Grenadine is a red, sweet, and viscous syrup often used in making cocktails. Its name comes from grenade, the French word for pomegranate. While many consider it cherry-flavored, it has traditionally been made using sugar and pomegranate juice. It is commonly used to make a number of different alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a topping for deserts and other dishes.
What Is in It
Today, companies often make grenadine from a mixture of artificial color, sometimes berry or cherry juice for flavoring, and corn syrup or sugar. Certain companies, however, still make it using pomegranate juice and sugar. Most bartenders recommend finding a good fruit juice-based variety, especially traditional recipes, instead of resorting to ones made from artificial flavors and colors.
Making It at Home
People can also make grenadine at home by using about equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar, such as two cups of each. These ingredients can either be poured into a jar and shaken vigorously, or brought to a boil and simmered until they are reduced by half, and then refrigerated. The cold version is not as bright red, while the hot version is more syrupy like commercial variants.
Grenadine is almost always a non-alcoholic syrup, but some versions do contain alcohol so it is important to ensure a non-alcoholic version is used for anything enjoyed by kids. It is a component in popular kids' drinks where it can be combined with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale to make a "Shirley Temple," or with cola to make a "Roy Rogers." Many people also enjoy using it as a desert topping, often pouring the syrup over pancakes or vanilla ice cream.
Uses in Alcoholic Beverages
There are over 500 alcoholic drinks that contain grenadine, since the sweetness of the syrup can minimize the harsh flavors of many alcohols. The most well known drink is probably the "Tequila Sunrise," which is made from orange juice, a shot of tequila and grenadine. When mixed properly, the syrup sinks to the bottom of a tall glass, with the orange juice over it, providing the fiery appearance of a sunrise.
Use in Moderation
Anyone making a drink with grenadine should know that less is more. Grenadine is extremely sweet, and should be used in small amounts. It is also not for the calorie conscious, as a single ounce (28.35 grams) contains about 75 calories. That is approximately four and a half teaspoons of sugar per ounce.