The tequila sunrise is one of the most popular drinks today but also one of the worse. Essentially its cheap alcoholic orange juice complemented by colored sugar water. Not exactly my cup of tea.
When I was working on my column for Serious Eats this was one of the drinks that I had wanted to revive. The problem I had with the drink was the orange juice. In my opinion OJ is one of the hardest citruses to work with when formulating cocktails. It has a tendency to throw your carefully constructed balance out of whack. Orange juice is already perfectly and requires a more delicate balance to make it work in cocktails. Think about how many classic or great cocktails involve fresh squeezed orange juice. Believe me, not many.
So one night when discussing my column with Troy Sidle while sitting at his bar, Pouring Ribbons, this cocktail came up. He stated that he had solved the problem of the OJ by creating an orange cordial made from a base of oleo saccharum, to which a mixture of fresh orange juice (flavor and sweetness) and the fresh lemon juice (sour note).Oleo saccharum is a key component of classic punches. It is made by peeling citrus and gentle muddling it with superfine sugar, before letting it rest for at least in hour. At the end your left with a sweet aromatic base for your punch. When I tasted the orange cordial on its own it had the right mix of sweet orange flavor and sour bite.
The grenadine they use is also slightly tweaked. its made by reducing POM juice by half and adding fresh POM, orange zest, and orange flower water.
Revamped Tequila Sunrise
2 oz Pueblo Viejo Blanco
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Cordial
1/2 oz Grenadine
Directions: Add the tequila, lemon juice, and orange cordial to cocktail shaker. Add ice then shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the grenadine and allow it to sink to the bottom. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.