Superb on Ice Cream — or in Cocktails
Grenadine is a bright red, pomegranate-flavored syrup. You’ve probably heard of it, though it’s not a regular item on most grocery shopping lists.
Which is probably a good thing. Because, well . . . have you tried buying grenadine lately? Every grocery store has something they call “grenadine” that they’ll be happy to sell you. But take a look at the list of ingredients: no pomegranate to be found. Instead, you see high-fructose sugar syrup and “flavorings.” And when you taste the store-bought stuff? You encounter a sickeningly sweet liquid with a flavor that’s (very) vaguely reminiscent of cherries. These supermarket concoctions bear almost no resemblance to real grenadine.
Oh, there are quality commercial grenadines out there, but you have to hunt them down. And when you find them, they’re expensive. But the good news is, you don’t have to pay big bucks or troll the internet for obscure suppliers. You can make excellent grenadine at home in just a few minutes — and begin enjoying the awesome flavor of the real thing.
Grenadine is a traditional ingredient in several cocktails and “mocktails” (it’s a prime component of that kiddie favorite, the Shirley Temple, for example). It’s also a great topping for ice cream and a wonderful flavoring agent for nonalchoholic summer coolers.
Bottom line: Homemade Grenadine is flavorful, easy to make, and all natural. And it’s so good, you’ll find dozens of uses for it.
Recipe: Homemade Grenadine
Traditional grenadine is made from pomegranates, sugar, and sometimes additional flavorings like orange blossom water. It’s a sweet/tart mixture that has an enticing and intriguing flavor.
The biggest obstacle to making your own grenadine is acquiring pomegranate juice. You can of course obtain it in the traditional way — by removing the seeds from a fresh pomegranate and juicing them. But that’s tedious and messy (juicing a pomegranate stains your hands, your work surface, your juicer — you get the idea). But there’s an easier way: Every supermarket sells high-quality pomegranate juice at a reasonable price. That’s what I use. (If you really want to juice your own pomegranates, I’ll discuss a couple of ways to do that in the Notes.)
Grenadine is really little more than Simple Syrup made with pomegranate juice instead of water. There are numerous recipes for making your own grenadine — some simple, some more complicated. My go-to recipe is very easy, and requires only two ingredients. (In the Notes, I explore more elaborate variations.) My recipe is adapted from David Wondrich’s in Killer Cocktails.
This recipe takes 10 minutes or less to make and yields a bit more than two cups. You can easily scale it down (or up) to meet your needs. It will store in the refrigerator for a good month (longer if you add alcohol as a preservative; see Notes).
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups sugar
- Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan. Heat slowly over low heat (you don’t want this to simmer or even come close — the juice loses some of its color and freshness if it’s overheated), stirring the sugar until it dissolves.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Cool, then pour into a squeeze bottle or other container with a lid, and refrigerate.
- Alternate method: Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover, and shake vigorously until sugar dissolves completely. This will take several minutes (as many as 10), but the resulting grenadine will have a somewhat brighter flavor.
- As you can see, this recipes calls for equal amounts of pomegranate juice and sugar, so it’s easy to scale up or down.
- If you want a grenadine that's a bit less (or more!) sweet, you can use a bit less (or more) sugar.
- You can add a teaspoon or two of orange blossom water to grenadine to give it extra tang (this ingredient is available at Middle Eastern groceries, on the Internet, and at some health food stores). If using this, add it in Step 2 — simply stir it into the mixture after you remove the pan from the heat.
- You can also add pomegranate molasses to grenadine to give it slightly greater depth of flavor (this ingredient is also available at Middle Eastern groceries or via the Internet). Add a tablespoon of molasses to the mix in Step 1.
- If you want to make your own pomegranate molasses, here’s how: Combine 2 cups of pomegranate juice, 2/3 cup of sugar, and 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a saucepan, and simmer on low heat until the mixture has reduced to slightly under 1 cup (this takes about an hour). I learned how to make pomegranate molasses from Paul Wolfert’s The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean.
- For a somewhat more streamlined method of making pomegranate molasses, see Katherine Martinelli's description in her post on Bulgur Salad with Pomegranate Molasses.
- I’ve made grenadine several different ways: Using my two-ingredient recipe above; with orange blossom water added; and with both orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses added. I’ve found that my simple version is definitely better for ice cream and desserts. The version with both extra ingredients has slightly superior flavor for cocktails — but only slightly. Unless you really want to play with this recipe, I’d just make the simple version.
- I’ve also seen some recipes for grenadine that substitute rosewater for orange blossom water. I haven’t tried this, but it sounds delicious (although again, I’m guessing my simple version is better for desserts).
- Adding alcohol to homemade grenadine will help retard spoilage. If you do this, use something flavorless — an ounce or so of vodka, or about half an ounce of pure grain alcohol. (If you do this, the grenadine will no longer be alcohol free, of course, so it won’t work in a kiddie cocktail).
- I recommend buying fresh pomegranate juice for making grenadine (and for making pomegranate molasses). Pom is the brand every supermarket seems to stock, and it’s good.
- As noted above, you can juice your own pomegranates, but that’s messy (the juice seems to stain everything it touches). The easiest way to juice a pomegranate is to just cut it in half and use a juicer. But there’s a problem with this method: In addition to staining your juicer, you’re going to extract some bitter flavor from the white part of the pomegranate. So the juice won’t be as tasty as it would be if you extracted it from the seeds alone.
- Paula Wolfert recommends removing the pomegranate seeds (they contain the juice), then wrapping them in cheesecloth, and squeezing them with your hand to juice. The problem with this method is that it takes quite a while. It also takes a lot of pomegranates for the amount of juice you need (your hand just isn’t strong enough to extract all the juice).
- Neither of these methods appeals to me, so I just buy pomegranate juice pre-squeezed from the refrigerator case in my supermarket.
- Homemade grenadine doesn’t have the same garish, fluorescent red color as the commercial kind. If you really miss that look (and it’s oddly compelling, I agree), just add some red food coloring when you make your grenadine. That’s what the commercial guys use.
- Speaking of commercial, Rose’s Grenadine is the ready-made brand you’re most likely to find in grocery stores. Unlike Rose’s Lime Juice — which is superb in its own way, and necessary for making a proper Gimlet Cocktail — Rose’s Grenadine just isn’t very good, in my opinion.
- If you really want to buy ready-made grenadine, Sonoma Syrup Company does sell an excellent one, but it’s a bit pricy.
Using Your Homemade Grenadine
Once you have Homemade Grenadine in the refrigerator, you’ll find lots of uses for it. It makes a terrific sauce for ice cream. Topping vanilla ice cream with grenadine is a no brainer — it looks so pretty! But grenadine’s flavor also works well with cherry or chocolate ice cream. I suspect you can find many more flavors to combine it with.
You can also use it as a “dipping” sauce for cakes or brownies. Or serve it with cheesecake.
Grenadine is a natural in nonalcoholic drinks, where it adds color, flavor, and sweetness. (Need to mix up a Shirley Temple? Here’s the quick recipe: Pour ginger ale or lemon-lime soda into glass, add a splash of grenadine, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.) For a more adult nonalcoholic drink, add half an ounce or so of grenadine to a tall glass of iced tonic water or lemonade. Grenadine is also good in tea (iced or hot).
But grenadine is probably best known as an ingredient for cocktails — including some we’ll be featuring as our Summer Sippin’ Series continues. For example, it’s what puts the “sunrise” in the Tequila Sunrise. You can read about that drink later this week — just in time for July 24. Which, in case you didn’t know, is National Tequila Day. I kid you not.
And you’ll be ready for it!
You may also enjoy reading about:
Easy Peach Cobbler
Chocolate Drop Cookies
Gin and Tonic
This is very interesting. I've never purchased grenadine, but my aunt used to make cocktails with it all the time. I'm sure she bought it from the store. I like your version much, much better. The stuff they put in our store purchased foods these days can be pretty scary. You really have to be a label reader don't you. I'm glad you are. :)
I love grenadine syrup! Your photos are gorgeous!!!!
Hi Mother Rimmy, grenadine really has a nice flavor. If you like pomegranate, it's worth making just to try it. I'm going to be featuring it in cocktails, but it works well in desserts too. Last night we had chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream for dessert with a grenadine garnish - really yummy. Thanks for your comment.
Hi Simply Tia, doesn't it have a great flavor? Thanks for the kind words, and your comment.
I love homemade grenadine and as soon as I found out what it really was and how easy it is to make, I've never bought it! Great recipe and photos and thanks so much for linking to my bulgur salad - too funny that we both linked to each other today! As usual, we are totally on the same wavelength. I'll have to try my grenadine over ice cream, usually I stick to cocktails and Shirley Temples :-)
As always, what spectacular photos. The pomegranate is a very photogenic fruit.
You are so right and I'm going to make this myself. These photos are mouthwateringly beautiful!
Your pictures are just ridiculously enticing. I got a spoon and tried to scoop the top one off the page, but remained unsatisfied. Looks wonderful. Love grenadine so will try.
Hi Katherine, I really had to laugh when I saw your link today! I usually use grenadine in cocktails, too, but it' great with ice cream and goes surprisingly well with chocolate baked goods. Thanks for your comment.
Hi Suzanne, agree the pomegranate is photogenic. Thanks for your kind words, and for taking time to comment.
Hi Maureen, making my own grenadine really opened my eyes - it's got such great flavor. Thanks for your kind words, and your comment.
That picture with it dripping on ice cream could absolutely wake me up no doubt :D
Choc Chip Uru
Hi Susan, ;-) Definitely worth trying. Thanks for those kind (and funny!) words, and for commenting.
Hi Choc Chip Uru, always happy to wake you up! It's good stuff - trust me. Thanks for your comment.
As usual another great post. I always wondered about grenadine because I, too read labels and my husband loves Rose's lime juice. But I was so happy to read to the end and now i can't wait to hear about the tequila sunrise as I used to drink a lot of those so many moons ago. And I have bought rosewater at a middle eastern market but I am thinking that is an acquired taste-though it does smell really good and I have tried it in lemonade where it isn't bad.
This is hilarious. We must have been vibing at the same time. Totally loving this. I'm going to try this the next time I make Shirley Temples. You always take such amazing photos.
Hi This is How I Cook, Rose's Lime Juice is good stuff. Their grenadine? Blech. I, too, think rosewater (and orange blossom water) may be something one needs to learn to appreciate. At least for me (I'm not wild about straight orange blossom water, but it's nice in the grenadine). The Tequila Sunrise is one of those oldie but goody drinks. ;-) Thanks for commenting.
Hi Kim, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw your Shirley Temple post! Too funny. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.
This sounds so simple to make, it makes me wonder why I have never tried it before, I surely will give it a try now. I also just love your pictures, I hope to be able to take pictures as beautiful as yours some day.
Hi Alessandra, it's totally simple to make - and has such great flavor. When I made it, I, too, wondered when it had been all my life. Thanks for the kind words (and comment!) - my early food pictures were awful. A lot of practice.
I love pomegranates, so this looks so divine. Yum. And I love your photos.
Hi Tania, if you like pomegranates, you've got to give this a try! Wonderful flavor. Thanks for the kind words, and your comment.
Wow, your photos are simply amazing!
Your photography is gorgeous. The colour of this pomegranate grenadine is stunning. You are so right about pomegranate juice. I was in a deli the other day and they were selling organic pomegranate juice. It was the nicest juice I've had in a long time. I love how you can buy it and turn it into grenadine - nice work! xx
Hi John, Wow, what an informative post! You do a lot of research for your blog, and I appreciate it. How nice to have many facts on a subject. Photos here are dramatic, neat and clean (can I say it about a photo?) I use a lot of pomegranate juice in my cooking, and pomegranate juice reductions, but never had a grenadine. Is it too sweet with two cups of sugar?
Woah! What a gorgeous picture! Absolutely stunning! Never made grenadine at home but it does sound fairly simple! Thanks for putting all those pointers together!
Well! Did I pick a great day to check things out over here. This is such a great post, very informative and the photos are all shot so very well. I don't use a lot of grenadine, so, a bottle I buy tends to sit for quite some time before I throw it away. I'd much rather make it fresh each time I need some. Thanks to your recipe I can scale it up or down depending upon my plans. I'm "pinning" the recipe lest I lose it before I need it. Thanks for sharing this with us.
I really did not know Grenadine was made with pomegranates, what a fun, easy recipe:-) I am such a fan of making everything homemade! Hugs, Terra
Where have I been? I had no idea that grenadine was made with pomegranate juice! I drank enough of it in college with all those Tequila Sunrises I had. Remember those? :)Thanks for this information, ALL of this information. You can bet I'll be brewing up some grenadine as soon as the pomegranates show up in the store. Have a great week!
Cool one! It looks so sexy, fierce and seductive...hahaha. But thanks for the information..I never thought grenadine can be easily made like that..haha
I love pomegranates. A well-written post. So informative and interesting.
Grenadine is a wonderful addition to any frozen dessert.
This is a traditional Non-alcoholic recipe for a classic virgin cocktail made with a blend of blood orange juice, cranberry juice, raspberry syrup and sugar served over ice in a tall glass and garnished with fresh raspberries.
Hi Beth, thanks so much for that, and for taking time to comment.
Hi Hotly Spiced, it's pretty hard to go wrong photographing a pomegranate! Thanks for your kind words, and for commenting.
Hi Marina, grenadine is pretty sweet, so equal amounts of pomegranate and sugar is a pretty typical mix. But you make a good point that it may be too sweet (or not sweet enough!) for some people. I'll add a note to that effect. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.
Hi Baker Street, I never made grenadine at home either, before I started working on this post. It's so easy, I'll be doing it a lot in the future. (Same thing with simple syrup - until I started making that, I thought it was pretty exotic.) Thanks for your comment.
Hi Chicago John, up to now I've been the same way - I'd buy the commercial stuff, grumbling about the low quality. The fresh tastes so much better it's worth the minimal time it takes to make it. Thanks for commenting.
Hi Terra, I knew about the pomegranates, but before I started exploring how to make it I didn't realize how simple it was to make! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for your comment.
Hi MJ, Tequila Sunrise is coming right up! Well, in a couple of days. Thanks for your thanks, and the comment.
Hi Leona, it's so simple it's ridiculous! Thanks for your comment.
Hi Rosa, I agree grenadine goes so well with frozen desserts. And cocktails. ;-) Thanks for your comment.
Hi NACR, nice recipe - thanks for sharing it, and for your comment.
I have heard of grenadine, but have never bought it. I'm sure this is better than store bought anyways, this sounds great!
I just started making my own grenadine too; I wanted to re-create a Bacardi Cocktail for my blog that I used to enjoy and I'm sure I also used Rose's Grenadine but no more. It does make for a deeper, more burgundy color cocktail and adds a deeper flavor too. So easy and so much better. It wins all the way around doesn't it?
Although I'm familiar with Grenadine I can't say I've actually considered a recipe for it. Quite intriguing...It isn't one of my favorite additions to cocktails but hey it's good to know because you just never know!
Thanks for sharing...
Hi Cathleen, it's really good stuff. And when you come across a recipe that requires it, now you'll have an easy recipe for making it! Thanks for your comment.
Hi Barbara, isn't homemade grenadine great? I haven't had a Bacardi Cocktail for awhile - I almost but it on my list of drinks to make this summer in my weekly Summer Sippin' Series, but decided against it. Maybe next year! Good drink. Anyway, agree that the homemade is so worth doing. Thanks for your comment.
Hi Louise, now you know! Not one of those things you need that often, but when you do, you do. Thanks for the comment.
Me and the Shirley Temple go waaay back! (Grandma is to thank for that.) This recipe is so simple, I can't believe it--and no HFCS! Wow, you should frame or paint that photo of the fruit--it's gorgeous.
I remember grenadine as a kid as the ingredient in Shirley Temples that I adored because they made me feel more grown-up sipping them. Nowadays, I'd much rather have a homemade version for sure.
Hi Kelly, I think a lot of us remember the Shirley Temple fondly. And this is one of the simplest recipes I know (Simple Syrup is even easier). Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.
Hi Carolyn, I definitely remember that "sophisticated" feeling I got when sipping a Shirley Temple when I was a youngster. Nowadays I prefer my grenadine in something with a bit more starch, thank you very much. Thanks for commenting.
I am going to try the molasses because it is used a lot in Turkish cooking, as dressing in salads etc. Thanks for the detailed notes:)
Oh that is an excellent tip of not using fresh pom and you are absolutely right in using Grenadine as an alternative. Hey, that ice cream looks very attractive and delicious. Have a good week! :)
Hi Ilke, I don't know a great deal about Turkish cuisine, but I've certainly seen more than a few recipes that require pomegranate molasses. I have a nice jar of it in the refrigerator that I'll be playing with! Thanks for your comment.
Hi Ray, the bottle juice is so easy to use, and it makes a superb grenadine. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.
Yumm this looks really delicious! Especially on the ice cream ;) This also reminds me of shirley temples...still my all-time favorite drink =)
Yes I heard about Grenadine, but never tried it, and I didn't know about "fake" pomegranate in store bought Grenadine. I keep looking at the top picture to see from where to where is reflection... I had fun. :-) Such gorgeous pictures, John!
i would love to have it.
It was an instinct to inspect the container and see if there is indeed a bit of pomegranate in my store bought grenadine. Turns out there is none. Not a bit. No way I am gonna buy this again. Thanks for sharing...
Myfudo here...Normally we'd never put a shameless plug back to us, but we just launched our new site and we would love for you to be a part of it. I'd love to share our newest launch with you, I hope you don't mind? Now that we are getting a new look...Myfudo is moving to a new domain http://www.yumgoggle.com This has been a project we have been working on for almost a year now. We just launched our new gallery submission site, and we are just thrilled. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! Please sign up and check us out (it's free) http://www.yumgoggle.com/gallery
We look forward to seeing your wonderful pictures, as always.
p.s. We are hosting a Kitchen Aid Mixer Giveaway to celebrate our new Yumgoggle site, we hope you'll participate =)
Hi Kristi, it's impossible to beat chocolate sauce on ice cream, but grenadine gives it a run for its money! You can also use both. ;-) Thanks for commenting.
Hi Nami, these pictures taken on black acrylic are fun. This one is kinda cool because of the angle - you can actually see some things on the bottom picture that you can't on the top ice cream (the grenadine flowing down the ice cream on the right). And the pool of grenadine on the acrylic makes seeing where the actual ice cream ends and its reflection begins a bit tricky too. Thanks so much for your kind words, and your comment.
Hi love2dine, you'd enjoy it, I'm sure! Thanks for your comment.
Hi Yumgoogle (going to take awhile to get used to that name - I really liked MyFudo!), you're good people so I'm happy for you to plug your new site. I'll definitely be checking you out - just had time to glance at it a couple of days ago, but I'll be back. And isn't it a shame that most store-bought grenadine doesn't include pomegranate? We're paying an awful lot of money for sugar water. Oh, and "flavorings!" Thanks for your comment.
For a long time I tried hunting Grenadine to make pink lemonade. Finally I was able to find it . So Impressed to see that you have made this at home. Amazing!
Hi Asmita, it's a lot easier to make your own then it is to find the real stuff! ;-) Thanks for commenting.
These photos are stunning!! This is a great post. I love grenadine, but you are absolutely right about the stuff at the grocery store. I would love to make my own. I can't wait to try this!
Hi Jen, it's so easy to make your own grenadine, that once you try it, you'll never go back. Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.
John, wowzer. This looks amazing. You know how I don't like processed stuff, so one less chemically thing can be gone from our shelves, and it looks so easy. As always, your photos take my breath away.
Thanks so much,
That sounds like the perfect refreshing ice-cream for summer!
Hi Denise, I'm OK with some chemicals, but not when something is based almost entirely on chemicals (the HFCS aside) - gross! Thanks for your kind words, and your comment.
Hi Ana y Blanca, it's extremely nice! We've enjoyed this several times now. Thanks for taking time to comment.
I've made pomegranate molasses countless times but never homemade grenadine. I never realized that grenadine and pom molasses were almost the same thing - so cool! I'm absolutely going to try making my own. YAY! Thanks for always being so inspring!
Hi Kristy, yes, pom molasses is really just concentrated grenadine. And if you're already making that, just stop right at the beginning, and essentially you have grenadine! Thanks for your comment.
Wow you're just a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this stuff. We're you ever a bartender? I never knew how to make this let alone that you could in your own home. Fascinating!
Your photo is striking with the spill of grenadine on the black background. You should win a photo award or if nothing else enter yourself in a contest.
Hi Vicki, I read a lot. Never a bartender, although a long, long time ago I used to manage hotels (some with bars, restaurants) so that background is actually helpful. Thanks for your very kind words, and for commenting.
I love your eye for detail... And your notes.... When I write a letter, I often have more "PS" than the original content... But of course, the difference is yours matter....
Hi Pencil Kitchen, there is a lot of info in the Notes, isn't there? ;-) Actually I have things arranged that way so people can pick and choose what they want to read. I tend to write long posts, and I know not everyone wants to (or will) read every words, so I try to arrange things to people can read what they want, skip what they don't want to read. Thanks for your kind words, and your comment.
I haven't purchased grenadine in years, but I don't want to now. When I was little my grandpa used to bring us in the bar where he worked and make us shirley temples. I can get fresh poms here, but you are right they are so much work and messy. I love that cool reflection, I need to have a little more fun with my photos when I get some free time.
Hi Gina, what a nice memory! You need to make yourself a Shirley Temple soon, just to remember. Those reflection shots are really seductive. Not every subject works, but when you find one that does, it can be great. Once you figure out how to do them they're actually quick and easy to do. Thanks for your comment.
On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday - and I love that you made this grenadine from scratch so I'm featuring it as part of today's roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I'm happy to be following along with your creations...
Hi Javelin Warrior, very cool! No objections at all - thanks for the heads up, for including me in the roundup, and of course for commenting.
I honestly buy this stuff from a lebanese store here but never thought it was that easy to make!
when pomegrantes are in season here I will sure give this a go
Thank you for stopping by my blog so that I can discover yours.
Hi Sawsan, it really is so easy, and at least here in the US it's difficult to buy grenadine that's of decent quality. Thanks for taking time to comment.
Ok... call me stupid, but I had NO idea you could make your own grenadine - the possibilities are endless. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Amanda, until I read about it, I didn't know you could make your own grenadine either. Nor did I know how easy it was! Really a simple recipe - but so good. Thanks for your comment.
It's funny how many different versions of pomegranate syrup there are. You can call it grenadine, syrup, molasses, concentrate... they are all slightly different, but equally delicious. We Persians love our pomegranate syrup and use it in so many different recipes. Great post!
Hi FamilySpice, I should really scour your blog for ways to use pomegranate - I'll bet you have some good ones! Thanks for your comment.
I just realised I missed this post! The first 2 photos blew my mind away. It almost didn't look like ice cream. :D I just want to put my face right into it. mmmm..pomegranate...
Hi Jenny, those reflections are a bit confusing! Doesn't pomegranate have terrific flavor? And this is a great way to enjoy it. It's really worth trying with ice cream - and chocolate! Cocktails too, of course. Thanks for your comment.
I had no idea that grenadine was just pomegranate juice and sugar. And I was going to ask you the difference between grenadine and pomegranate molasses too... I did see that you mentioned it in the notes. Is the latter just more reduced? LOVE the photos. Like the other readers I had to stare at the first picture for a while until I realized it was a reflection!
Hi Laura, sometimes pomegranate also includes orange blossom water (or even rose water), but the juice/sugar combo works really well. Re pomegranate molasses, yes, it's much more reduced. Regular grenadine flows pretty easily (it's essentially a simple syrup). Pom molasses flows like, well, molasses! Thanks for the comment.
Well this is super easy. Must give this a go. Over ice cream or in your new drink recipe is sublime!
Hi Bobbi, easy and really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Post a Comment