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Tequila Sunset Recipe

  • 15 min read

The tequila sunset is one of the easiest cocktails to make, but it can also be one of the most confusing.

So which tequila goes with which fruit?

And what kind of garnish does this specific type of cocktail need?

These questions will all be answered here.

What Is In A Tequila Sunset?

Before we get into how to make a tequila sunset, let’s discuss what exactly makes up a tequila sunset.

The first thing that needs to be discussed is the name itself.

What are these “sunset” drinks called anyway?

Why not just call them something else like “fruit punch”?

“Tequila sunrise,” “tequila fiesta,” or “margarita” are other options for naming these fruity drinks.

But when people think of tequila sunsets, they’re thinking about an orange colored drink served in tall glasses with lots of ice and topped off with some lime juice.

That’s why I’m calling them tequila sunsets instead of anything else.

Now that we know what a tequila sunset is, let’s talk about the ingredients.

Tequila comes from blue agave plants grown on the Mexican coast.

These plants have been around since pre-Hispanic times, and the fermented plant sap (which tastes similar to honey) was used as medicine.

When Europeans colonized Mexico, they found out about the plant and started using its sweet liquid in cooking and drinking.

They eventually began exporting the product across Europe and America.

Once the tequila became popular in the U.S., it gained more attention than ever before.

In fact, there were so many different varieties available at the time that a brand new industry developed around them.

This industry gave rise to such names as Silver Oak, Patron, Jose Cuervo, Sauza, and others.

If you’re wondering where the term “sundown” came from, there’s actually no connection between the two things.

Sunset refers to the end of daylight hours while sundown describes the beginning of darkness.

However, both terms were applied to the same concept during the early days of tequila production.

So now you know everything you need to know about tequila sunsets.

Let’s move onto learning how to make them.

Tequila Sunset Recipe

How Do You Make A Tequila Sunset?

The tequila sunset is an original drink created by Tequila Avion.

The company was founded in 2013 by Pauline Salas de la Cruz who wanted to create a new brand that reflected her Mexican heritage.

This style of tequila has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its natural flavors and unique taste profile.

The tequila sunset is made up of three ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and strawberries or raspberries.

To complete the cocktail, you’ll add either strawberry water or raspberry syrup (see below).

You can serve these drinks straight from the bottle or mix them into something else like lemonade or iced tea.

To start making your own tequila sunset, you’ll need:

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ¾ cup fresh strawberries or raspberries

You may use any combination of both berries as long as there are equal amounts used.

For example, if you have 4 cups of strawberries and 3 cups of raspberries, then you would combine 1 cup of each.

Next pour the mixture into a shaker filled with ice cubes.

Shake until well mixed, strain into a glass, and enjoy immediately!

What Is The History Of The Tequila Sunset?

The tequila sunset was created by bartender Joe De Luca in 2006 at Bar Centro in New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood.

He named his creation after the famous Mexican sunset scene that many people associate with tequila.

It took him some time before he decided on the exact mixture formula that would work best for his signature drink.

But once he had settled on a great recipe, the tequila sunset quickly became popular among bartenders around the world.

Since its original invention, there have been several versions of the tequila sunset, each adding their own unique twist or variation on the classic cocktail.

For example, the tequila sunrise has become more popular than the tequila sunset over the past few years because it uses orange juice instead of lime juice as the base ingredient.

But let’s go back to the tequila sunset first.

The ingredients include tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, club soda, and seltzer water (or sparkling water).

You may use either silver or reposado tequila in your drinks, depending on how strong you want them to taste.

When making the tequila sunset, you don’t just add the citrus juices and other ingredients together and shake.

Instead, you combine everything into a shaker filled with ice cubes and then shake vigorously.

This creates an intense burst of flavor when combined with the alcohol and carbonation in the cold liquid.

After shaking up the ingredients, you strain out the ice from the mix and pour it into glasses filled with crushed ice.

Some bars serve the tequila sunset straight from the shaker while others allow guests to choose between serving it shaken or stirred.

However you prefer to enjoy it, know that making a good tequila sunset takes practice and patience.

If you’re looking for another cocktail recipe to try next, check out these recipes for margaritas and piña coladas that contain tequila.

Tequila Sunset Recipe2

What Are The Different Variations Of The Tequila Sunset?

There are several different types of tequila sunsets out there, some more popular than others.

The original tequila sunrise is made from reposado or aged tequilas blended with orange juice and grenadine syrup.

In recent years, however, the term has been used to describe any drink that includes tequila in its ingredients list.

Some people even use the name “sunset” as an umbrella term to cover drinks like margaritas, daiquiris, etc.

So how do you know if you’re drinking the real thing? Here are a few tips on identifying the right tequila sunset:

  • If the drink contains fresh squeezed citrus juices (lemon, lime, grapefruit), then it probably isn’t a true tequila sunset.
  • You should look for recipes that call for sweetened condensed milk instead.
  • Look at the sugar content of your drink.
  • If it is too high, then chances are it is not a true tequila sunset.
  • While many brands have added sugar to their products since prohibition, they typically add less than 1 gram per serving.
  • Check the alcohol content of your drink.
  • Tequila sunsets usually contain between 40% and 50% ABV.
  • Anything above that is considered a rum cocktail, so don’t confuse it with a tequila sunset.
  • A true tequila sunset must include agave nectar, which is found in only three countries in Mexico (Guerrero, Jalisco and Nayarit).
  • Other ingredients like pineapple, mango, guava, papaya, passion fruit, raspberries, strawberries, banana, coconut, etc., may be included in the mix, but these additions aren’t required by law.
  • Some companies might call their product a tequila sunset just because it uses tequila in the ingredients list.
  • Look closely at the label before buying.

Now let’s take a look at the different variations of the tequila sunset.

What Is The Origin Of The Tequila Sunset?

A tequila sunrise was invented in Mexico by Don Julio around 1940.

This drink was created when Don Julio’s owner, Ramón Corona, ordered his staff to create an orange juice concoction that would taste like hemlock (a poisonous plant).

They added a shot of brandy to give the drink its color.

The result was so good that Don Julio started marketing it as “the new Mexican cocktail.”

Later on, tequilas were used instead of brandy.

Tequila sunrises became popular throughout Latin America, and eventually made their way into American culture through bartenders who traveled back and forth between the United States and Mexico.

By the 1970s, several companies had begun producing tequila sunrises.

But these drinks didn’t have any fresh citrus juices or fruits, just simple syrups.

In the 1980s, however, tequila manufacturers began experimenting with other ingredients such as pineapple, mango, papaya, and even melon.

These experiments led to the creation of the tequila sunset.

Today there are two main types of tequila sunsets – those with fresh citrus juices and those without.

Both are delicious, though some people prefer the non-citrus ones because they don’t use artificial flavors to flavor them up.

Tequila Sunset Recipe3

How Do You Serve A Tequila Sunset?

When you’re ready to enjoy a tequila sunset, simply mix your favorite spirit with fresh citrus juice in an ice filled glass.

The best way to ensure that your drink stays chilled while you sip is either by adding crushed ice or using a blender instead of shaking.

If you choose to use crushed ice, add about half as much as you would normally put into a standard cocktail (for example, for every ounce of spirits you want to blend, add three ounces of crushed ice).

Next, pour your liquid over the top of the ice and then stir thoroughly before serving.

This will give your mixture time to chill completely before taking a first sip.

A good rule of thumb when making any cocktail, particularly if you don’t know how to properly shake, is to always start from the bottom up.

That means starting with the smallest amount of ingredients possible, blending them together, and working your way up until everything has been added.

When mixing tequila sunsets, however, this isn’t necessary.

Instead, just follow these simple steps:

  • Add a few drops of orange bitters to your glass.
  • Pour your tequila on top of the ice.
  • Squeeze lemon juice onto the surface of your tequila.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge.

If you’d like, add a splash of soda water before pouring your drink down your throat – this helps keep the flavors balanced and prevents the citrus flavor from overpowering other ones present in the cocktail.

What Are Some Of The Most Popular Tequila Sunsets?

There’s no denying that tequilas have gotten really popular in recent years.

They’re so much more affordable than they were even just five or ten years ago, plus they offer such unique flavors that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

Tequila is one of those things where people either love it or hate it.

But if you’ve found yourself falling into the former camp, then there’s no better time to start exploring different types than now.

One of the best ways to get acquainted with new kinds of tequilas (and other spirits) is through their sunsets.

These cocktails are made by mixing two or three different tequilas together and adding an additional ingredient like fresh lime juice, simple syrup, or sparkling wine.

The result is a drink that tastes great on its own, but has enough flavor punch to pair well with whatever food you might want to eat while drinking it.

Plus, because the tequila itself is already pretty strong, these cocktails don’t require as much sugar to balance them out—so you can enjoy your drinks guilt-free.

If you’re looking to try something different, we’ve got some suggestions below for some of the most popular tequila sunsets.

Margarita Sunrise

This classic margarita gets a little twist when served in a glass with a straw and topped off with crushed ice.

This makes it easier to sip without burning your tongue from the heat of the alcohol.

You can use any tequila you’d like, but I recommend using mezcal instead of tequila since it’s usually less expensive and packs a bigger punch.

If you don’t have mezcal, though, stick with regular tequila.

Tequila Sunset

The tequila sunset is similar to the margarita sunrise, except it uses a combination of two different tequilas instead of just one.

You’ll still want to add a splash of lime juice, but you could go ahead and use agave nectar instead of plain old sugar if you prefer.

Mojito Sunset

This particular tequila sunset is a lot sweeter than the others, thanks to the addition of simple syrup.

That means you should definitely skip the extra squeeze of lime juice and opt for a fresh piece instead.

Cosmo Sunset

A cosmopolitan isn’t exactly known for being subtle, but sometimes you just gotta shake up your usual cocktail routine.

The tequila sunset is another great option for giving your standard cosmo a bit of a kick.

Just remember not to overdo it.

Adding too many ingredients can ruin the overall taste of the cocktail, especially since the tequila itself tends to pack quite a punch.

What Are Some Tips For Making A Perfect Tequila Sunset?

A tequila sunset is made using two parts tequila and one part fresh juice (usually citrus).

The classic version uses white grapefruit as its base, while other variations use pomegranate or orange juices.

To create an ideal tequila sunset, first choose your preferred flavor of tequila.

Then pick out the right amount of fresh juice, whether that’s lemonade, limes, oranges, or grapefruits.

Finally, add in any other desired ingredients like simple syrup, bitters, grenadine, or even a splash of soda water.

Here’s how to do just that:

  • First, pour yourself a tall glass full of ice cubes.
  • This helps keep the tequila cool so it doesn’t get warm too quickly.
  • Next, grab a bottle of your favorite tequila.
  • You want something spicy and strong enough for your taste buds to enjoy while still being light on your wallet.
  • Now you have two options for mixing the tequila with the juice.
  • If you prefer more sweetness from the sugar, then add 1/3 cup of simple syrup to the mixture before adding the rest of the fruits.
  • For less sweet flavors, simply mix them together without any extra sugar added.
  • Once everything has been combined, shake up the whole thing well until there aren’t any clumps left.
  • Now chill the concoction thoroughly and serve over ice.

How Should You Drink A Tequila Sunset?

First off, when drinking a tequila sunset you want to avoid mixing more than two ingredients together because that way your taste buds won’t have enough time to taste everything at once.

Instead, take small bites into each component, so there’s enough time for each flavor to come out.

You don’t necessarily need to pour every ingredient in order from left to right, either – just mix them up until they reach your desired consistency.

If you find yourself getting stuck on how much sugar or lime juice to add next, try adding less of it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or simple syrup)
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (or orange curacao)
  • 1 ounce silver tequila
  • Lemon peel (optional)
  • Grapefruit wedge (optional)
  • Rose petals (optional)

Instructions:

  • Pour 1/4 cup of agave nectar into a shaker filled with ice cubes.
  • Add triple sec and tequila.
  • Shake well for 10 seconds.
  • Strain into an old fashioned glass.
  • Squeeze lemon peel over top followed by grapefruit wedge if using.
  • Place rose petals on the rim of the glass if using.
  • Serve immediately with straws.

Benefits:

A tequila sunset is a delicious combination of flavors and textures.

The sweet citrus notes from the triple sec meld perfectly with the spicy aroma of the tequila, while the agave nectar gives the drink its sweetness.

Rose water is added as a finishing touch to give the drink extra floral bouquet.

What Are Some Of The Best Tequila Sunsets You’ve Ever Had?

There’s no shortage of tequila sunsets out there—so many that I’ve been able to test several myself.

I’m not going to say any of them were my favorite (that would take way too long), but they definitely made an impression on me.

Here are just a few of the ones I tried in order from least favorite to most favorite:

  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Hibiscus Lemonade Sunset
  • Cherry Lime Tequila Sunset
  • Grapefruit Mojito Sunset
  • Kumquat Margarita Sunset
  • Lime Pineapple Martini Sunset
  • Mango Passion Fruit Cocktail Sunset

If you have your own tequila sunrise or hibiscus lemonade sunset recipes that you think deserve more attention than these, please share them in the comments below!

Tequila Sunset Recipe

Tequila Sunset Recipe

The tequila sunset is one of the easiest cocktails to make, but it can also be one of the most confusing.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Tequila Sunset Recipe
Servings: 2
Calories: 282kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Glass

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce Tequila
  • 1 Lemon peel
  • 1 Grapefruit wedge
  • 1 Rose petals

Instructions

  • Pour 1/4 cup of agave nectar into a shaker filled with ice cubes.
  • Add triple sec and tequila.
  • Shake well for 10 seconds.
  • Strain into an old fashioned glass.
  • Squeeze lemon peel over top followed by grapefruit wedge if using.
  • Place rose petals on the rim of the glass if using.
  • Serve immediately with straws.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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