This is one of those must-do recipes. It takes about 2 minutes of effort and is a ridiculous improvement over anything you can buy in the store. Your cocktails will taste a bazillion times better (at least!) when you use real grenadine, rather than the red-dyed corn syrup that masquerades as grenadine.
I say real grenadine because the original version of grenadine was made from pomegranate juice, not cherry. The word grenadine comes from the traditional French word for pomegranate, granade. Somewhere along the way, cherry replaced pomegranate in the most widespread grenadine syrups. Now there are few grenadine syrups with any fruit in them at all.
Here are the ingredients of Rose’s grenadine: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Red 40, Blue 1.
Yuck, right? So, let’s make our own.
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c of the freshest pomegranate juice you can get your hands on (juice it if you’re ambitious, otherwise head toward the refrigerated section of the grocery store — Trader Joe’s has a pretty reasonably priced option, but its from concentrate)
- 2 oz vodka (optional)
There are lots of different methods out there on the internet of how to make grenadine. I read and read (definitely more than a person should read about grenadine), and then I came up with my own method: using a blender. I think the blender beats anything else out there because the pomegranate juice maintains a crisp, fresh taste, while staying as concentrated as possible. The common alternative methods are heating up the juice and sugar on the stove, which tends to give the syrup a dull, cooked taste, or creating a simple syrup and mixing it with the juice, which dilutes the pomegranate flavor.
So, pull out your blender and add in the sugar and pomegranate juice. You can scale up the recipe as much as you want to. The important part is to keep a 1:1 juice to sugar ratio. If you add much more sugar, the liquid becomes too dense and doesn’t mix well. Blend the juice and syrup for about a minute or so. I have a crazy, high powered blender, so after about a minute, the juice becomes ever so slightly warm. This is enough to dissolve the sugar thoroughly without cooking the juice. You should blend until you feel your sugar is totally dissolved.
Now you have real grenadine syrup. That’s it. Seriously. Woohoo!
If you want to give your grenadine some shelf life, pour it in a jar and add 2 oz of vodka. Keep the jar in the freezer. The freezer will prevent the grenadine from spoiling for a long time. The vodka will keep the mixture slushy as it hangs out in your freezer. So, next time you’re going to make a cocktail, you can just reach in your freezer and spoon out a little bit. As soon as you mix it into a room temperature liquid, it will melt and work just like normal grenadine syrup.
Need inspiration on how to use grenadine? Here’s a recipe for a New Orleans style Hurricane! Or you can just add it to seltzer water at those times you want to be responsible.