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What Is Grenadine?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

Non-Alcoholic Uses

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.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon143873 — On Jan 18, 2011

Re: Named for Granada.

Granada is a province in the Andalusia region of Spain, with its capital city also called Granada. The region was invaded and settled by the Moors (from Morocco)in the 8th century, and in 1238 became an independent kingdom and a center of Muslim learning and civilisation.

The Moors brought the pomegranate with them from Morocco. "Pomme" means apple in French and hence "pomegranate" means "apple of Granada". The word "grenade" comes from its shape, and "garnet" comes from its color.

"Grenadine" is also made from blackcurrant or raspberry, but properly should be from pomegranate.

By pollick — On Oct 06, 2009

Grenadine can often be found on regular grocery store shelves alongside other alcoholic beverage mixers and supplies. It's generally sold in small decorative bottles-- Rose's is one popular brand of grenadine syrup. You might also find grenadine in well-stocked liquor or package stores. Grenadine syrup is generally shelf-stable, like many other types of syrup, but I would suggest pouring out a small sample and examining it closely before using. Grenadine syrup shouldn't turn rancid or spoil through lack of refrigeration, so an unopened bottle would most likely be serviceable for at least a year or two.

By anon43983 — On Sep 03, 2009

Where can you purchase grenadine?

By anon22420 — On Dec 03, 2008

I have a bottle of Grenadine Syrup by Giroux, 33.8 fl oz. It is not open, but is very old (?) Is it still good?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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