Grenadine is a non-alcoholic cocktail mixer with a distinctive red colour and a sweet-tart flavour. It can be used to add complexity and balance to fruity punches, and is also popular for its vibrant colour, which can be used to create cocktails in a range of shades, from scarlet to baby pink, depending on the other ingredients. It is a popular addition to colourful mocktails designed for children, but is perhaps best known as the red part of the iconic ‘sunrise’ effect in a tequila sunrise.
Traditionally made from pomegranate juice and sugar, grenadine takes its name from ‘grenade’, the French word for the pomegranate. It has a syrupy consistency, which means that it has a tendency to sink beneath other, less dense ingredients. This is how the graded tequila sunrise effect is achieved, but if you want your grenadine to blend with the rest of your cocktail, remember to stir it well.
It is important to try and find good-quality grenadine, as there are many cheap imitations made with corn syrup and artificial flavourings. Try looking in your local whole food store, or buying some pomegranate syrup - which is essentially the same thing - from a Middle Eastern supermarket. Alternatively, try making your own grenadine by boiling equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar in a pan for 10 - 15 minutes.
Recipes with vodka
Vodka Sunrise: the Russian cousin of the classic tequila sunrise, this fruity and refreshing cocktail boasts that iconic ‘sunrise’ fade from pink to orange, and if you prefer vodka to tequila, this is the sunrise cocktail for you. Recipe courtesy of Mix That Drink.
Russian Kiss: this scandalously scarlet sip from Olivia’s Cuisine is the perfect cocktail to share on Valentine’s Day. And with a few tweaks to your presentation, it makes a spookily good Halloween drink, too.
Dirty Shirley: if you grew up drinking Shirley Temples, now you can enjoy those familiar pink bubbles with an added kick. Recipe from Culinary Hill.
Recipes with tequila
Pomegranate and Lime Margarita: a twist on the classic margarita with a striking red colour and a flavour that is both sweet, tart and zesty, this pretty cocktail is sure to be a hit at parties.
Tequila Sunrise: perhaps the most well-known grenadine cocktail, the tequila sunrise was a favourite drink of 70s rock stars like the Rolling Stones and the Eagles, and has real retro appeal.
Recipes with rum
Rum Sunset: another member of the sunrise family of cocktails, this time made with rum. This recipe from Miss in the Kitchen uses spiced rum for added flavour, but you can also use white rum if you want to show off the sunrise effect at its best.
Rum Punch: this vibrant, fruity punch from Amanda’s Cookin is the perfect drink for summer parties. When it comes to garnish, more is more, with sliced fruit, red cherries, stripy straws and cocktail umbrellas all bringing the party atmosphere.
Mary Pickford: named after silent movie star Mary Pickford, this baby pink vintage cocktail encapsulates the glamor of 1920s Hollywood. Perfect for living out your Great Gatsby fantasies. Recipe courtesy of Moody Mixologist.
Other recipes with grenadine
For more bright and beautiful cocktails, from the fruity but powerful Hurricane, to drinkable desserts like the Cherry Cheesecake, take a look at this collection of grenadine recipes from Love to Know.
You can also find more cocktails and mocktails in our ultimate guide to the Top 5 Grenadine Cocktails.