Despite its gorgeous ombre hue, the Tequila Sunrise gets a bad rap. People think of it as little more than a club drink in a cocktail world where serious drinkers enjoy Martinis or neat pours of small batch bourbon. Some of that may come from its use of sweet grenadine and some may come from its rock and roll past. Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice created the drink at The Trident Bar in Sausalito, California, debuting it at a private party for The Rolling Stones on the eve of their Exile On Main Street U.S. tour. As the story goes, after requesting a Margarita, Mick Jagger was given a Tequila Sunrise to try instead, and the band ended up ordering it at bars across America. A year later in 1973, Jose Cuervo cashed in on the cocktail’s popularity by placing the recipe on their bottle. But don’t let that overexposure and party drink reputation dissuade you. A well-made Tequila Sunrise, mixed with a quality 100% agave blanco tequila (we like Espolon or 1800) can transport you to a sunny beach on a warm summer day.
But remember, if you’re having a Tequila Sunrise, you don’t just want a tasty drink, you want to end up with a beautiful one, too. So build the drink in the glass and use the least amount of mixing possible to achieve the “sunrise” look that gives the cocktail its name.
Mix it Up
For a less sweet and more floral version, try swapping out store-bought grenadine for this homemade hibiscus grenadine.
Think of the Whiskey Sour as a citrusy version of the Old Fashioned. Fresh lemon juice makes it the perfect complement to sunny, Southern-fried days and the kind of humidity they invented cornstarch for. Many bartenders add egg whites, but the earliest printed recipe (in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 tome The Bartenders Guide) doesn’t call for th...