‘Tequila Sunrise’

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
you just get numb
it’s another tequila sunrise

Songwriters: Glenn Frey / Don Henley

– Artist: Eagles


And you thought we’re gonna talk about that 1973 hit by the rock band Eagles, Tequila Sunrise from their album Desperado released also on the same year. Well, almost but not quite. We’re going to talk about the drink, not the song which was most probably inspired by the drink.

So what is Tequila Sunrise the drink?

From that free online encyclopedia a.k.a. the internet:

Tequila Sunrise is a cocktail made of tequilaorange juice, and grenadine syrup and served unmixed in a tall glass. The modern drink originates from Sausalito in the early 1970s, after an earlier one created in the 1930s in Phoenix, near Scottsdale. The cocktail is named for its appearance when served, with gradations of color resembling a sunrise.

The original Tequila Sunrise contained tequila, crème de cassislime juice  and soda water and was served at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, where it was created by Gene Sulit in the 1930s or 1940s.

The more popular modern version of the cocktail contains tequilaorange juice, and grenadine and was created by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice in the early 1970s while working as young bartenders at the Trident in Sausalito, California north of San Francisco. In 1972, at a private party at the Trident organized by Bill Graham to kick off the Rolling Stones 1972 tour in America, Mick Jagger had one of the cocktails, liked it, and he and his entourage started drinking them. They later ordered them all across America, even dubbing the tour itself their “cocaine and tequila sunrise tour.”

And you can see why Tequila Sunrise the drink or cocktail has always been associated with rock music and the rock and roll lifestyle. The modern version started in a party for one if not the greatest rock and rolls bands in the planet, the Rolling Stones, and endorsed by perhaps the band’s most popular and flamboyant front man, “Jumping Jack Flash” himself Mick Jagger.

As Mick Jagger said, “Tequila Sunrise is best with cocaine.” It’s no surprised why it became the cocktail of choice of most rock stars, groupies and wannabes.

Imagine this: you’re in Studio 54 during its decadent heydays, the only cocktail you wanted to be seen holding in your hands was Tequila Sunrise.

Moi has always described waking up the morning after a night of Tequila overdose as “Tequila Sunrise” and the hangover is quite unpleasant to say the least.

Turn around and say good morning to the night
for unless they see the sky
but they can’t and that is why
they know not if it’s dark outside or light…

And these lines from Elton John probably best describe the disorientation of a “Tequila Sunrise” hangover.

Of course without Tequila there is no “Tequila Sunrise.” I’m pretty sure we’re all assuming that it is an alcoholic drink but what is it really.

From that free online encyclopedia a.k.a. the internet:

Tequila is a regional distilled beverage and type of alcoholic drink made from the agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 km (40 mi) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco. Aside from differences in region of origin, tequila is a type of Mezcal  (and the regions of production of the two drinks are overlapping) the distinction is that tequila must use only blue agave plants rather than any type of agave.

On the other hand: Mezcal (or mescal) is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave it meansoven-cooked agave.”

Agaves or magueys are found mainly in many parts of Mexico and all the way down to the equator, most mezcal is made in Oaxaca. A saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink is: “Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también” (“For everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good as well”).

All tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas.

Tequila is a type of mezcal, much like how scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey. According to spirits writer John McEvoy, mezcal is defined as any agave-based liquor. This includes tequila, which is made in specific regions of Mexico and must be made from only blue agave (agave tequilana).

So there you go twin sons from different mothers; Tequila and Mezcal defined with their subtle differences.

Perhaps the nearest we can have in the Philippines to Tequila and Mezcal is Lambanog but not quite.

Both drinks are best taken straight; lick the salt, drink the Tequila or Mezcal then bite and suck the lemon wedge while Tequila is great as a cocktail i.e. Tequila Sunrise, Mezcal is best taken straight to add a little more kick take Colt 45 malt liquor as chaser and the fun begins after a couple of shots. ([email protected]/PN)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here