A Cook's Diary

Tequila sunrise before dawn

Tequila sunrise before dawn | casaveneracion.com

The girls are on their term break and sleeping hours are — putting it mildly — irregular. Screwed would be more descriptive. We were still watching movies after midnight last night, everyone got hungry and fixed snacks. Alex, the potato fiend, who never finds it strange to cook French fries in the dead of night, decided that we all ought to have French fries at around two o’clock in the morning. While waiting for the French fries and the cheese dip that she has gotten so good at making, I decided to fix myself a glass of Tequila Sunrise.

The book where I got the recipe from, Mexican Cooking by Jane Milton, says the drink “takes its name from the way the grenadine — a bright red cordial made from pomegranate juice — first sinks in the glass of orange juice and then rises to the surface.” Wow, just like the sun that sinks then rises on the horizon. I turned on the lights in the living room, set the camera on the tripod and decided to make a glass of Tequila Sunrise to see and take photos of the promised spectacle of the grenadine rising to the surface. I squeezed oranges and lemon, and poured the juices into a martini glass with ice. Then, I slowly poured in the grenadine using the back of a spoon so that the liquid fell on the side of the glass before sinking directly to the bottom. That’s how layered drinks are made — the principle of specific gravity of liquids (the most dense sinks to the bottom) plus careful pouring perfected with practice.

I carefully brought the glass into the living room and set it on a table. I set the camera’s aperture and shutter speed, adjusted the white balance and took a couple of shots. Then, I waited for the grenadine to rise to the surface. I was crouched on the floor, the ice in the glass was melting and the grenadine stayed where it was — at the bottom of the glass. I got bored waiting and decided to drink my Tequila Sunrise before the juice got too diluted with melted ice. And I wondered if, instead, Tequila Sunrise gets its name from the colors of sunrise in the city of Tequila. I wondered too when was the last time I saw the colors of sunrise.

Before the girls went off the college, getting out of bed at the crack of dawn was a five-day a week routine for me. I’d start cooking and packing their sandwiches and lunchboxes before rousing them from bed on mornings when they didn’t get up on their own (which was often). Speedy and I often pointed fingers at each other as to whose job it was to rouse the girls from bed as it was often a stressful experience. With Sam, especially.


After the girls had both gone off to college, I rarely woke up before nine o’clock. It’s been so long since I last saw the sunrise that I’ve forgotten how beautiful it can be. I’m trying to recall the last time I took a photo of the sunrise and, as far as I can remember, it was late in 2009 in Singapore when the ship docked at Harbour Front on the last day of our cruise. I was obliged to get up lest I got thrown overboard for being an illegal passenger.

I’m not complaining though. Who wants to get up on cold mornings when the most wonderful place to be is in bed, wrapped up in my comforter and my dopey mind still lingering in dreamland?

Besides, I like sunsets better. Because I live in the tropics where, most of the year, days are long and hot, the sunset is a promise of an end to the sweltering heat and the start of a cooler and more comfortable night. I remember Sam asking me once which is more beautiful, the sunset or the sunrise, and if I remember correctly, I told her it depends on where you’re viewing the sunrise or sunset from. I’ve seen a lot of sunsets but not too many sunrises. And, from what I’ve seen, I find the colors of sunset more visually fascinating.

Hell, what a glass of Tequila Sunrise can make me write.

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