Make Grenadine syrup for your at-home bar with only two ingredients - pomegranate juice and sugar! You'll have a delicious, deep red mixer for non-alcoholic beverages like Shirley Temples or cocktails like Tequila Sunrises within 10 minutes.
As a kid, I had a huge sweet tooth so grenadine drinks was a natural love for me. I was introduced to Shirley Temples and never stopped ordering it, even into adulthood.
Homemade grenadine is simple to make at home - no corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavor, or food coloring involved like you may get with a popular brand like Rose's Grenadine. It's two simple ingredients, pomegranate juice and sugar, which yields a mixer that's absolutely delicious. This is definitely something that is best made from scratch.
I've actually been to restaurants where I've had a server clarify to me that they make their own homemade grenadine with pomegranates before serving me Shirley Temples! People are generally shocked that fresh grenadine isn't a bright maraschino cherry red, but a bit more deep red-purple from the tart pomegranate juice.
My little secret is just a bit of rose water for an additional sweet, floral layer.
What is Grenadine?
Did you know that grenadine is actually not a cherry-flavored syrup?
Grenadine syrup is made from pomegranate juice and used as a colorful mixer for several beverages such as a Shirley Temple, tequila sunrise, etc. The flavor is a mix of sweet and tart cherries and pomegranates, which is why it's frequently paired with maraschino cherries. It's not to be confused with pomegranate molasses, which is pomegranate juice and sugar reduced down to a syrup.
The name grenadine originates from the French word grenade which means pomegranate!
The deep, bright red color of grenadine makes a bright, beautiful drink! Grenadine is an essential for any well-stocked bar for cocktail enthusiasts.
Think of grenadine as a kind of simple syrup - just with pomegranate juice instead of water. Typically simple syrup is a 1-to-1 ratio of sugar to water which is how a lot of grenadine syrup is made. Due to the natural sugar in pomegranate, I think the 1-to-1 ratio is a bit much and do a 2-to-1 ratio of pomegranate juice to sugar instead.
You can use bottled 100% high quality pomegranate juice, where the only ingredient is pomegranate juice from a brand like Pom. You can also juice your own pomegranate while pomegranates are in season from September - December.
Rose water is entirely optional but I think it adds some wonderful florals to the syrup. If you don't have rosewater, use dried edible roses and strain the syrup. Substitute with an orange peel instead but don't leave it in the simmering syrup for too long.
Note: If you don't plan on using the grenadine within a month of making it, add an ounce of high proof vodka or pure grain alcohol like Everclear to help extend its shelf life for up to six months.
How to Juice a Pomegranate
There's a million and one hacks to juice a pomegranate, so I'll go over a couple of methods.
Juicing a Pomegranate by Hand
Deseed a pomegranate by cutting off the top, just enough to expose the seeds. Cut along side the white membranes to fully expose all the seeds. Remove the white membranes and use your hands to pry the seeds out into a bowl.
From here, there's a few methods.
- Use a potato masher on the seeds and strain the resulting juice.
- Add the seeds to a ziploc bag and seal. Use a rolling pin to crush the seeds. Cut a tiny part of the tip and drain the juice.
I've also seen people cut a whole in the bottom of the pomegranate and squeeze it with their bare hands to release the juice.
Juicing a Pomegranate with Equipment
- Add the seeds to a blender and run the blender for 2 minutes. Strain out the seeds.
- Cut the pomegranate in half and use a citrus squeezer.
How to make Grenadine
The syrup is super easy to make at home with only two main ingredients with minimal equipment!
Heat a sauce pan on low to medium heat and pour in the pomegranate juice. Once the pomegranate juice is warm, pour in the white granulated sugar.
Stir continuously until the sugar has fully melted. Simmer the pomegranate juice for another minute or two, or until the desired syrup consistency is reached but never bring it to a boil.
Remove the grenadine from heat and add the rosewater (optional). Stir it together. Allow the syrup to fully cool before bottling in a sanitized airtight bottle.
Drinks with Grenadine
Grenadine is a rich deep red mixer used for non-alcoholic beverages such as a Shirley Temple and Roy Rodgers. It's also used for spirits and delicious grenadine cocktails such as a Tequila Sunrise, Hurricane, and rainbow cocktails.
Most drinks only require 1-2 tablespoons of grenadine. This recipe yields 2-3 cups of syrup, so you'll have at least 3-4 dozen servings.
Avoid using more than 2 tablespoons of grenadine, otherwise the drink will be too sweet and syrupy.
Storage and Freezer Instructions
Store the freshly made grenadine in a sanitized airtight bottle for up to a month in a refrigerator. Be sure to label it with the expiration date!
This is, of course, much shorter than commercial brands which is due to their usage of high-fructose syrup and preservatives. Most commercial brands use pomegranate flavoring and no real pomegranate juice. To extend the shelf life of your grenadine, add an ounce of high proof vodka or pure grain alcohol like Everclear.
Freeze the grenadine in an ice cube tray for at least five hours or overnight. Transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for up to a year.
More Drink Recipes to try
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- 16 oz pomegranate juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- Add the pomegranate juice to a sauce pan on low to medium heat.
- Pour in the sugar once the pomegranate juice is warm. Stir until it dissolves completely. Allow the pomegranate juice to simmer for an additional minute or two and then remove from heat.
- Add the rose water and stir to combine.
- Allow the grenadine to cool, then transfer it to a sanitized bottle.
- Optionally, add an ounce of vodka to extend the shelf life.
- Store the freshly made grenadine in a sanitized bottle for up to a month in a refrigerator. Be sure to label it with the expiration date!