Vodka Sunrise | This vodka sunrise drink is a tiny twist on the classic Tequila Sunrise cocktail, using vodka instead of tequila, plus the typical orange juice and grenadine syrup. My Vodka Sunrise recipe takes only minutes to prepare and the easy pouring technique will leave you with a beautiful sunrise effect to this classic summer cocktail.
If you like the classic tequila sunrise cocktail but prefer vodka over tequila, you'll love this Vodka Sunrise cocktail recipe. With 3 ingredients and 5 minutes plus a cool technique for getting the beautiful sunrise effect, this is one of the most perfect summer drinks.
All you need for this drink is your favorite vodka - I use Tito's Vodka in my vodka cocktails like my Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Cocktail - it's just my favorite.
You'll need an orange juice you like. If your orange juice isn't sweet enough for you, you can also add in a splash of simple syrup to sweeten your drink a touch. Use my simple syrup recipe - this is truly a simple recipe.
The last ingredient you'll need for this drink is the grenadine syrup - it's kinda sweet, kinda tart, and kinda fruity. It's basically pomegranate juice cooked with sugar until it reduces down to a thick, bright red syrup.
The grenadine gives this drink the sunrise look with colors varying from bright red to pinky peach to orange to pale yellow - it's really pretty, as you can see from the photos.
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What is a Vodka Sunrise?
A vodka sunrise is a cocktail made with vodka, orange juice, and grenadine syrup. Pouring the grenadine in slowly and last gives the drink an ombre shade, like the colors of a sunrise.
What is grenadine?
Grenadine is a syrup typically made from pomegranate juice that is reduced with sugar to yield a thick, bright red syrup commonly used in cocktails to give a red or pink tint. Grenadine syrup is used in such cocktail recipes as the Tequila Sunrise or Vodka Sunrise as well as replicas of the Singapore Sling.
How do you get the layers in a vodka sunrise?
The trick to getting the layers in a vodka sunrise is the pour the grenadine last and slowly directly into the center. See my step-by-step photos and the video in this post to see it in action.
Because grenadine is thicker and heavier than orange juice and vodka, it slips right through to the bottom and sort of hangs out in a little red fog.
Use a straw to stir lightly to get the look below with the ombre shading. To get a pinky peachy-colored drink stir the drink for about 10 seconds.
About the ingredients for this recipe. See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- Vodka: Vodka is a great alcohol choice for cocktails because it doesn't have much of a distinct flavor on its own and can be very smooth if you buy a nice one. I prefer Tito's vodka in my vodka cocktails. It's made from corn and known for its super smooth flavor. Tito's vodka is a vodka I can drink simply over ice. Use your favorite vodka! I've also been testing 204 Vodka lately - it's a local Manitoba vodka made from grains and distilled 5 times.
- orange juice: Just use your favorite, use fresh, use whatever you have. If you find your orange juice isn't sweet enough for you, add a teaspoon or two of simple syrup to the drink.
- grenadine: You can find grenadine syrup in larger grocery stores and most well-stocked liquor stores.
- Cut orange slices to garnish the drink (optional)
To a short cocktail glass, add ice and then the vodka.
Pour in the orange juice.
For the last step, pour the grenadine right into the center of the glass and pour it slowly so it gathers at the bottom.
Use a straw to gently stir it up for a few seconds, just to slightly mix the colors together.
This is what the grenadine I buy looks like.
Add an orange slice to the rim of the glass for a pretty garnish.
HOW TO CUT AN ORANGE SLICE FOR GARNISH: First wash the orange to clean the peel. Cut the orange into slices with a sharp knife. Cut from the center out to one edge. Place the orange slice on the rim of the glass. Rest the cut part of the orange on the glass to get a pretty garnish.
✔ To turn this vodka cocktail into a mocktail, leave the vodka out.
Because of the technique used to achieve the sunrise look, I'd recommend making these vodka cocktails as needed instead of ahead of time.
More vodka cocktails
Tips + FAQs
Grenadine is made of pomegranate juice and sugar cooked to reduce down to a thick, bright red syrup, commonly used to color cocktails.
To make the layers in a vodka sunrise cocktail, add the vodka and orange juice to a glass and then add the grenadine last, pouring slowly directly into the center of the drink.
Vodka Sunrise Cocktail
- Add ice to a short cocktail glass.
- Add the vodka and then the orange juice. Stir.
- Pour the grenadine slowly into the center of the glass. It'll slip down to the bottom.
- Use a straw to gently stir the grenadine, for only a few seconds to get a gentle ombre sunrise effect. You can stir more if you want a fully peach or pinky looking drink.
- Garnish with an orange slice, optional. Serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
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