The Power of the Sun…

…by the palms of the beach?

Doc Ock-tail

Doc Ock-tail

Today I’m looking at that quintessential summer drink, the Tequila Sunrise. It’s unfortunate modern incarnation is often a sticky mess of carton orange juice and low-quality grenadine or raspberry cordial. Though the OJ recipe, said by Dale DeGroff to have been invented in prohibition era America, can make a decent drink with the right ingredients and proportions, I’m going to be using the older recipe which Dave Wondrich attributes to Agua Caliente in Tijuana, who printed it in their drink book in 1933.

Yes, I know it’s the middle of winter, and a very cloudy day at that. But tequila sometimes makes us do crazy things.

Tequila Sunrise


  • 45mL Silver Tequila (Trago)
  • 30mL lime juice (home grown)
  • 10mL sugar or 2:1 simple syrup
  • ~45-60mL soda water
  • 15mL Crème de Cassis (Marie Brizard)

Mix lime juice and sugar in a tall glass. Add tequila. Fill glass with ice (crushed or otherwise). Add soda. Add crème de cassis and let sink. Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve with straws.

(In case anyone’s not in on the lingo, cassis is French for blackcurrant. It always pays to use a quality liqueur, so go for the Marie Brizard brand. I think I got my bottle at 1st choice?)

Crisp lime and tequila flavours with a hint of fruity richness from the dispersed cassis. Bitter lime peel oil flavour is quite present, probably due to the thick skin on my home grown limes and the type of squeezer I’m using, and leaves an interesting depth. In fact, this might be that special something that makes this a great drink. To make sure, next time I’ll try it without getting as much lime oil in. A fascinating bonus of the sunrise building technique is that the drink shows very distinct layers not just visually but in flavour; the bottom being cassis dominant, but still with some sour punch and effervescence, the middle being a refreshing tequila lime fizz, and the top being light and fizzy and very cold. Hence, I think it’s best this be served with straws, so the drinker can explore the layers the way they choose (and stir it all together if that’s their thing).

You know, despite prancing around in a Hawaiian shirt in the 13 degree weather outside, I was feeling pretty warm. I guess, in the end, summer isn’t really a season; it’s a state of mind.

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Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 6:12 am  Leave a Comment