Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Drink Recipe

Premium vodka, freshly squeezed orange juice and bright red grenadine syrup beautifully layer the colours of a sunrise in this eye-catching Vodka Sunrise Cocktail recipe.

Our homemade Vodka Sunrise recipe is a fun and refreshing drink, which we love to serve for brunch or on a hot summer day as it’s thirst quenching and refreshing.

The classic vodka cocktail is best served in a Highball or Collins cocktail glass garnished with an orange slice and cherry skewer.

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What Is A Vodka Sunrise Cocktail?

The Vodka Sunrise is a layered cocktail typically prepared with vodka, orange juice and grenadine in an ice-filled highball glass.

It’s a playful spin on the classic Tequila Sunrise, which originated in Sausaltito, California, in the early 1970s after an earlier iteration created in the 1930s in Phoenix, Arizona.

The cocktail was named for its appearance when served, featuring pretty gradations of red, orange and yellow colour that resemble a postcard-perfect sunrise.

The Vodka Sunrise has a similar appearance, simply swapping the tequila for vodka.

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Traditional Vodka Sunrise Cocktail recipe ingredients.
Traditional Vodka Sunrise Cocktail recipe ingredients.

How To Make The Layers In A Vodka Sunrise

The distinct colourful layers in a Vodka Sunrise are easy to make, since they form naturally without the need to use any fancy bartending tricks.

Some layered cocktails require carefully floating a liquid on top. But drinks in the “Sunrise family” are simple because the grenadine is more dense and heavy than orange juice so naturally sinks to the bottom of the glass.

Two Easy Steps:

  • Mix: Stir together the vodka and orange juice with ice in a highball glass.
  • Pour: Pour in the grenadine and watch it settle to the bottom of the glass

Vodka Sunrise Recipe Ingredients

This homemade Vodka Sunrise Cocktail recipe is made with fresh and quality ingredients:

  • Vodka: we suggest using Smirnoff, Absolut or Grey Goose.
  • Orange Juice: only use freshly squeezed orange juice. You can taste the difference when someone incorrectly muddles cocktails with store bought citrus.
  • Grenadine Syrup: this pomegranate flavoured syrup gives the drink its distinctive red colour.
  • Garnish: finesse the drink with an orange slice or wedge and cocktail pick skewered with Amarena cherries.
Garnish a Vodka Sunrise with an orange slice and cocktail skewer with cherries.
Garnish a Vodka Sunrise with an orange slice and cocktail skewer with cherries.

Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Recipe Tips

This Vodka Sunrise recipe is easy to make at home, ready to serve in under 10 minutes.

We love serving the refreshing vodka drink on hot days in the summer or at a boozy brunch as the recipe features freshly squeezed orange juice.

Our Vodka Sunrise recipe below is listed for one person. If you’re hosting a large gathering feel free to multiply the ingredients by the number of guests and muddle the drink in a punch bowl or jug rather than a cocktail shaker.

Before your guests arrive store the vodka bottle in your freezer so it is will chilled when ready to shake up drinks.

Serve the drink in a Collins or highball glass with whole ice cubes.

Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Photo Image.
Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Photo Image.

Best Selling Vodka

In the 90’s vodka was all the rage, as martini bars sprung up in cocktail-loving North American cities like Toronto and New York.

Vodka is a clear distilled alcoholic beverage. Different varieties originated in Poland, Russia, and Sweden. Vodka is composed mainly of water and ethanol but sometimes with traces of impurities and flavourings. Traditionally, it is made by distilling liquid from fermented cereal grains.

Here are some of the world’s best selling vodka brands and our local small batch favourites:

  • Grey Goose: the world’s top selling premium vodka has been produced in France since the 1990s.
  • Belvedere: is a close second for world’s favourite premium vodka brand. The Polish rye vodka is named after Belweder, the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw.
  • Stolichnaya: also known as Stoli, is produced in Riga, Latvia. The brand produces a wide variety of flavoured vodkas, perfect for seasonal cocktail parties.
  • Titos: began as a small-batch vodka brand distilled in Texas. Today, it’s recognized as the best selling vodka in America. Titos is made from corn, making it a gluten-free friendly spirit.
  • Ketel One: is a Dutch premium vodka brand with a flavour palette offering hints of honey and citrus.
  • Absolut: is an iconic Swedish distiller and was the top selling vodka brand globally for decades. The brand offers a colourful collection of flavoured vodka bottles.
  • Smirnoff: this Russian brand was founded in Moscow and today sells 39 different vodka flavours.
  • Iceberg Vodka: the top selling vodka in Canada is made from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland.
  • Dillon’s Distillery: This BeamsvilleOntario producer makes 2 small batch vodkas near Niagara.
The Vodka Sunrise is our favourite cocktail to serve at brunch.
The Vodka Sunrise is our favourite cocktail to serve at brunch.

What To Serve With A Vodka Sunrise?

Since this classic vodka cocktail is made of freshly squeezed orange juice it’s the perfect drink to serve at breakfast or brunch.

Serve this easy brunch cocktail with our favourite breakfast dishes:

This colourful vodka drink looks like a colourful sunrise in a Highball glass!
This colourful vodka drink looks like a colourful sunrise in a Highball glass!

Best Bartender Tools & Cocktail Equipment

Before hosting a swanky Vodka Sunrise Cocktail soiree you’ll need to ensure you have the best bartender tools and cocktail equipment.

  • Cocktail Kit: cocktail kits are the perfect gift for newbie mixology fans as they include basic bartender tools like a jigger, shaker and spoon.
  • Cocktail Shaker: a bartender’s best friend. Purchase a premium cocktail shaker to muddle or shake up your favourite pink gin cocktails.
  • Cocktail Glassware: make sure your bar is stocked with a selection of unique glassware to show off your favourite cocktail creations.
  • Hawthorne Strainer: this unique strainer features tightly wound coils and perforated holes. It keeps ice and other large ingredients like lime wedges in your cocktail shaker rather than in the glass.
  • Bar Spoons: slender and long bar spoons are a must-have when stirring drinks.
  • Bottle Opener: easily open bottles of beer or cider with the flick of your wrist or purchase a corkscrew for fine wine.
  • Pouring Spout: once you’ve opened a new bottle of gin insert these affordable pourers to make cocktail assembly a breeze.
  • Cutting Board: purchase a petite cutting board for your bar to slice garnishes or citrus wedges like lime, orange, lemon or grapefruit.
  • Ice Bucket: chill bottles of gin quickly in an ice bucket or keep by the bar when muddling gin mixers into cool creations.
  • Ice Crusher: fans of the Mint Julep love an ice crusher.
  • Ice Cube Kit: we suggest purchasing a selection of ice cube trays. Silicone styles are our favourite as they’re easy to clean and are available in various shapes and sizes.
  • Jigger: use a jigger to accurately measure spirits, juices, syrups and shrubs.
  • Juicer: invest in an electronic juicer or buy an affordable hand-held to easily juice fresh citrus like lemons and limes.
  • Muddler: fans of the Mojito love a sturdy muddler to mix mint and lime. Muddler’s are handy for any cocktail featuring ingredients that need a pounding like fresh herbs or citrus wedges.
  • Citrus Peeler & Zester: adorn your craft cocktails with a thick citrus peel or finer ribbons of lime or lemon zest.
  • Rimmer: Bloody Mary and Caesar lovers should outfit their bar with a handy rimmer for salting and sugaring glassware.
Now you're an expert on how to make a Vodka Sunrise recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make a Vodka Sunrise recipe!

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How To Make A Vodka Sunrise Cocktail Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vodka Sunrise Cocktail

Learn how to make a classic Vodka Sunrise Cocktail. Our easy drink recipe features vodka, orange juice, grenadine syrup and cherry garnish.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vodka Sunrise
Servings: 1
Calories: 238kcal


  • Jigger
  • Ice Cubes
  • Highball Glass


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 5 oz Orange Juice
  • 0.5 oz Grenadine Syrup
  • Orange Wheel garnish


  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the vodka and orange juice over the ice. Gently stir to combine.
  • Slowly drizzle with grenadine to make the sunrise.
  • Garnish the rim of the glass with a freshly sliced orange wheel.


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1107mg | Potassium: 284mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 23.2g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 2mg

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