Tequila Sunrise

With its unmistakable red and orange hue, a good Tequila Sunrise is easy to recognize.

Tequila Sunrise

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

Total Time:
5 mins

Few cocktails embody their name as perfectly as the Tequila Sunrise, a classic summertime drink that gets its warm, red hue from a grenadine float over freshly squeezed orange juice. Despite its popularity, the Tequila Sunrise is a relatively recent invention. According to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the cocktail was first invented at Agua Caliente, a Prohibition-era resort in Tijuana, Mexico, which famously served a variation of the drink with creme de cassis. Still, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the Tequila Sunrise fully took off –– The Eagles released a song named after the drink in 1973, and tequila giant Jose Cuervo, recognizing America’s unwavering love for the drink, began conveniently including the recipe on the back of its bottles. 

Despite calling for just three ingredients –– blanco tequila, orange juice, and grenadine –– the Tequila Sunrise requires a little more finesse than just throwing everything together in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. After combining the tequila and orange juice in a highball glass (we got slightly fancier with Mamo’s highball-coupe hybrids, which can be found here), be sure to slowly pour the grenadine over the back of a spoon, so it slowly dispersed into the drink and serves as a float, settling at the bottom of your glass. Once you’ve purchased a bottle of grenadine, you’ll be surprised at how versatile it can be –– use it in a classic Shirley Temple or, if you’re feeling trendy, a Dirty Shirley; grenadine is also perfect for a Blood Peach Bellini.


  • 2 ounces tequila

  • 4 ounces orange juice

  • 1/2 ounce grenadine

  • 1 orange peel (for garnish)

  • 1 Luxardo cherry (for garnish)


  1. Stir together orange juice and tequila in an ice-filled highball glass until chilled.

  2. Balance an upside down tablespoon on the rim of the glass, and slowly pour grenadine over spoon. 

  3. Garnish with orange peel and Luxardo cherry.

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