Grenadine is a popular cocktail ingredient, which is produced in two forms: as a non-alcoholic syrup and alcoholic liqueur (3-4% ABV). It has a tart and sweet taste and a rich ruby color. Grenadine syrup is made from pomegranates. In fact, its name hints on the main ingredient as in French “grenade” means “pomegranate.” In addition, the list of essential ingredients also includes sugar and water.
Grenadine pomegranate syrup is not a trademark, and its name is not derived from its place of origin. The basic ingredients remain unchanged, but everything else including taste, contents, thickness, and other characteristics are a subject to change depending on the producer. Some companies add blackcurrant juice to this drink, some decrease the number of natural ingredients in order to lower production costs and make the syrup more accessible for the mass-market consumer.
Cheap grenadine can be made from blackcurrant juice instead of pomegranate juice.
It’s not certain when pomegranate syrup took rightful place on kitchen shelves, although recipes with this ingredient can be tracked down to the late XIX century.
How to Make Grenadine at Home
Unlike many other cocktail ingredients, grenadine can be easily prepared at home.
- Pomegranate juice (can be mixed with blackcurrant juice) – 0.5 liter
- Sugar – 0.5 kilo
- Vodka (ethanol) – 5-25 ml (optional)
- Orange or rose water – 2-4 drops (optional)
It’s preferable to use strained pomegranate juice from ripe fruits (without seeds if possible). Store-bought juices contain too many preservatives and in many cases have nothing to do with pomegranates. You can add blackcurrant juice by replacing a part of pomegranate juice but this will deteriorate your grenadine’s quality. Aromatic water or essences enrich the aroma but you should make sure not to add too much as it might drown out the smell. The alcoholic base prolongs the shelf-life of the beverage, but the classic cocktail syrup is non-alcoholic.
- Mix pomegranate juice with sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat. Cook for 15-40 minutes and stir from time to time.
The exact time of cooking depends on the desirable syrup thickness—the more liquid evaporates, the thicker and darker your homemade grenadine will turn out to be.
- Remove from heat, close the cooking pot, and let it cool down to room temperature.
- You can also add alcohol or vodka and/or flavoring agents: essences, orange or rose water. Stir.
- Bottle for storing and seal. Shake before drinking.
Warning! Grenadine can be stored at room temperature for only 3 weeks because it doesn’t contain any preservatives. Alcohol content prolongs its shelf-life.
Cocktails with Grenadine
Smart barmen say that if you can only afford to buy one syrup for your bar look no further than grenadine. No other beverage will add as much flavor and color as this ingredient.
- Bourbon Daisy. Fill a shaker with ice cubes, pour 2 parts bourbon, ½ part grenadine, ¾ part lemon juice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a layer of yellow Chartreuse (1/3 part).
- Pousse Café. Pour equal parts of grenadine, coffee liquor, mint liquor, triple sec, bourbon, rum consecutively in a glass (shot or highball).
- Tequila Sunrise. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Pour 4 parts orange juice, ½ part tequila, add few drops of grenadine. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and orange wedge.
- Sea Breeze. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add apricot brandy, lemon juice, gin in equal amounts. Add a few drops of grenadine, dilute with carbonated water to taste. Garnish with fresh mint.
- Shirley Temple. A non-alcoholic cocktail made from ginger ale (5 parts), grenadine (1/3 part), and sugar syrup (1 part). Serve with ice cubes and a cocktail cherry.