into the cocktail. Its ABV will be 11 percent. Similarly, a Tequila sunrise can be tippy toes strong and tiny toe weak. 

It is noteworthy to mention that while ordering this exclusive drink in a bar, make sure to inform the bartender regarding your requirements in the context of alcohol content. Apart from this, it is more often a light drink because of the garnishing of lime/orange plus involvement of orange juice.

The non-alcoholic ingredients allow you to remain conscious. However, this much risk is not worth taking. On the other hand, the respective cocktail is worth all the first-times!

What is the best thing to mix with tequila?

When it comes to tequila, there is an uncountable choice. Take a glimpse of the following list of sunrise cocktails (different names of Tequila sunrise in different countries) and pick out the one that sounds best to you!

  • Waterloo Sunset: Tequila mixed with Gin and Champagne
  • A virgin Sunrise: No tequila in Sunrise Tequila
  • Sour sunrise: Tequila replaced with bourbon whiskey.
  • Ruby Rum Sunrise: Combination of grapefruit juice and rum.
  • Tequila Margarita Sunrise: Tequila mixed with Margarita, Clearly!


Tequila Sunrise has been surviving for a long time. Without a doubt, it has given prominence to other cocktails such as sour sunrise and ruby rum sunrise. Yet, we would say that “the original remains original.” At this platform today, we have informed you about the unique and step-by-step Tequila sunrise recipe.

“Booze makes you feel better but Tequila sunrise makes you relax!”

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