Grenadine is a bright red syrup used in cocktails and mocktails to add color and sweetness! Here’s what to know about how to make and use it.
Looking at grabbing or making some grenadine, or simply wondering what it is? This bright syrup makes vibrant pink and red cocktails and mocktails. It’s often thought of as cherry flavored, it’s got a different fruity origin. You can buy it at the store: but it’s easy to make at home too (in fact, we prefer it homemade). Here’s what you need to know about this essential cocktail ingredient!
What is grenadine?
Grenadine is a red non-alcoholic syrup with a sweet tart flavor, commonly used in cocktails and mocktails. It’s made from pomegranate juice, and has a long history of use in cocktails and bartending. The first published mention of grenadine in a cocktail was in 1895, and it became very popular in drinks in the 1920’s and 30’s. The name comes from the French word for pomegranate, grenade.
Grenadine was originally made from pomegranate juice, but many products on the market today have artificial sweeteners and colors. Look for an all natural grenadine or make homemade grenadine.
What does grenadine taste like?
Grenadine has a flavor that’s both sweet and tart, with a fruity finish. It’s most commonly used to add color to drinks, but it also adds sweetness.
Are there any grenadine substitutes? Yes. The best option is homemade. Or, try 2 parts pomegranate juice and 1 part simple syrup, raspberry syrup, or maraschino juice from a jar of cherries. Read more here.
How to make homemade grenadine
Homemade grenadine is all natural and has none of the artificial colors and flavors you can find in store-bought. We highly recommend making it at home if at all possible, but you can also opt for an all natural brand (see below). Here are a few tips on the process:
- Use fresh juice (not bottled). Fresh squeezed juice from pomegranate seeds makes the most vibrant color. Bottled juice makes a very dark colored, muted syrup.
- Simmer the juice and sugar. Go to How to Make Grenadine for more.
- Store refrigerated up to 3 weeks, or fortify for longer. For a storage time longer than 3 weeks, add 1 tablespoon vodka or brandy to fortify the syrup.
Why we like it
Grenadine is an essential ingredient in classic cocktails! It adds a beautiful red color and sweet, subtly fruity flavor.
How much does it cost?
Grenadine is fairly cheap, but try to look for authentic brands made from real pomegranate. Here’s a link to an all natural grenadine that costs $10 for 12 ounces. We have experience using the Small Hand Foods brand: keep in mind that its color is slightly darker and cloudier than homemade.
Most popular grenadine cocktails
Grenadine is popularly used in both cocktails and mocktails, like the Shirley Temple and Roy Rodgers. Here are a few ideas for how to serve it:
- Don’t want to use a recipe? Mix a bar spoon of grenadine with soda water, ginger ale, ginger beer, or cola for a tasty mocktail.
- Want a cocktail? Try it in one of these popular grenadine cocktails and mocktails:
One of the most popular grenadine cocktails is the Tequila Sunrise! This vibrant drink layers the colors of a summer sunrise using tequila, orange and grenadine.
Invented in: 1970's
Arguably the most popular grenadine drink is the Shirley Temple! The classic way to make this mocktail skips the soda: it’s just ginger ale, grenadine, and lime.
Invented in: 1930's
Clover Club Cocktail
Try the classic Clover Club cocktail! It’s tangy and bright pink, with raspberry or grenadine syrup, gin, and an egg white foam on top.
Invented in: 1908
The Roy Rodgers drink is another mocktail made with cola and grenadine, similar to the Shirley Temple. The drink was named after Roy Rodgers, the 1940’s and 50’s movie star and singer famous for portraying cowboys in Westerns.
Invented in: Unknown, likely 1940's
This bar syrup also features in the following drinks:Print
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: About ¾ cup 1x
Here’s how to make grenadine syrup, that brilliant red syrup for making cocktails! It’s all natural and easy to make using pomegranate juice.
- 2/3 cup fresh squeezed pomegranate juice (8 ounces pomegranate seeds or 2 medium pomegranates)*
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Make the pomegranate juice: If using whole pomegranates, remove the seeds. Place the pomegranate seeds in a cocktail shaker (or tall glass) and mash with a muddler or wooden spoon until all the juices have been released. Then pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup.
- Simmer: Add the pomegranate juice and sugar to a small saucepan heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Cool and store: Cool and stir in the lemon juice. Pour into a sealed container and refrigerate up to three weeks. For a longer storage time, add 1 tablespoon vodka or brandy to fortify the syrup.
*You can also use bottled pomegranate juice, but the color won’t be as vibrant.
- Category: Syrup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
More cocktail guides
Wondering what Aperol is? Or Chartreuse or St Germain? Want the best brand of bourbon or how to make a whiskey sour? Here are a few more guides to liquor:
- Quick Guide to Chartreuse This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
- Quick Guide to Absinthe This formerly banned liquor is now in good graces.
- Quick Guide to Grand Marnier This top shelf orange liqueur is absolutely worth writing home about.
- Guide to Bourbon All you need to know about this American spirit.