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Tips for Hosting a Great 4th of July BBQ

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A beautiful tequila sunrise sitting on a table.

A refreshing cocktail is a nice way to start the weekend. This happy hour we're making a round of Tequila Sunrises! 

This is an easy cocktail to mix up for a spontaneous friend get-together, that romantic drink on the beach, and even your backyard BBQ. The beverage is named after its calibration of colors, resembling, well... you guessed it:  a sunrise. As legend recalls, in the 1930s or 40s, a loyal and longtime repeat guest returned to the Arizona Biltmore hotel to rest and soak up the desert sunshine. Having met the bartender, Mr. Gene Sulit, on prior visits, the guest told Gene he loved tequila, and asked the bartender to "surprise him." Gene blended soda water and tequila with Crème de Cassis and fresh lime juice. Little did either of them know that this creation was the foundation for what was to become an iconic cocktail made famous in musicmovies, and American pop culture.

The more popular and modern version of this cocktail was created in the early 1970s by Bobby Lazoff and Billy Rice, young bartenders at the Trident in Sausalito, California. They simplified the original Tequila Sunrise recipe to just orange juice, grenadine, and most important: tequila!

One night at a private party to kick off the the Rolling Stones American Tour 1972, lead singer Mick Jagger had one of these cocktails at the Tridnet, liked it, and he and his entourage subsequently ordered them all across America on the tour. No wonder it made its way into a song. 

The drink is mixed by pouring in your favorite tequila, ice, then the juice and, lastly, syrup. The signature look of the drink depends on adding the syrup without mixing it with the other ingredients. A spoon may be used to guide the syrup down the glass wall to the bottom of the glass with minimal mixing. Get fancy and garnish with an orange slice, cherry, colored straw, or maybe even one of those festive cocktail umbrellas!


  • 4.5 cl of tequila (3 parts, or roughly 1 and 1/2 oz)
  • 9 cl fresh orange juice (6 parts, or roughly 3 oz)
  • 1.5 cl Grenadine (syrup) (1 part, roughly 1/2 oz)

Note: The abbreviation "cl" stands for centiliter, which is a unit of volume, 1/100th (.338 US fluid) of a liter. 


  • Pour tequila and orange juice directly into highball with ice cubes.
  • Add a splash of grenadine to create a chromatic effect (sunrise), do not stir.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.


Recipe adapted from the International Bartenders Association .

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