What is Grenadine Syrup?
Grenadine syrup is a non-alcoholic pomegranate-flavoured mixer, used to give cocktails a distinctive flavour that is both tart and sweet, and to add a dash of vibrant, ruby-red colour. It gets its name from the French word for pomegranate, ‘grenade’ (and yes, hand grenades are named after pomegranates too), and first became a fashionable ingredient in American cocktails in the 1910s.
These days, if you want to try a grenadine cocktail, you’re spoilt for choice. But if you want your cocktail to taste it’s best, it’s important to use a good quality syrup. Unfortunately, grenadine ingredients are not well-regulated, and many commercial brands are flavoured with corn syrup and other artificial additives, some containing no pomegranate at all. For grenadine with more natural ingredients, you can try whole food stores, or look for pomegranate syrup at your local Middle Eastern supermarket.
But don’t panic if you can’t find any good quality grenadine. It couldn’t be simpler to make your own at home. All you need are equal amounts of pomegranate juice and sugar, and some orange or lemon peel. You can vary the amounts according to how much you need, but two cups each of juice and sugar should make between 12 x 24 servings, depending on what cocktails you want to make. If you can’t get hold of pomegranate juice, blended juices like cranberry and pomegranate can be less expensive and easier to find, and the result is just as delicious.
Put all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until all the sugar is dissolved. Next, lower the heat and cover the pan, letting the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes. Leave it to cool, then remove any remaining bits of peel and pour your grenadine syrup into a bottle. Seal tightly and refrigerate. Homemade grenadine can keep for up to three weeks in the fridge, but if you don’t make cocktails very often, it’s best to make it in smaller batches so it’s fresh when you need it.
When should you use grenadine Syrup?
Grenadine is often used in cocktails to add a splash of colour, perhaps most famously in the classic tequila sunrise, where orange juice and grenadine are mixed to form a sunrise effect in a glass. But it isn't just alcoholic drinks that benefit from a dash of grenadine. Classic mocktails like the Shirley Temple and the Roy Rogers both contain grenadine, and both are perfect for when you’re not in the mood for alcohol, or if the kids want to join the party.
To make a Shirley Temple, put some crushed ice in a tall glass and pour 7.5 ml grenadine and 7.5 ml fresh lime juice over the ice. Top up with ginger beer and stir gently to combine. To finish the look, skewer two cherries with a cocktail stick and lay over the top of the glass.
To make a Roy Rogers, put some crushed ice in a tall glass and add 7.5 ml grenadine. Top with cola and garnish with a single cherry.
If you don’t have time to make cocktails, you can enjoy grenadine as a cordial. Simply mix with crushed ice and water to make a refreshing drink, perfect for a sunny day.
Cocktails with Grenadine Syrup
If you’re planning your next cocktail party, there are plenty of mouthwatering drinks to choose from. But what are the best grenadine cocktails? We’ve chosen five of our favourites to delight your taste buds and get the party started.
No list of grenadine cocktails would be complete without the Tequila Sunrise. A favourite of the Rolling Stones when they toured America in the seventies, its retro appeal and iconic sunrise-effect have made this drink a modern classic.
And it’s simple to make, too. Take a highball glass, half-fill with ice, and pour in 50ml tequila. Top up with fresh orange juice and stir to mix, then add a dash of grenadine and watch as it sinks to the bottom, creating that famous sunrise effect. Decorate with a cocktail umbrella for an added touch of retro kitsch.
The popularity of the Tequila Sunrise has led to a number of popular variations, so if you want to try something a bit different, you can swap the tequila for vodka to make a Vodka Sunrise, or use half orange and half pineapple juice for a Florida Sunrise.
Pomegranate and Lime Margarita
If you can’t get enough of that pomegranate flavour, then the Pomegranate and Lime Margarita is the drink for you. Flavoured with grenadine and pomegranate juice with a dash of zesty lime, it adds a sophisticated twist to the classic margarita.
To make, pour 250 ml pomegranate juice, 55 ml lime juice, 150 ml white tequila and 75 ml grenadine syrup into a cocktail shaker, and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. Fill two cocktail glasses with crushed ice and pour your margarita into the glasses. Enjoy ice cold.
For romantic nights in, set the mood with The Lover. This vodka grenadine cocktail is seductive and sophisticated with a passionate red colouring, making it perfect for Valentine’s Day or that special dinner.
To make, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 30ml Limoncello, 30ml vodka and 30ml Cointreau. Shake until mixed, and then divide the mixture between two tall fluted glasses. Top up with chilled Prosecco, add a dash of grenadine and stir gently. Garnish with a cherry.
Marilyn Monroe Cocktail
Add a touch of Hollywood glamour with the Marilyn Monroe Cocktail. This indulgent champagne cocktail is dedicated to the blonde bombshell herself. To make, simply pour 113 ml champagne, 28 ml apple brandy and 5 ml grenadine into a champagne saucer and garnish with two cherries on a stick.
This one is for the gin lovers. The Gin Daisy is a real vintage classic, dating back over 100 years. A refreshing hit of zesty lemon makes this the toast of the speakeasy.
To make, fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and add 50 ml of your favourite gin, 10 ml lemon juice and a dash of grenadine. Shake to mix, then fill a glass with more ice, and pour the mixture over the top. Top up with club soda and garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.