Homemade grenadine syrup is surprisingly easy to make. When you learn how to make grenadine yourself, you can avoid the high fructose corn syrup and food coloring found in store-bought versions.
What is Grenadine?
According to Wikipedia, the name comes from the French word grenade, meaning pomegranate. The original recipe consists of pomegranate juice and sugar. (I also use pomegranate juice to make maraschino cherries – something else that is SO much better when made from scratch.)
The name grenadine is often mistakenly applied to syrups and beverages made with other fruit juices (e.g. raspberry, redcurrant, blackberry) and sugar syrup. Some of these other syrups obtain the characteristic flavor associated with grenadine by using a mixture of blackcurrant juice along with other fruit juices.
I only use pomegranate juice and sugar in my recipe, just like in the original one.
Why You Should Make Homemade Grenadine
The food industry has widely replaced grenadine fruit bases with artificial ingredients. Rose’s, by far the most common grenadine brand in the United States, is made using mostly high-fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, and natural and artificial flavors. It’s colored using Red 40 (made with petroleum distillates or coal tars) and Blue 1.
I don’t want artificial ingredients or food additives in my drinks, so I decided to make my own grenadine.
Inspired by Cocktail Chronicles, I learned that it is incredibly easy to make this syrup. And, when you make it with natural ingredients, you can return to something resembling the original recipe with its flavor profile – and avoid food coloring at the same time.
How to Make Grenadine
Start by pouring 4 cups (32 fluid ounces) of pomegranate juice into a medium saucepan. I prefer use pure juice rather than juice from concentrate.
Bring the juice to a rapid boil.
Reduce to medium-low heat to maintain a slow boil for about 15 minutes.
When the liquid has reduced by half (or more, depending on how strong you like your syrup), add 2 cups of granulated sugar and stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and transfer into a glass jar before refrigerating. You can use it as soon as it is chilled.
What to Do With Homemade Grenadine Syrup
Grenadine is famously used in the Shirley Temple kiddie cocktail (I use it in my Shirley Temple cupcakes).
If you are looking for an adult cocktail to use it with, try a tequila sunrise (grenadine, tequila, and orange juice).
Other Homemade Cocktail Ideas
If you like making cocktails and using homemade liqueurs, take a look at my recipes for homemade Baileys Irish Cream, homemade Kahlua, homemade Luxardo cherries, and syllabub. All of those make great gifts and party options – but they’re also great to make for yourself!
Homemade Grenadine Syrup Recipe
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- red food coloring optional
- Bring 4 cups of pomegranate juice (a whole 32 fluid ounce bottle) to a boil.
- Lower heat and bring juice to a slow boil until it reduces in half. You can let it reduce more than half if you want it to be a bit thicker. This process took about 15 minutes.
- Stir in sugar until dissolved and remove from heat.
- Optionally, add in food coloring. (I typically leave this off.)
- Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate.