Vodka Sunrise

A vodka sunrise is a cocktail with beautiful colors that makes you feel like you are at the beach and relaxing.  The bright orange and red layers are soothing and relaxing much like a beautiful sunrise.  It is a blend of cherry, tangy citrus, and smooth vodka for a sip that is delightful and smells like a tropical locale.  This 3-ingredient cocktail is so easy to make and tastes like a bartender made it especially for you at the poolside bar.    It is a sweet and special occasion party cocktail that is perfect for summer BBQs, the 4th of July, and pool parties. 

If you are wondering what is the difference between a vodka sunrise and a tequila sunrise, well the only difference is the obvious – the type of alcohol. Both cocktails mix the same orange juice over ice with either vodka or tequila and then are finished with a slow pour of grenadine. That slow pour of the thick sweet cherry-flavored grenadine is what settles to the bottom and creates the stunning layers in the vodka sunrise drink. 


Vodka Sunrise PIN2 two glasses filled with the layered orange and red cocktail



Ingredients for a Vodka Sunrise

The 3 ingredients to make the perfect vodka sunrise include orange juice, grenadine, and your favorite vodka.  You do not want orange juice that has a lot of pulp. You want a smooth pulp-free orange juice to blend with the grenadine and alcohol.    This vodka sunrise recipe is simple and only takes a minute to mix so be ready to enjoy this refreshing and gorgeous drink in no time. 

Best Vodka for a Sunrise Cocktail

To make a great vodka sunrise at home, simply use your favorite vodka.  You want a plain one, nothing fancy or flavored.  We love the Kirkland brand at Costco, as you can see.  Other great vodkas to use to mix a vodka sunrise include Belvedere, Grey Goose, Titos, Ketel One, Svedka, or Absolut.  All of these vodka brands are great to add to orange juice. To find out more check out 16 BEST VODKA BRANDS. 


Vodka Sunrise ingredients




How to Make a Vodka Sunrise

To mix the best vodka sunrise, follow this quick and easy recipe.   Begin by gathering all your ingredients and make sure your orange juice is chilled.   Next, fill two high ball glasses about 2/3 the way with ice.  You can use cubed or crushed ice.  

Vodka Sunrise overhead of ingredients and two glasses with ice


Orange you Ready for More?

Ok sorry about the silly joke. But this drink is packed with fresh orange goodness.  Slice the orange that you will use for garnish.  Then cut the slices into wedges so you have them for garnish.  Now, pour the orange juice over the ice. The glasses should be about 80% full at this point.   

Vodka Sunrise two glasses with ice and orange juice and other ingredients and straws on the counter



Add the Vodka 

Next, add 2 shots of vodka to each high ball glass that already has ice and the orange juice in it.  This cocktail recipe has 2 ounces of alcohol per drink but does not have a strong flavor thanks to the juice and cherry syrup. It is important to do these pours in the order specified here.  This is to ensure everything chills properly but also so the distinct layers that make the infamous sunrise so lovely do develop.   

Vodka Sunrise adding shot of vodka to the orange juice and ice in the glasses


Add the Grenadine

The last pour will be with the grenadine. Since this is a sweet syrupy mixer,  it is thick and heavy.  Pour it slowly into each glass and let it float to the bottom where it will settle.   This creates the stacked layers of colors that you want. 

Vodka Sunrise adding grenadine into the glass


Notice how the red grenadine is dancing its way down through the orange juice and vodka.  The red will settle close to the bottom, with a dark orange middle, and the lightest orange juice layer will be at the top. A vodka sunrise has this beautiful ombre effect that makes you really want one.  

Vodka Sunrise two glasses filled and the grenadine slowly dripping to the bottom inside and through the orange juice


Garnish the Vodka Sunrise Cocktails

They are now almost ready to drink.  Add your orange wedge garnishes and some straws.    DO NOT STIR, you want to be sure the grenadine stays at the bottom and doesn’t mix too much in the drink.  Those layers should not be disturbed.  Drink immediately and enjoy.  

If you love this cocktail, you will also love my unique twist on a tequila sunrise.  For two great tequila and juice cocktail recipes try out TEQUILA SUNRISE WITH TWO UNIQUE TWISTS.   If you love tangelos or pineapple orange juice, this Codigo tequila cocktail is for you. 

Vodka Sunrise two glasses ready to drink with orange wedge garnish and red straws






Vodka Sunrise PIN two glasses ready to drink with straws and orange wedge garnish


Vodka Sunrise PINREDO



Vodka Sunrise featured two glasses and oranges slices and half

Vodka Sunrise

For a gorgeous colorful cocktail with vodka & orange juice, make this easy recipe. The colorful layers make you feel you are on vacation in a tropical location enjoying a peaceful sunrise.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 2


  • 2 High Ball Glasses


  • 1.5 Cup Orange Juice
  • 4 Oz Vodka
  • 2 Oz grenadine
  • ice


  • Fill each high ball glass with ice cubes until filled about 2/3 the way.
  • Pour 3/4 C of orange juice into each glass.
  • Add 2 shots of vodka to each glass.
  • Lastly, slowly pour in 1 oz of grenadine. into each glass Let it trickle down to the bottom of the glass. DO NOT STIR.
  • If using a straw or adding a garnish, finish with that.


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving  
Calories 300
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.4g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2213mg 96%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 0.4g 1%
Total Sugars 38.3g  
Protein 1.3g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 373mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Keyword 3-ingredient, beverage, cocktail, drink, fruit, happy hour, juice, liquor, mixology, orange, party, shot, summer, vodka


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