A vodka sunrise cocktail is the perfect summer cocktail! This easy recipe creates a beautiful layered cocktail that resembles a sunrise. If you love fruity cocktails, this simple cocktail is for you!
Most people know the classic tequila sunrise cocktail. This vodka sunrise recipe is a great alternative for those who aren’t fans of tequila, creating the perfect vodka spin for those wanting to try this popular cocktail.
This is also a great option for those who love vodka and orange juice together (aka a classic screwdriver cocktail).
Since this cocktail is made with orange juice, it would make a great brunch cocktail! This would be great to serve alongside another brunch cocktail favorite, like a cranberry mimosa, a French 75, a bloody mary, or a cold brew cocktail.
However, this summer cocktail is really delightful anytime of day. Mix one up to enjoy ASAP!
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- How to Get the Sunrise Look
- Step-By-Step Instructions
- Tips to Make this Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Recipe for a Party
- Helpful Equipment
- Recipe FAQs
- Love This Recipe? You May Also Enjoy
- 📖 Vodka Sunrise
- More Fruity Cocktail Recipes to Try
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
It looks impressive! This gorgeous drink definitely has that ‘wow factor’.
Minimal ingredients. 3 simple ingredients plus ice is all you need to mix up this easy cocktail recipe.
Quick and easy to make. This easy drink can be mixed up in minutes. It’s really as simple as measure, pour, and enjoy!
Lovely flavor. Orange is the predominant flavor of this cocktail, with fun pops of fruity sweetness from the grenadine. A vodka sunrise is basically a screwdriver cocktail with grenadine!
Easily made into a mocktail. Have a guest that doesn’t drink? No problem! Skip the vodka and just add a little extra orange juice, lemon lime soda, or sparkling water to create a fun and beautiful mocktail recipe!
- Grenadine – the red layer of our sunrise cocktail, grenadine is a common non-alcoholic bar syrup known for it’s bright red color. Grenadine adds sweetness and flavor to your vodka sunrise drink recipe along with the pop of red to get the sunrise effect.
- Orange Juice – I recommend using pulp free store bought orange juice for this cocktail recipe (mostly because it’s super convenient). If preferred, you could squeeze some fresh orange juice.
- Vodka – use your favorite vodka in this easy vodka cocktail recipe.
- Ice – you’ll need ice cubes for serving to chill your drink.
- Optional garnishes: an orange slice, maraschino cherries, drink umbrellas… use whatever you like to add some flair to your vodka sunrise drink.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Substitute the vodka with a different liquor, such as:
- Tequila: Make this into a the original tequila sunrise by using your favorite blanco tequila instead of vodka.
- Rum: White rum or coconut rum are both fun options to use in a sunrise drink.
- Swap out the orange juice with different fruit juices, try:
- Pineapple Juice: Roll with those tropical vibes and enjoy a pineapple sunrise!
- Grapefruit Juice: If you’re a grapefruit juice lover, replace the orange juice with the fun and tart juice instead.
- Make it into a sunrise mocktail: want a non-alcoholic sunrise drink? Skip the vodka altogether! You can either add extra orange juice, or a little lemon lime soda or sparkling water, in place of the liquor to create a fun summer mocktail recipe!
How to Get the Sunrise Look
The trick to getting that perfect vodka sunrise look is to add the grenadine syrup to your glass first!
Some people will have you pour the grenadine syrup on top of the orange juice because the grenadine’s density is higher than the juice and vodka so it technically will sink. However, it takes a while for the grenadine to sink to the bottom of the drink and doesn’t give you quite as stark of a contrast in your colors.
Step 1: In a liquid measuring cup, measure and mix together the orange juice and vodka. Set aside.
Step 2: Add grenadine to a tall glass (like a highball glass).
Step 3: Then fill the glass with ice.
Step 4: Slowly pour the vodka and orange juice mixture over the ice.
Step 5: add optional garnishes, sip, and enjoy!
PRO TIP: Do not stir your vodka sunrise before serving! It will turn a pinkish hue, which defeats the purpose of the beautiful sunrise presentation.
Tips to Make this Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Recipe for a Party
If you’d like to have this for a larger-sized gathering, you definitely can! Have a pitcher of vodka and orange juice ready so guests can mix up their own easily!
You can either pre-measure the grenadine and have it in glasses for your guests. Or have a jigger out and ready for guests to use if they’d like to try this sunrise drink.
And it’s always a good idea to have extra ice ready for any summertime party! This helps keep your guests, and their drinks, nice and cool throughout your event.
Yes! Simply leave out the vodka and replace the liquid amount with extra orange juice, lemon lime soda, or sparkling water!
No! Grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup with a sweet, fruity finish. Many people mistake grenadine for cherry juice or cherry syrup because of the color and flavor, but it’s actually made with pomegranates!
The trick to getting that perfect sunrise look for your vodka sunrise cocktail is to add the grenadine syrup to your glass first!
Some people will have you pour the grenadine syrup last because the grenadine’s density is higher than the juice and vodka so it technically will sink. However, it takes a while for the grenadine to sink to the bottom of the drink and doesn’t give you quite as stark of a contrast in your colors.
In short: no, you don’t have to pour the grenadine first, but you can! Just don’t stir your cocktail (stirring will cause you to lose the sunrise effect).
Yes! The vodka sunrise cocktail is just like a tequila sunrise, using vodka instead of tequila. This is a great option for those who do not like the taste of tequila (or perhaps find themselves without it in their home bar).
There are 238 calories in a vodka sunrise cocktail. This assumes you are using the ratios outlined on the recipe card.
The cocktail is named for it’s appearance when served. Both a tequila sunrise and a vodka sunrise have gradations of color, resembling a sunrise.
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📖 Vodka Sunrise
- 1 oz grenadine
- 1-2 oz vodka
- 5 oz orange juice (pulp free recommended)
- optional garnishes: orange slices, maraschino cherries, drink umbrellas
- In a liquid measuring cup, measure and mix together the orange juice and vodka. Set aside.
- In a highball glass, add the grenadine and then fill the glass with ice.
- Slowly pour the vodka and orange juice mixture over the ice.
- Garnish (if desired), sip, and enjoy!
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