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Tequila sunrise

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Tequila sunrise
IBA official cocktail
A tequila sunrise demonstrating its resemblance to an inverted sunrise, in a stemware rather than the usual collins glass
TypeMixed drink
Base spirit
ServedOn the rocks: poured over ice
Standard garnishhalf orange slice or orange zest
Standard drinkware
Highball glass
IBA specified
PreparationPour tequila and orange juice directly into highball glass filled with ice cubes. Add the grenadine syrup to create chromatic effect (sunrise), do not stir.
Tequila sunrise recipe at International Bartenders Association

The tequila sunrise is a cocktail made of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup. The drink is served unmixed in a tall glass. The modern drink originates from Sausalito, California, in the early 1970s after an earlier iteration created in the 1930s in Phoenix, Arizona. The cocktail is named for its appearance when served—with gradations of color resembling an inverted sunrise.



The original tequila sunrise contained tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice, and soda water. It was created at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel by Gene Sulit in the 1930s or 1940s.[1]

The more popular modern version of the cocktail contains tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, and was created by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice in the early 1970s while they were working as young bartenders at the Trident in Sausalito, California north of San Francisco. At a party at the Trident organized by Bill Graham to kick off the Rolling Stones' 1972 tour in America, Mick Jagger had one of the cocktails, liked it, and he and his entourage started drinking them.[2][3] They later ordered them all across America, even dubbing the tour itself their "cocaine and tequila sunrise tour".[4][5]

According to Lozoff, at the time the Trident was the largest outlet for tequila in the United States, and in 1973 Jose Cuervo picked up on the new drink as a marketing opportunity and put the recipe for the new drink on the back of their bottles of tequila, and promoted it in other ways. Later that same year, the Eagles recorded a song called "Tequila Sunrise" for their Desperado album as the drink was soaring in popularity.[6] In 1988, a successful film titled Tequila Sunrise was released, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Gibson, and Kurt Russell and directed by Robert Towne.

Trident Tequila Sunrise Historical Marker

On June 25, 2023, the Marin History Museum placed a historical marker at the Trident Restaurant to commemorate the Rolling Stones party and the re-interpretation of the Tequila Sunrise there.[7]

Preparation and serving


The tequila sunrise is considered a long drink and is usually served in a collins or highball glass. The International Bartender Association has designated this cocktail as an IBA Official Cocktail.

The drink is made by pouring in tequila, then the orange juices, and grenadine last. The drink’s signature look is created by adding the grenadine without it mixing with the other ingredients. A spoon may be used to guide the syrup down the glass wall to the bottom with minimal mixing. Ice may be added before the tequila, or chilled orange juice may be used.

See also

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  1. ^ "The Wright Bar at the Arizona Biltmore". Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  2. ^ Clinton, Larry (9 August 2023). "Tequila Sunrise – a drink with big Marin history". Marin Local News. Sausalito Historical Society. Archived from the original on 24 August 2023. Retrieved 20 August 2023.
  3. ^ Burkhart, Jeff (2011-06-19). Doug Bunnell (ed.). "Barfly: when it's not just another tequila sunrise". Marin Independent Journal. Novato CA: David Rounds. ISSN 0891-5164. OCLC 61313188. Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-10-21. Mick came up to the bar and asked for a margarita, I asked him if he had ever tried a tequila sunrise, he said no, I built him one and they started sucking them up. After that they took them all across the country.
  4. ^ Richards, Keith (Oct 26, 2010). "9". Life. New York: Little, Brown. p. 326. ISBN 978-0316034418. Retrieved 2014-10-21. The '72 tour was known by other names—the cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour, or the STP, Stones Touring Party.
  5. ^ Richards, Keith (October 14, 2010). "Exclusive 'Life' Excerpt from Keith Richards". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  6. ^ Burkhart, Jeff (February 17, 2012). "Just Another Tequila Sunrise". National Geographic Assignment Blog. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-10-21. In 1973, Jose Cuervo seized on this new cocktail sensation and began marketing it in various print advertisements, eventually releasing it as one of their canned 'club cocktails.' 'Lou, (the manager of the Trident) talked to the Cuervo people,' said Lozoff. 'We were the biggest outlet in the United States, and they were talking to us – that recipe, with crème de cassis, went on the back of bottles, and at one point our recipe made it on the back of the gold bottle.'
  7. ^ Burkhart, Jeff (June 21, 2023). "Celebrate National Tequila Sunrise Day where it has Bay Area roots". Mercury News. Archived from the original on August 24, 2023. Retrieved June 28, 2023.