How to make a Tequila Sunrise cocktail with homemade grenadine using a simple combination of pomegranate juice, sugar, and orange peel. This simple cocktail makes a great brunch drink or easy-going sipper with tequila, orange juice and grenadine.
Way back in November I was lucky enough to go on my second annual California Agritour with California Grown.
Unlike the 2019 tour where we got to tour growers in Santa Barbara, this one was virtual, but still so interesting and I always come away with a renewed pride and appreciation of the farmers and farmworkers who make California the leading agricultural state in the nation.
This year was all about the San Joaquin Valley and the HUGE variety of produce, nuts, fruits, cheese, olive oil, and so much more that come from this part of the state. Keep reading to learn more about who we met and how to use California produce in your kitchen everyday!
Photo Credit: James Collier and Alycia Moreno for CA Grown
First though, I want to celebrate the California farmers, ranchers, farm workers and fisher people who work 24/7/365 to provide food, fiber and foliage for the world with one of my favorite cocktails: The Tequila Sunrise!
the tequila sunrise: a true california cocktail
Like most cocktail recipes, the origins of the Tequila Sunrise are foggy but many people credit the Trident Bar in Sausalito, California as the inventors of this simple, easy-drinking cocktail.
The drink owes its popularity to Mick Jagger however, who enjoyed one (okay, probably more than one) at the Trident during their 1972 American tour and was so enamored with the drink he ordered them at every tour stop along the way.
what’s in a tequila sunrise?
This tequila cocktail is an easy 3-ingredient drink made with orange juice, blanco tequila, and grenadine. Then is topped with a traditional garnish of an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
Because there are so few ingredients it is important to use the best versions of each one which is why I urge you to use the best tequila you’ve got, fresh-squeezed (California) orange juice, and homemade grenadine.
how to make a tequila sunrise
The allure of the Tequila Sunrise is its namesake appearance of a sunrise in a glass. Typically the drink is served in a tall glass filled with ice and the grenadine settles to the bottom of the glass creating that sunrise effect.
I prefer to shake the orange juice and tequila with ice in a shaker and strain into a cocktail glass instead of using the classic tall glasses. Fresh squeezed orange juice is too delicate to be sitting with ice for too long, so serving it straight up is the way to go.
Adding the grenadine to the glass work just as well served this way, it will sink to the bottom and make a beautiful display.
And just in case you were wondering, a Tequila Sunset is made with Crème de cassis or Blackberry brandy instead of the grenadine.
how to make grenadine from scratch
Grenadine is commonly mischaracterized as having a cherry flavor but it is actually traditionally made with pomegranate juice. Grenadine is French for pomegranate.
On our agritour we learned that California produces 100% of the nation’s pomegranate crop, so what better way to celebrate than to make our very own batch of homemade grenadine?
It’s super easy.
- Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the peel of 1 orange and continue simmering for 5 more minutes or until the liquid has a nice, thick consistency.
- Let cool. Remove the orange peel and pour into a tightly-sealed container.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
recipes and notes from the san joaquin valley
You probably don’t realize it, but if you live in the US most of the fresh produce, nuts, wine, and flowers you buy at the grocery store come from California (we grow over 400 commodities!) and a lot of it comes from the San Joaquin Valley. Let’s check out a few!
real california dairy
When you see the Real California Milk seal, you’ll feel good knowing that the product is certified as having been made with 100% Real California Milk from California dairy farm families.
Like the Fiscalini Farmstead we visited, 99% of California dairies are family owned and California leads the nation in sustainable dairy production and is number one in milk, ice cream, butter, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate and is the second largest producer of cheese and yogurt.
real california dairy recipes to try:
- Deep Dish Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
- Soft Ricotta Banana Bread
- Rainbow Veggie Quesadillas
- Tres Leches French Toast Casserole
california sweet potatoes
Photo Credit: Alycia Moreno for CA Grown
Before our agritour I knew sweet potatoes were good for you, but I had no idea how much! They are high in nutrients, low in calories, fat and cholesterol-free and have loads of fiber! Quite possibly the most healthy vegetable on the planet.
Jason Tucker, from the Tucker Produce Company showed us why California grows such delicious sweet potatoes with a visit to his family farm. The sunshine and warm, dry climate mean their sweet potatoes can cure right on the vine instead of storage sheds for lush, flavorful sweet potatoes.
california sweet potato recipes to try!
- Sweet Potato Nachos with Smoked Cheddar and Black Beans
- Sweet Potato and Chorizo Quiche
- Sweet Potato and Bacon Gorditas
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Lentil Tacos
- Mexican Breakfast Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
california olive oil
Photo credit: James Collier for CA Grown
Rolland Rosenthal from the Rosenthal Olive Ranch shared how high-density hedge row-grown California olives allow for maximum yields and mechanical harvesting and increased food safety.
We were sent a bottle of this golden olive oil made from Arbequina olives which we finished off in record time. Look for California olive oil on your next trip to the grocery store. Buying olive oil produced in California means it will be fresher and has met precise standards set by the California system.
california olive oil recipes to try
- Olive Oil and Spiced Butternut Squash Bundt Cake
- Spicy Marinated Olives with Roasted Garlic and Herbs
- Chile-Lime Olive Oil Broiled Salmon
ready to raise a glass to california grown?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into a tiny fraction of what makes California agriculture so special. Find some California-grown oranges and pomegranates and shake up a Tequila Sunrise cocktail to celebrate! When you do snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) !
for the homemade grenadine:
for the tequila sunrise:
- 3 ounces (1/3 cup) fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) blanco tequila
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) homemade grenadine
- an orange wheel and a maraschino cherry for garnish
- make the grenadine. Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the orange peel and let simmer 5 more minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove orange peel and pour into a tightly-sealed container. Grenadine will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator.
- make the tequila sunrise. Combine orange juice and tequila in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Add grenadine by spooning into the bottom of the glass. Garnish with the orange wedge and cherry and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 720Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 126gFiber: 8gSugar: 96gProtein: 8g
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