Homemade grenadine is surprisingly easy to make. When you learn how to make grenadine yourself, you can avoid the high fructose corn syrup and food coloring that you find in the store-bought version.
What is Grenadine?
Years ago, Kristen of Bakesweet contacted me, wondering if I had a recipe for cupcakes with grenadine. I didn’t at the time, but I 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. The original grenadine recipe was prepared using 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.
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 cupcakes (or 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.
Homemade Grenadine 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 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.
- 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 chill.