What is Grenadine?

Grenadine is a well-known sweet and tangy syrup that is often used to incorporate a dash of vibrant color and flavor to many popular cocktails, mocktails, and desserts. Made primarily from pomegranate juice, sugar, and water, this deep red syrup has been a staple in the world of mixology for decades. Although its origins can be traced back to the 19th century, grenadine remains an essential item in the bartender’s toolkit even today.

In its earliest form, grenadine was made from fresh pomegranate juice, but over time, alternative sources such as red currant juice, cherry juice, or even artificial flavorings have been used to create a more cost-effective and readily available product. Nevertheless, the high-quality, authentic grenadine syrups are still made using pomegranate juice, giving them a distinct tartness that counteracts the sweetness of the sugar.

Due to its versatile flavor profile and eye-catching hue, grenadine has found its way into several popular drink recipes, such as the Tequila Sunrise, the Shirley Temple, and the ever-classic Roy Rogers. It is not only a go-to ingredient for the bartending community but also recognizable by home-entertainers and party hosts who wish to add a touch of elegance to their beverages.

What is Grenadine

Grenadine is a sweet, vibrant red syrup commonly used to flavor and color cocktails, mocktails, and other beverages. Derived from pomegranate juice, it is an essential ingredient in many classic and modern cocktail recipes.

Origin and History

Grenadine’s history dates back to the 19th century when it first appeared as an ingredient in various bartending guides. The word “grenadine” is derived from the French word “grenade,” which means pomegranate. Traditionally made from pomegranate juice and sugar, grenadine was originally used to provide a fruity flavor and brighten the appearance of cocktails.

Composition and Ingredients

Although grenadine is often associated with pomegranate juice, the syrup’s composition varies depending on the manufacturer and ingredients used. A traditional grenadine recipe includes:

  • Pomegranate juice: The primary component in grenadine, pomegranate juice provides the syrup’s distinctive flavor and rich color. Pomegranate juice is often obtained by reducing fresh or unsweetened store-bought juice.
  • Sugar: To create the syrup-like consistency, sugar is dissolved in pomegranate juice and sometimes heated until thickened. Granulated sugar, cane sugar, or organic sugar are commonly used to sweeten grenadine.

However, many commercially available grenadine products include artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners, resulting in a less authentic taste. For those who prefer a more traditional grenadine, numerous recipes and artisanal brands utilize natural ingredients and traditional methods to achieve a high-quality syrup.

Grenadine in Drinks and Cocktails

Grenadine is a versatile, sweet and bright red syrup commonly used in a variety of drinks and cocktails. Although it is traditionally made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and water, many commercial grenadines often use artificial flavors and colors. This ingredient adds both a pop of color and a touch of sweetness to numerous drinks known worldwide.

Popular Cocktails

In the world of cocktails, grenadine is a staple ingredient that adds a delightful twist to classics, such as the Tequila Sunrise, Singapore Sling, and Clover Club. The Tequila Sunrise, made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, creates a stunning visual effect where the red grenadine syrup settles at the bottom of the glass, resembling a beautiful sunrise. Similarly, the Singapore Sling combines gin, cherry liqueur, and grenadine with various fruit juices, while the Clover Club, a pre-Prohibition-era drink, uses gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup or grenadine, and egg white to create a frothy, pink cocktail.

Other admired alcoholic beverages featuring grenadine include the Hurricane, Whiskey Sour, Ward 8, Zombie, and the elegant Mary Pickford. These cocktails showcase the versatility of grenadine, contributing visual appeal, a subtle fruity flavor, and a hint of sweetness.

Mocktails and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Grenadine is not exclusively found in cocktails; it also makes appearances in numerous non-alcoholic drinks, or mocktails. A prime example is the Shirley Temple, a blend of ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, and grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Its counterpart, the Roy Rogers, uses cola instead of ginger ale and lemon-lime soda, but still includes grenadine for that distinct touch of sweetness and color.

Other popular mocktails featuring grenadine are the Pineapple Vodka Cocktail, which swaps vodka for sparkling water, and simple fruit juice blends that combine grenadine with orange or pineapple juice. Even classic beverages like lemonade can be enhanced by a drizzle of grenadine, adding a splash of color and sweetness.

Overall, grenadine is a timeless and adaptable ingredient that elevates the flavor and visual appeal of a wide range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Its presence in beloved classics and inventive new concoctions keeps it an essential component in the world of mixology.

Making Grenadine at Home

Homemade Grenadine Recipe

Making homemade grenadine is a simple and rewarding process. Start by using high-quality, unsweetened pomegranate juice as the base. Combine 2 cups of juice with 1 cup of granulated sugar in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for acidity and a pinch of citric acid for tartness. Optionally, you can also add 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water for a touch of floral aroma.

Once all the ingredients are combined, let the mixture cool before transferring it into a glass bottle or jar for storage. Homemade grenadine can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Alternative Ingredients and Variations

While pomegranates are the classic ingredient for grenadine, there are a variety of alternative ingredients and variations that can be used to change the taste and appearance of the syrup.

  • Pomegranate molasses: As a substitute for pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses can offer a greater depth of flavor and concentrated sweetness. Simply dilute the molasses with water and adjust the sugar to recreate the grenadine recipe.
  • Cherries: For a different take on grenadine, try using cherry syrup, or even maraschino cherries, as an alternative to pomegranate juice. This alternative provides a sweeter, more distinct flavor.
  • Citrus fruits: In some recipes, a combination of lemon juice and orange flower water can be used to create a citrus-flavored grenadine. You can also experiment with other types of citrus, like pineapple juice, to find your desired flavor profile.
  • Sweeteners: If you prefer a grenadine without high fructose corn syrup, consider using a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup instead of granulated sugar. Be sure to adjust the sweetness level to your taste.

Though grenadine is famous for its sweet-tart flavor and rich color, it’s important to remember that homemade grenadine can differ quite significantly from commercial varieties like Rose’s, which often contain high fructose corn syrup. Experimenting with ingredients and technique can result in a syrup that’s uniquely your own.

Store-Bought Grenadine

Brands and Varieties

Store-bought grenadine is a popular cocktail ingredient that can be found in many supermarkets and liquor stores. There are several brands and varieties available, some of which may contain different ingredients or levels of sweetness. Common brands you may come across include Rose’s, Monin, and Stirrings.

Ingredients in Store-Bought Versions

Many store-bought versions of grenadine contain a mix of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juices, simple syrup, artificial flavors, and preservatives. These ingredients can vary depending on the brand and the specific product.

Common ingredients found in store-bought grenadine are:

  • Sugar or High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Provides sweetness to the syrup.
  • Fruit Juices: May be used to provide natural fruit flavoring.
  • Simple Syrup: A base for the grenadine, typically made from sugar and water.
  • Artificial Flavors: Used to mimic the taste of traditional grenadine made from pomegranate juice.
  • Red Food Coloring: Gives the characteristic red color to the syrup.
  • Preservatives: Ingredients such as sodium citrate and sodium benzoate are added to extend the shelf life of the product.
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors: These may be added to enhance the taste.

While store-bought varieties are convenient, some consumers prefer all-natural grenadines made without artificial colors or flavors. Natural grenadines may be more difficult to find but can be sourced online or at specialty stores in locations such as Portland, Oregon.

In summary, store-bought grenadine is a widely available and convenient cocktail ingredient that may contain a variety of ingredients, including sugar, fruit juices, and artificial flavors.

Storage and Shelf-Life

Proper Storage Techniques

Grenadine, a popular syrup used in cocktails, is made primarily from pomegranate juice and sugar. Proper storage is essential to maintain its quality and shelf-life. To store grenadine, follow these methods:

  • Keep it in a cool, dark place: Heat and light can degrade the quality of grenadine over time. Store the syrup in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Seal the container: Always ensure that the bottle is tightly sealed to prevent contamination or evaporation. Use an airtight bottle or container if transferring the syrup from its original packaging.
  • Refrigerate after opening: After the initial use, keep grenadine in the refrigerator. This helps extend its shelf-life and maintain the freshness of its flavor.

Determining Freshness

Grenadine can remain in good condition for quite a while, but it is essential for bartenders or home mixologists to know when it has gone past its prime. Here are some indicators of its freshness:

  • Best by date: Check for a best by or expiration date on the packaging. This provides a general guideline for its shelf-life, which is typically around 3 years when unopened.
  • Color: Fresh grenadine should have a vibrant red hue. Over time, the color may fade or darken, indicating a decline in quality.
  • Smell: A sweet, fruity aroma is characteristic of fresh grenadine. If it develops an off or rancid smell, it is likely past its prime and should be discarded.
  • Consistency: If grenadine becomes too thick or develops an unusual texture, it may be time to replace it.

To maintain the highest quality in cocktails and other beverages, take proper care in storing grenadine and monitor its freshness using these tips. This will ensure that its delightful flavor remains intact for all to enjoy.

Grenadine Cocktail

Easy and fun cocktail using grenadine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 182 kcal


  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Strainer
  • Cocktail glass


  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz grenadine syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Orange slice and cherry for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour in gin, grenadine syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, and orange juice.
  • Shake well until the ingredients are combined and chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and cherry on top.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 17g
Keyword Grenadine cocktail
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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