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What is Grenadine?

If you remember enjoying a Shirley Temple as a child – that deliciously sweet, non-alcoholic cocktail given to kids whilst their parents enjoy the real thing – then you’ve already sampled grenadine!

Grenadine is a sugary syrup used to help flavor and color drinks, with a base flavor of pomegranate. This might come as a surprise, because most people think it has a cherry base! Its name actually comes from the French word ‘grenade’, which means pomegranate. 

Homemade Grenadine Syrup Photo

Grenadine was traditionally made of pomegranate juice, sugar and water. However, most bars and restaurants now use a mixture of corn syrup and food colorings – and some places have replaced grenadine with raspberry cordial instead.

Whether you’d like to whip up some boozy Tequila Sunrises or stick to the safer Shirley Temples, you can easily make grenadine at home!  Not only does it taste great, it also cuts back on all the sugar that’s typically used to prepare it! 

Homemade Grenadine Syrup Picture

This recipe is really simple and yields 1 1/2 cups:

How to make grenadine

1 cup pomegranate juice, no sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp lemon juice

2-3 drops orange-flower water

  1. In a small saucepan, heat pomegranate juice over medium heat until steam begins to rise and small bubbles form at the edges. Do not boil the juice, just allow it to heat slightly.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until it has completed dissolved and the mixture is clear.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and orange-flower water.
  4. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature before transferring it to a bottle or airtight container. 

Your homemade grenadine can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Homemade Grenadine Syrup Image

While you may know some of the common drinks that feature grenadine, you may not have heard of some of these:

  • Jack Rose – a sweet-tart drink made with Applejack, grenadine and lime juice
  • Ward 8 – a variation on a Whiskey Sour, combines whisky, orange juice and grenadine
  • Bahama Mama – a fusion of rums, Tia Maria, a lovely, smooth Jamaican coffee liqueur, pineapple juice and grenadine
  • Dr. Funk – a boozy concoction of white rum, absinthe and grenadine
Homemade Grenadine Syrup Pic

There are many non-alcoholic drinks which also call for grenadine:

  • Roy Rogers – coke and grenadine 
  • Iced Tea and grenadine 
  • Tonic water and grenadine 

While you may not think of using this sweet syrup in cooking, it is occasionally used in Chinese cuisine to add the famous red colour to ribs or duck. This type of cooking, however, tends to use the pinky-red artificial grenadine rather than homemade grenadine, which has a deeper purple-red colour.  

Love the flavor of pomegranate? Why not try this St. Germain and Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail Recipe