Grenadine (from the French grenade — pomegranate) is a sweet syrup of pomegranate juice. Quite a few cocktails use grenadine, not only for flavor, but for the beautiful color it imparts. While there are some large commercial brands that are mostly high fructose corn syrup that is garishly colored, grenadine is simple to make at home, using one of three methods:
Shake equal parts by weight of pomegranate juice and sugar until as much sugar as possible dissolves into the liquid. It may take 10 minutes of shaking to do this. This gives the best flavor and preserves the acidity of the grenadine, but lacks texture and is not very stable.
Add equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, but do not boil - 170 degrees F. is a good target. This method gives good flavor and some texture, and is fairly stable.
Add equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat. cook until the mixture reduces by half. Let this mixture cool, then add an equal amount of fresh pomegranate juice to the syrup, and shake to combine.
Some people flavor their grenadine with various additives, ranging from orange flower water to pomegranate molasses to hibiscus flowers. As with all homemade syrups, a small amount of vodka can be used as a preservative.
From user admseattle comes a Paul Clarke recipe for homemade grenadine that uses pomegranate molasses instead of cooking down juice to a syrup:
- 8 oz pomegranate juice
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 2 oz pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
- 1 oz vodka (to stabilize)
Mix pomegranate juice and sugar in a bottle or jar and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add the pomegranate molasses and shake well (it will dissolve faster if the juice is at room temperature); the molasses thickens and sweetens the syrup while lending a deeper, fruitier flavor. For an added flavor dimension, mix in a little orange flower water to taste.
You can also add an ounce of vodka or grain alcohol as a preservative. Refrigerate and use within two weeks. You can freeze any extra for future use.
Some popular cocktails containing Grenadine
- Bahama Mama A Moi — Dark rum, Coffee liqueur, Coconut liqueur, Overproof rum, Vanilla liqueur, Bitters, Pineapple juice, Lemon juice, Grenadine, Pineapple
- Peat Rose — Apple brandy, Bourbon, Bitters, Grenadine, Lemon juice, Lemon peel, Scotch
- Fireworks — Gin, Bitters, Tonic water, Hellfire Habanero Shrub, Grenadine
- Poor Sap — Rye, Maple liqueur, Fernet Branca, Grenadine, Maraschino cherry
- Sans-Souci — Demerara Rum, Crème de Banane, Clairin, Bitters, Lime juice, Grenadine, Demerara syrup
- 8th Arrondissement — Cognac, Amer Picon, Grenadine, Lemon juice, Orange peel
- Reality Bomb — Light rum, Ginger liqueur, Campari, Grapefruit bitters, Lime juice, Grenadine
- NJ Sour — Apple brandy, Orange Curaçao, Averna, Fig, Lemon juice, Grenadine, Lemon
- Victory — Dry vermouth, Sweet vermouth, Lemon juice, Orange juice, Grenadine
- Marc Coucke — Light rum, Sloe gin, Apricot liqueur, Raspberry liqueur, Lime juice, Grenadine
A very simple grenadine may be made with ingredients on hand (once you buy the pomegranate juice). Keeps well refrigerated.
2 c Pomegranate juice
1/2 oz Vanilla extract
2t Crème de Violette
20 dr red food coloring
Shake to dissolve. I find the flavor of orange flower water soapy/perfumy, so I substitute Crème de Violette. The red food coloring is optional, but give is a potent red color.