Kristen of Bakesweet contacted me wondering if I had a recipe for a cupcake with grenadine. I did not, but immediately got excited about the concept of making one. In preparation, I did a bit of research about grenadine.
According to the Wikipedia article on grenadine:
“The name ‘grenadine’ comes from the French word grenade meaning pomegranate, as grenadine was originally prepared from pomegranate juice and sugar. However, grenadine is also a common name mistakenly applied to syrups and beverages consisting of other fruit juices (e.g. raspberry, redcurrant, blackberry) and sugar syrup. The characteristic flavor can be obtained from a mixture of blackcurrant juice and other fruit juices with the blackcurrant flavor dominating.
The food industry, however, has widely replaced grenadine fruit bases with artificial ingredients. The Mott’s brand ‘Rose’s', by far the most common grenadine brand in the United States, is now formulated entirely out of a high-fructose corn syrup, water, and citric acid base, sharing nearly the same formulation as orange drink.”
I looked in my pantry and found that the grenadine we had was, in fact, the Rose’s high fructose corn syrup variety. About a year ago, we committed genocide against any food or beverage in our home that contained high fructose corn syrup. I was shocked to discover that there was a sole survivor. It had to be annihilated.
How was I to make my grenadine cupcakes without using this high fructose corn syrup impostor?
Thanks to Cocktail Chronicles, I learned that it is easy to make your own grenadine.
How to Make Grenadine
1. Buy a bottle of pomegranate juice. This is becoming more popular and should be easy to find. POM is a popular but very expensive brand. I was able to find some 100% organic pomegranate juice for much cheaper.
2. Bring 4 cups of pomegranate juice (the whole 32oz bottle) to a boil.
3. Lower heat and simmer until it reduces in half. You can let it reduce more that half if you want it to be a bit thicker. This process took about 15 minutes.
4. Add 2 cups of sugar and let it dissolve.
It won’t be quite as red as Rose’s so you can add food coloring if you’d like. It will taste a million times better.