I don’t like tequila.
As someone who preaches about being honest regarding drink preferences, I feel like I must say it: I am not a fan of tequila. It brings back memories from college of one too many shots and falling asleep on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor.
Now that that is out of the way, I will say that I sometimes enjoy tequila cocktails that utilize the spirit in a pleasant manner. Too often, all people think of is tequila shots with salt and lime, but there is so much more to this agave-based liquor.
Tequila as we know it is a distillation of the fermented juice of the blue agave plant. All bottles labeled tequila sold in the U.S. are produced in the city of Tequila, Mexico. This labeling distinction is similar to champagne and bourbon in that only bottles produced in those areas can carry the specific name. All agave-based spirits produced in other cities are simply called mezcal. Differentiating tequila continues with a difference in labeling depending on how long (if at all) the spirit was barrel-aged. Blanco is unaged, reposado is slightly aged, and lastly, anejo is very aged. This aging will impart a darker color to the spirit the longer it is kept in the barrel.
With a better understanding of tequila under your belt, I present this week’s cocktail: The Tequila Sunrise. A barroom classic, this is a cocktail that any bartender should be able to make. It is a sweet drink, playing off of the flavors of orange, pomegranate, and the tequila. Generally, a blanco or gold tequila is used for this cocktail, as the aged varieties are better suited for drinking straight or on the rocks. This cocktail is the perfect easy summer drink and the layering that occurs with the grenadine is always a crowd pleaser.
Good luck behind the bar.
- Highball glass filled with ice
- 1 ounce blanco tequila
- Fill with orange juice
- Top with 1/2 ounce grenadine
Pour the measured tequila into the ice-filled glass. Fill the glass with the orange juice. Measure out the grenadine and slowly pour it into the glass while circling the rim so that it flows down the side of the glass to rest at the bottom. Garnish with a cherry. And remember, it is always okay to adjust the recipe to your taste preferences.
If you have any questions or comments I will be happy to address them in the following week at the end of my article. Please send them to
By Armand Kohn
Armand Kohn is a certified bartender and University of Maryland alumnus. He now resides in Michigan where he works as a medical researcher while pursuing a master’s degree in basic medical science.