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Monday, August 9, 2010

Tequila Sunrise: A classic cocktail from… Arizona?

The other evening the Utah Mixologist asked Mrs. Mixologist if she would like a cocktail.  (Mrs. Mixologist has the advantage of living with the Utah Mixologist, which means that she usually gets served some pretty good cocktails, except maybe some of the experimental ones.)   She thought a minute and then asked for a Tequila Sunrise (a drink she had never before requested). “Tequila Sunrise?” said the Mixologist, “Have you been hanging out in a 70s bar?”  Well of course she hadn’t, or at least not for the past 30 years, but a seed was sown. 

This piece of Americana was actually invented near Utah (well, relatively) at the Arizona Biltmore, due south of Salt Lake City in Phoenix.  There are two recipes for this IBA Cocktail, a traditional one dating from around 1940 made with Crème de Cassis and one designed for production bars (or at least bars lacking in Crème de Cassis).  Both, of course, would have to be tested.

Both recipes are built in a highball glass, but the Quickie Tequila Sunrise is a slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am type of drink.  Ice, Tequila (any old kind), OJ, and a splash of Grenadine.  The Original Tequila Sunrise is a thinking (wo)man’s drink: ice, Crème de Cassis, Tequila 100% de Agave, lime juice, and club soda.  It reminds one of an El Diablo, but without the Ginger Beer.  The Mixologist, an American Original, prefers the Original.  If you decide to try both in the same evening, please make sure you’re not driving.

Original Tequila Sunrise

1 ½ oz Tequila 100% de Agave
¾ oz Crème de Cassis
Squeeze of lime juice (about ¼ oz, or juice of ¼ lime)
Soda water

Fill a highball glass with ice.  Add the Crème de Cassis, then the Tequila.  Fill the glass with Soda water and top it with the squeeze of lime juice.  Garnish with a lime wheel, serve with a stirrer straw, and sip it slowly.  The Cassis should slowly diffuse upward, giving the cocktail the appearance of a sunrise over a Mexican Beach.

Quickie Tequila Sunrise

1 ½ oz Tequila
2-3 oz Orange Juice
Splash of Grenadine

Fill a highball glass with ice.  Add the Tequila and fill the glass with OJ, but not too full.  Tilt the glass to one side and shoot the splash of Grenadine down the side.  Garnish with an orange wheel or a lime wheel and serve with a straw.  The Grenadine should slowly diffuse upward, giving the cocktail the appearance of a sunrise.

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