Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

Tequila Sunrise
The Spruce
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
100 Calories
0g Fat
21g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 17mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are many things to love about the tequila sunrise. It's easy to mix up at a moment's notice, and a beautiful, refreshingly fruity cocktail. Of course, there's also tequila!

While it is a great cocktail, the famous orange juice and grenadine version is not the original. If you want a taste of the first tequila sunrise, you'll need lime juice, crème de cassis, and club soda. It's equally delicious and includes the signature "sunrise" effect, but has an entirely different taste. Both drinks make a fabulous addition to a brunch table.

The Modern Tequila Sunrise

There's no doubt that the tequila sunrise is one of the most popular tequila drinks. The layering effect that creates the sunrise occurs naturally, so anyone can pull it off.

Grenadine is a pomegranate-flavored syrup that adds sweetness to balance out the tart orange juice. When poured, it sinks to the bottom of the glass to form the sunrise. The key is to avoid stirring the drink after adding the grenadine so it won't mix with the juice and turn it into a blush pink drink.


Click Play to See This Delicious Tequila Sunrise Cocktail Recipe Come Together


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather ingredients.

    Tequila Sunrise ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. In a highball glass filled with ice cubes, pour the tequila and orange juice.

    Pour the tequila and the orange juice into a highball glass with ice cubes
     The Spruce
  3. Stir well.

    Stir cocktail mixture
    The Spruce
  4. Slowly pour the grenadine around the inside edge of the glass. It will sink and gradually rise to mix with the other ingredients.

    Slowly pour grenadine inside cocktail glass
    The Spruce
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

    Garnish with orange and cherry
    The Spruce
  6. Serve and enjoy!


There are a few stories behind the origin of the tequila sunrise. As with most cocktail histories, things get a little cloudy at times, and it's hard to know which story to believe.

One account claims that the drink welcomed tourists to Cancun and Acapulco in the 1950s. A more plausible story gives credit to Gene Sulit, who tended bar at the Arizona Hotel in the 1930s and '40s. He likely created the original version. Another attributes it to bartenders Bobby Lazoff and Billy Rice during the tequila craze of the 1970s at the Trident Restaurant in Sausalito, California. It's thought that this is where the drink transformed into the popular orange juice version.

The Original Recipe

The original tequila sunrise is sparkling, light, and features crème de cassis, a sweet black currant liqueur with a deep red color. To make this drink, pour 1 1/2 ounces tequila and the juice of 1/2 lime into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda, then slowly pour 3/4 ounce crème de cassis into the drink. Garnish with a lime wheel and maraschino cherry.

How Strong Is a Tequila Sunrise?

Assuming that you pour an 80-proof tequila and end up with a 7-ounce drink, the alcohol content of either tequila sunrise will be around 11 percent alcohol by volume (22 proof). You can pour as much tequila or as little juice and soda as you like to make stronger or weaker drinks, but almost always a relatively mild cocktail.

Recipe Variations

The signature sunrise effect of the tequila sunrise has inspired many drinks over the years. If you enjoy that touch of sweetness and the beautiful impression it leaves in your glass, give one of these recipes a try:

  • When you don't feel like drinking, skip the tequila, and enjoy a virgin sunrise. It's a tasty way to sweeten up your morning OJ.
  • There is a margarita for everything, and the blended tequila sunrise margarita is quite fun.
  • The firefly pairs vodka and grapefruit juice with grenadine to create a simple, tart drink.
  • Similarly, the ruby rum sunrise is a sweet-sour rum cocktail with grapefruit juice.
  • A stunning martini-style drink, the sour sunrise switches to bourbon whiskey.
  • The peach candy corn cocktail is a playful whipped cream vodka cocktail that's ideal for Halloween.
  • For a delicate mocktail featuring peach juice, try the sparkling peach sunrise.
  • The Waterloo sunset mixes gin, elderflower, and Champagne with a raspberry-flavored sunrise.