Grenadine is a bar staple that makes its way into a lot of classic beverages, from the Shirley Temple mocktail to the Prohibition-era Mary Pickford to the scotch-forward Crow. It adds sweetness and a distinctive red hue to the drinks which feature it. But, what, exactly, is grenadine? Keep reading to find out, and also for a full recipe to make this crimson syrup at home.
Unfortunately, grenadine isn't very regulated. What this means is that a lot of different mixtures can wind up being marketed as grenadine. Traditionally, grenadine is a deep red syrup that consists of pomegranate juice, syrup, and water, Indeed, the word 'grenadine' comes from the French for pomegranate ('grenade'). However, the most common grenadine in the United States (ubiquitous in bars and homes alike) is Mott's brand: Rose's Grenadine Syrup. And Rose's Grenadine? Well, it doesn't contain any pomegranate juice at all. In fact, if you look at the ingredients for a bottle of Rose's, you'll see that it's primarily high-fructose corn syrup, and that its color comes from Red 40 & Blue 1.
Many people think they don't like grenadine at all; what is much more likely is that they don't like the commercially-available grenadine they've had (likely Rose's). I certainly am not a fan of the sickly-sweet corn syrup concoction. I am, however, very much a fan of traditional grenadine. The real-deal, pomegranate-based syrup is one of my favorite syrups. Fortunately, it also happens to be pretty easy to make at home!
How to make your own grenadine
In a medium saucepan, combine:
Making your own pomegranate molasses
In a saucepan, combine:
Store in fridge; it should keep for months due to its high sugar content.
Pomegranate molasses is not only good for making grenadine! You can also add it to soups (it's lovely in lentil soup), salad dressings, marinades, glazes, hummus, and more. It adds a touch of tartness and sweetness, and has a surprising amount of depth to its flavor considering the simplicity of the ingredients involved.
Enjoy your grenadine!
Click on each of the drinks below for full recipes for four of my favorite grenadine cocktails. Your grenadine will also make for a lovely soda base (simply mix grenadine with soda water & enjoy!). For a Shirley Temple, add a splash of grenadine to ginger ale and garnish with a maraschino cherry. (Really, I find that most sodas benefit from a splash of grenadine!)
Elizabeth Wilcox. Writer, Avid Role-Player, Amateur Mixologist. Survivor.