Did The Rolling Stones Really Discover the Tequila Sunrise?

It’s long been said that The Rolling Stones played a big role in making the Tequila Sunrise a popular drink, but did they really discover it? Legend has it the band was drinking at The Trident, a San Francisco bar in the early 1970s, when a bartender handed them what he called a Tequila Sunrise, a drink made with orange juice, grenadine, and Jose Cuervo.

Mick Jagger and company loved it, and continued to drink them throughout a raucous two-month North American tour to support their album “Exile on Main St.” The tour became legendary — there were fan riots, Jagger and Keith Richards were arrested for fighting with a photographer, the band stayed for a few days in the Playboy Mansion, and celebrities including Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, and even Zsa Zsa Gabor turned out for the festivities.

The band started referring to the time as the “Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise Tour.” Tequila-maker Jose Cuervo jumped on the branding — minus the cocaine — and started printing the recipe for the cocktail on the back of the bottle. In 1973, the Eagles recorded the song “Tequila Sunrise” as the drink started to make a splash at bars around the country.


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