The History of the Tequila Sunrise

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It is very rare to find the Tequila Sunrise on the cocktail menu of any self-respecting classy establishment these days, since it has gained a rather tacky reputation, with most proud mixologists avoiding putting it on their menu. But we think this is an unfair assumption of a drink that can actually be quite tasty when mixed properly!

Raucous Connotations for the Tequila Sunrise


If you are a person of a certain age, you will likely remember the Rolling Stones and their outrageous rock-n-roll antics. The 70s were a time of rebellion, punk and rock music, and the Rolling Stones played up to this image well, all the while selling out tours all over the world. While they were in San Francisco to promote their Exile on Main St album, they were handed a drink by bartender Bobby Lazoff, made of Tequila, orange juice and grenadine at a bar called The Trident. An immediate success with the band, they requested the drink everywhere they went, on a tour that soon became legendary for riots, fighting and antics with Playboy bunnies. They were credited with the almost instant popularity of the cocktail, as well as helping raise the profits of tequila company, Jose Cuervo. Other bands soon joined in on the action, with the Eagles even making a song called Just Another Tequila Sunrise in 1973.

Humble Cocktail Origins


So, it is easy to see why the cocktail quickly became associated with drugs, sex and rock n’ roll, but the Tequila Sunrise had actually been around a long time before Mick Jagger discovered it! It was originally made as a twist on the Singapore Sling at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in the 1930s, mixed with tequila, lime juice, soda water and crème de cassis. The bartenders at The Trident had a little fun with the drink and simplified it to create the classic drink we know today.

Fresh is Best


The other problem that many have with this drink, is that it is often made with syrupy, pre-mixed concentrates, making it sickly sweet and taking away the sophisticated, alcoholic edge. When made properly, with fresh orange juice and homemade pomegranate grenadine, as well as the traditional Jose Cuervo tequila, it is actually a very refreshing and enjoyable beverage, best consumed when the sun is setting on a hit summers afternoon. And if you ever forget the recipe, just check the side of your Tequila bottle – its sure to be there!

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