Vodka Sunrise

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!

Jump to:

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!

Ingredients Needed

  • 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-By-Step Instructions

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.

Helpful Equipment

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this non-alcoholic?

Yes! Simply leave out the vodka and replace the liquid amount with extra orange juice, lemon lime soda, or sparkling water!

Does grenadine have alcohol?

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!

Do I need to pour the grenadine first?

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).

Can you substitute vodka for tequila in a tequila sunrise?

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).

How many calories in a vodka sunrise?

There are 238 calories in a vodka sunrise cocktail. This assumes you are using the ratios outlined on the recipe card.

Why do they call it tequila sunrise?

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.

Love This Recipe? You May Also Enjoy

Did you make this recipe? Tag @ourlovelanguageisfood on Instagram & Facebook & be sure to leave a star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ & comment 📃 below!

highball glass filled with a vodka sunrise cocktail. the glass is garnished with an orange slice and maraschino cherry on a cocktail pick. the glass is surrounded by additional fruit, drink umbrellas, a jigger, and another drink on a wooden board.

📖 Vodka Sunrise

Meredith
This vodka sunrise cocktail is an easy summer drink recipe that looks like a beautiful sunrise! Made with 3 ingredients, the ombre cocktail is light, fruity, and fun!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Total Time 3 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Serving
Calories 238 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1-2 oz vodka
  • 5 oz orange juice (pulp free recommended)
  • ice
  • optional garnishes: orange slices, maraschino cherries, drink umbrellas

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Notes

*Tip to get that perfect sunrise look: add the grenadine syrup to your glass first, then add ice and remaining ingredients. Do not stir your vodka sunrise before serving. 
*Option to make your drink into a non-alcoholic sunrise mocktail: want a non-Skip the vodka, and replace the liquid amount with extra orange juice, lemon lime soda, or sparkling water, to create a fun summer mocktail recipe!
*Nutrition facts were calculated with 1.5oz of vodka and no garnishes 

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 10mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 284IUVitamin C: 71mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Fruity Cocktail Recipes to Try

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. However, please know that I strive to provide links to products that I actually use and wholeheartedly recommend whenever possible.
Share this Recipe

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




Comments

  1. David says

    5 stars
    Easy, fruity, and fun. No shame, I love these!!

    • ourlovelanguageisfood says

      🙌 glad you love it too, cheers!