Sour Sunrise Cocktail

Sour Sunrise With Bourbon Whiskey

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
  • Yield: 1 cocktail

The sour sunrise is a fun interpretation of the popular tequila sunrise, featuring bourbon with a little extra tartness to keep things interesting. It's a great cocktail for summer, brunch, or any occasion that requires a drink that is both familiar and unique.

The recipe is very simple and once you have a premium bourbon in hand, it is all about the fresh ingredients. Be sure to squeeze the lemon and orange juices to create the best tasting drink, and don't forget about making your own simple syrup and grenadine. These two syrups are very easy to make from scratch and store in the bar for everyday use.


  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 1 1/4 ounces lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice (fresh)
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a cocktail shaker without ice, pour the bourbon, citrus juices, and simple syrup.

  3. Shake once. Add ice and shake again.

  4. Strain into a cocktail glass.

  5. Slowly pour the grenadine around the inner edge of the glass. It will run down the sides and sink to the bottom, creating the sunrise effect.

  6. Serve and enjoy!


  • Unlike other sunrise cocktails, there is no ice to filter the grenadine, so pouring it around the glass (rather than directly in the middle) helps it sink as intended.
  • One lemon should yield enough juice for a single drink. For the orange, a single fruit should produce enough juice for at least four cocktails, if not more.
  • As with most "up" drinks, serving this in a chilled glass is highly recommended. Since cocktail glasses don't fit conveniently in the average freezer, you can give it a quick chill by placing a few ice cubes in the glass while you mix the drink. Simply discard them before straining.

Recipe Variations

  • Other styles of whiskey can add an interesting twist to the drink's flavor.
  • Try this drink with other liquors instead of whiskey. Tequila's a natural choice and interesting against the high concentration of lemon; a vodka is also an excellent option, though aged rum is fun as well.
  • Double or triple the amount of orange juice to create a drink that's less tart. The slightly taller drink will likely have to be poured into an old-fashioned glass to hold the extra volume and you can always serve it on the rocks if you like.

How Strong Is a Sour Sunrise Cocktail?

For a drink served in the martini style, the sour sunrise is surprisingly light. Much of that is due to the fact that bourbon is the only liquor. Even when using a 90 proof bourbon, the drink mixes up to just 14 percent ABV (28 proof). That's more along the lines of a glass of wine and half of the Manhattan's strength.