Wet Bar Wednesday – Tequila Sunrise

Perhaps it’s just negative association.  There was a movie a few years back by this name.  I never saw it, despite the fact that it starred BOTH Mel Gibson AND Michelle Pfeiffer.  And some guy named Kurt Russell.  It looked awful, even if the cast looked great.  

That, and who hasn’t heard of a tequila sunrise?  Who hasn’t heard Tequila Sunrise?  And no matter how much you like the song, you’ve heard it a bazillion times and so making the drink itself seems so tiring.  
I finally gave it a shot last week, and the results were pretty pleasing overall.  As usual, adjust the quantities to your taste preferences – more tequila for more bite, more grenadine for more sweetness.
Tequila Sunrise
  • 1 tall glass (so you can admire the sunrise properly)
  • 2 oz white/silver/plata tequila (make sure it’s 100% blue agave)
  • ice
  • orange juice to top off
  • grenadine to taste/suitable effect (earlier versions use creme de cassis, which would be an odder color but still tasty)
The trick to executing this drink properly is technique.  The idea is that the various liquids will naturally stay separated, allowing the sunrise-y effect at the borders where they mingle.  
I poured the tequila in first, then added ice, and then topped with orange juice.  Putting the ice in earlier reduces the amount that the tequila and orange juice will mix.  Try to pour the orange juice down the side of the glass (on the inside, obviously) to further reduce mixing.  
Now for the tricky part.  You don’t want to pour the grenadine straight over the top.  Instead, take a spoon.  Turn the spoon upside down, and put the tip of the spoon against the inside of the glass.  Now slowly drizzle the grenadine over the back of the spoon.  The spoon will guide the grenadine to the side of the glass, where it will slide down to the bottom of the glass.  Do this slowly.  
DO NOT MIX THE DRINK!  You’ve gone to all this trouble to make a drink that is appealing visually as well as tasty.  Slide a straw into it and serve it that way.  Once the recipient has properly appreciated your prowess, they can mix the drink themselves.  They definitely should mix it before drinking it, otherwise they’re going to get a mouthful of grenadine and that’s a bit sweet.  
And, as an added bonus (and because I linked to it yesterday), here’s a fascinating infographic  detailing almost every major line of American bourbon.  It details who the parent company is, who the distiller is, how long the bourbon is aged and how it’s related to other lines.  A great visual, and helpful in determining whether it’s really worth it to pay a premium for a particular brand of bourbon!
In general, I prefer Jack Daniels, Knob Creek, Bulleit’s Bourbon and Maker’s Mark.  Woodford Reserve is also a good choice.  I keep some Jack Daniel’s on hand for mixing drinks, and use the others for sipping neat or in Manhattans or Old Fashioneds.  They’re fairly comparable price-wise overall, so it becomes a matter of what’s on sale on any given shopping run.  Costco often has larger sized bottles of Jack Daniels and Maker’s Mark for very good prices.  The Costco Kirkland brand of whiskey is also respectable and relatively inexpensive.

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