Homemade Grenadine, and Drinks to Use It In
Grenadine is a non-alcoholic pomegranate flavored syrup. The name grenadine comes from the French word grenade which means pomegranate. Original recipes for grenadine were simply made with pomegranate juice, sugar, and water. Commercial grenadine is often made with high-fructose corn syrup, food coloring, and “natural” flavors, but making it at home is simple and provides a more robust flavor to add to your cocktails. Like any variation on simple syrup, grenadine is sweet, but the pomegranate molasses and juice provide a rich tartness, while orange flower water softens the flavors and provides an herbal note of its own. There are lots of recipes for homemade grenadine on the internet, below we’ve provided one we’ve used and like. A couple of our favorite cocktails with homemade grenadine are also described below.
- 2 cups fresh pomegranate juice (approximately two large pomegranates)[i] or POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice… or other 100 percent pomegranate juice[ii]
- 2 cups unbleached sugar (turbinado works fine, but a finer cane sugar will dissolve easier in the juice)
- 2 oz.pomegranate molasses[iii]
- 1 tsporange blossom water[iv]
- 1 oz. vodka (optional, as a preservative)[v]
In a sauce pan, over low heat, slightly heat the juice. You’re not taking it anywhere near a boil, so don’t turn it on high, or wait for it to steam. Stir in sugar until completely dissolved, then add the molasses and orange blossom water and stir until it is all thoroughly blended. DO NOT ADD THE VODKA WHILE THE STOVE IS ON, JUST DON’T. Let cool and add vodka if you choose, and bottle.
This recipe will nicely fill a leftover 750 ml bottle.
NOTE: This grenadine will come out darker than maybe you are used to seeing at the bar, and it will likely impact the color of cocktails that you remember being a vibrant red, but please tell us if you don’t think it’s an improvement on flavor.
- 2 oz. London Dry Gin
- ½ oz. orange liqueur (prefer Cointreau for this cocktail)
- ½ oz. homemade grenadine
- ¼ oz. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe, and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
- 2 oz. rye whiskey (Jordan prefers Rittenhouse for this cocktail)
- 1 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
- ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. homemade grenadine
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and shake well (about 40 seconds). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe, and garnish with an orange peel.
[i] Lots of recipes call for a lot of manual labor to remove the individual seeds, steeping the seeds, ect. We’ve heard on good authority that while that may provide a nice pass-time, it won’t do much for your juice.
[ii] We like the idea of using the real fruit, but sometimes they aren’t in the produce section, or sometimes we are feeling ambitious enough to make it ourselves, but lazy enough to cut this small corner for time.
[iii] You can often find this a Mediterranean market, but you can certainly find it on Amazon.
[iv] Get this too, while you are buying your pomegranate molasses on Amazon.
[v] If you are going to use it up quickly (within a month) there is really no reason to add the vodka, but remember to keep it refrigerated when you aren’t using to extend its usable life.
[vi] There are variations of this cocktail called Maiden’s Blush or some other alias. Call it what you will.