How the Rolling Stones popularized the Tequila Sunrise

April 17th, 2017

This is a feature from the March/April 2017 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine. For this story, plus features on the making of Martin’s one-of-a-kind two-millionth guitar, Ricky Gervais and the return of his guitar-playing alter ego David Brent, plus GA’s annual motoring section, including features on the Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons and his antique Harley-Davidsons, John Oates and his life-long fascination with cars and racing, and the untold story behind Led Zeppelin’s McLaren M8E/D racecar, pick up the new issue of Guitar Aficionado at your newsstand, or online by clicking here.

HOT STUFF: How the Rolling Stones popularized the Tequila Sunrise.

By Chris Gill | Photo by Massimo Gammacurta

Some accounts trace the origins of the Tequila Sunrise cocktail to the Arizona Biltmore Hotel during the Thirties, but the only supporting evidence comes from the Biltmore itself. The Biltmore’s recipe also varies from the simple José Cuervo Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine (or Crème de Cassis) mixture that can unquestionably be traced to Bobby Lozoff, who invented the cocktail while he was bartender at the Trident in Sausalito, California, during the early Seventies.

While the Rolling Stones were on a massive world tour in support of Exile on Main Street in 1972, Bay Area concert promoter Bill Graham hosted a private party for the Stones at the Trident. When Mick Jagger strutted to the bar to order a Margarita, Lozoff recommended a Tequila Sunrise instead. The Stones loved the drink so much that it became the unofficial cocktail of the tour, which Keith Richards claimed was nicknamed “the cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour” in his autobiography, Life.

Although the Eagles later immortalized the drink with their 1973 hit single “Tequila Sunrise,” the Rolling Stones are the actual source of the drink’s popularity, as they introduced the cocktail to thousands of tastemakers while partying on their 1972 tour. In celebration of their contribution to the drink’s popularity (and the subsequent rise in Tequila sales), Cuervo recently introduced the Special Edition José Cuervo Rolling Stones Tour Pick Especial Silver Tequila.

The Tequila Sunrise is an extremely simple cocktail that benefits most from a base of good ingredients. Using fresh-squeezed orange juice and grenadine made from pomegranate juice and sugar (instead of the widely available cherry-flavored, high-fructose corn syrup version) upgrades the drink significantly.

Tequila Sunrise
2 ounces José Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila
orange juice
grenadine

Pour Tequila in a highball glass and add ice cubes. Fill glass about 2/3 full with orange juice, and stir. Pour grenadine in a slow, steady stream in the center of the drink and allow to settle at the bottom until it creates a gradient fade from red to orange in the center. Garnish with orange slice and cherry and serve.

This is a feature from the March/April 2017 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine. For this story, plus features on the making of Martin’s one-of-a-kind two-millionth guitar, Ricky Gervais and the return of his guitar-playing alter ego David Brent, plus GA’s annual motoring section, including features on the Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons and his antique Harley-Davidsons, John Oates and his life-long fascination with cars and racing, and the untold story behind Led Zeppelin’s McLaren M8E/D racecar, pick up the new issue of Guitar Aficionado at your newsstand, or online by clicking here.

ga_0317_martinguitarcover