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Tequila and orange juice is the best pairing! Use it to take the classic Screwdriver up a notch, or add grenadine to make a Tequila Sunrise.

Tequila and orange juice
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When it comes to tequila mixers, we’re always on the lookout. So why not…OJ? This breakfast drink might not immediately come to mind. But here’s the thing. Tequila and orange juice make two classic drinks: the Tequila Screwdriver or the Tequila Sunrise! The Screwdriver is an improved spin on the classic, or add grenadine you’ve got a brilliantly colored 1970’s California cocktail.

Why mix tequila and orange juice

Why mix tequila with orange juice? Turns out, the flavors compliment each other perfectly. Orange juice is a great cocktail mixer because of its mild, sweet flavor. Combine it with tequila and it’s a beautiful citrus combination, reminiscent of the orange in a margarita.

Combine these two ingredients and you’ve got a Tequila Screwdriver! The Screwdriver is a highball cocktail made with orange juice and vodka. The exact origin of this drink is unknown, but the first print mention was in 1944 in a Newsweek article. Tequila is even better than vodka in a Screwdriver, because it adds a delicious zing to the finish (whereas vodka is almost imperceptible). Here’s how to make a Tequila Screwdriver:

  • Mix 2 parts orange juice with 1 part tequila.
  • Stir together in a glass with ice.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and cocktail cherry.
Tequila and Orange Juice

Step it up: add garnishes

Want to turn tequila and orange juice into a fancy cocktail? Of course, this one is so low effort you can simply grab the OJ from the fridge and mix it up. But class it up, and people will be impressed by this seriously low-effort 2 ingredient tequila cocktail. Here’s what to do:

  • Add clear ice! It’s crystal clear ice that you can cut into organic shapes, making it look much more impressive than cloudy ice from a try. Here’s how to make clear ice!
  • Add garnishes. A sprig of fresh mint is lovely, or add lime wedges. (Give them a squeeze before you add them.
  • Shake in a few dashes bitters. Cocktail bitters give a drink extraordinary complexity.

Or make it a Tequila Sunrise!

Want to go even fancier? Make it into a Tequila Sunrise! All you’ll need is ¾ ounce grenadine, a popular pomegranate flavored cocktail syrup. If you’re into cocktails you’ll likely have this on hand, and it’s also easy to make at home. Try our DIY Grenadine Syrup! Here’s the basic idea (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Add the tequila and orange juice.
  • Pour the grenadine into the center. It will sink to the bottom.
  • Stir gently to get the sunrise gradient effect!

As a note, the flavor of the Sunrise is much sweeter due to the grenadine. We prefer the flavor of straight tequila and orange juice: but the brilliant colors of a Sunrise are great for when you want to impress!

Tequila sunrise

Best tequila to use

What’s the best type of tequila to use here? Of course, this drink is very laid back: so you can use whatever you have on hand. Here are a few notes about the types that work best:

  • Tequila reposado (aged) adds sophisticated oak and vanilla notes. It’s another way to make a Tequila Screwdriver more interesting! It’s our top tequila for margaritas.
  • Tequila blanco (unaged) works too; look for a mid-range bottle. Patrón Silver is a good mid range tequila blanco, and it’s great in this Patron Margarita.

More orange juice cocktails

OJ is not just for breakfast: it makes a stellar cocktail! Here are our top ways to use orange juice in cocktails:

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Tequila and Orange Juice

Tequila and Orange Juice (Screwdriver or Sunrise)

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Tequila and orange juice is the best pairing! Use it to take the classic Screwdriver up a notch, or add grenadine to make a Tequila Sunrise.


  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 4 ounces orange juice
  • Optional: add ¾ ounce grenadine for the Tequila Sunrise
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)


  1. For the Tequila Screwdriver: Add both ingredients to a highball glass. Add ice. If desired, garnish with citrus slices or a cocktail cherry.
  2. For the Tequila Sunrise: Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the tequila and orange juice and stir. Pour the grenadine into center of the drink and it will sink to the bottom. Stir gently for sunrise gradient effect. See Tequila Sunrise for a photo!
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!