Latin Twist: Tequila Sunrise


Tequila sunriseMaybe it’s the winter snow that inspires some of us, including me, dream about the tropics and tropical drinks even more! And maybe it’s nostalgia that makes us sometimes yearn for drinks from times past. In fact, I think it was at Pancho Villa in Larchmont, where I had one of my first of many restaurant jobs a loooong time ago, and where I enjoyed my first Tequila Sunrise. Sweet, powerful, and colorful, this drink was one of my favorites for quite some time. Well, mis amigos, I was inspired to bring back this ol’ favorite this week. Colorful, festive, and certainly sunny, the Tequila Sunrise is the prefect counterbalance to these snowy days! Serve with guacamole, pepitas, or your favorite snack. ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

Orange-scented Koulourakia

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: About 5 dozen

This recipe is slightly adapted from one my Aunt Helen sent me. She uses half salted and half sweet butter. I also swapped out the fresh zest for dried, giving the orange flavor a little more punch.


  • ½ lb sweet butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
  • 1 teaspoons dry orange zest, I like Penzey's
  • 2 cups flour, plus 1 cup reserved
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water
  • sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter for about 5 minutes until it's pale and fluffy. Scraping down the sides. Add the sugar and beat for another 3-5 minutes. Scraping down the sides occasionally.
  3. Add the orange juice, zest and vanilla. Beat until the juice is fully blended. Scraping down the sides.
  4. Sift 2 cups of flour with the baking powder, soda and salt. Add the flour slowly incorporating fully after each addition, scraping down the sides. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Add the last cup of flour as needed. You should be able to roll the dough easily.
  5. With a small cookie scoop or spoon roll about 1½ tablespoons of dough into a 6” log. Twist and place on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.
  6. Mix 1 tablespoon of water with the reserved yolk. Brush each cookie and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. The cookies should be golden brown on the bottom and top. Once removed from the oven let them rest for 2 minutes before placing on a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: 1 Cocktail INGREDIENTS 2 ounces silver tequila 4 ounces orange juice Lime wedge (optional!) 1/2 ounce grenadine Half moon orange slice for garnish Maraschino cherry for garnish PREPARATION Pour the tequila and the orange juice into a highball glass with ice cubes. Add a squeeze of lime (optional!) Stir. Slowly pour the grenadine around the inside edge of the glass. It will create a beautiful color (sunset-esque!) as it sinks. Don’t stir! Garnish with the orange slice and cherry, and serve!


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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