Grenadine syrup is a sweet, brightly colored cocktail and mocktail ingredient that’s rarely any good—unless you make it yourself. Homemade grenadine is not only easy, it tastes infinitely better than the store-bought stuff.
What Is Grenadine, Exactly?
Authentic grenadine syrup is made from pomegranate juice (the name comes from the French word for pomegranate, grenade) sweetened with sugar and flavored with a few drops of lemon juice and orange-flower water.
Commercial brands of grenadine are usually full of corn syrup and red dye (that bright red hue often leads people to assume it’s cherry-flavored, but nope). These days, you can buy high-quality grenadine like BG Reynolds, but it’s much cheaper to make yourself, and you get the bonus sense of satisfaction that comes from any DIY project, however simple.
Once you taste the real deal in, say, a Mary Pickford, you’ll never go back to the Shirley Temple cocktail mixer of your youth.
Our easy recipe makes 1 1/2 cups and lasts for up to a month in the fridge:
You don’t have to use fresh pomegranate juice; store-bought is more than acceptable, but be sure to choose one with no added sugar to control the sweetness of the syrup.
Great Value Organic 100% Pomegranate Juice, $4.98 from Walmart
How Do You Use Grenadine?
So many classic cocktails (like the Monkey Gland, Gin Daisy, Jack Rose, Hurricane, Pink Gin Fizz, and Tequila Sunrise) call for grenadine, you’ll have no issues making enough pink drinks to use up your supply within the month—but it’s not just for cocktails, either. Classic mocktails like the Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers use grenadine, and adding a splash or two to soda water or seltzer, or even lemonade, is divine on a hot day.
See all our grenadine drink recipes for more. But don’t be afraid to think outside the glass!
Incorporate up to 1/2 cup of grenadine into a glaze for pork or ham, or add a couple spoonfuls to taste to a BBQ sauce for fruity, complex sweetness. According to Chowhound coll, some chefs “use grenadine in Chinese cooking to add the red color to ribs or duck, and you get extra added sweet flavor, too.” See this Char Siu Style Ribs recipe for an example. And otto shared a recipe for sauteed onions with red wine and grenadine in equal amounts.
To play up the syrup’s natural sweetness, mix some into fruit salad to amp up the flavor; toss strawberries with it and let them macerate before making shortcake; use some in place of the sugar and water in our raspberry sorbet recipe; stir some into a glaze for cupcakes, cookies, or pound cake; or drizzle over yogurt in the morning.
The more you use, the more intense the color and flavor it imparts, but even a little bit makes a big impact. And homemade grenadine makes a lovely DIY gift, too.
The original version of this story was by Lessley Anderson in 2008.
Header image by Chowhound