Homemade, fresh grenadine lends a gorgeous jewel-toned hue and fresh pomegranate flavor to more than a few classic cocktails. Making your own is surprisingly easy — essentially just two ingredients and a blender (no stovetop required)!
When pomegranates are in season — typically from October through February — I become somewhat of a fresh grenadine evangelist. Firstly, few people know what it really is — Shirley Temples and that candy red, mass market syrup come to mind. But the “grenadine” you get from a typical grocery store shelf or see behind budget bars is NOT true grenadine. Grenadine is a fresh pomegranate syrup. That supermarket stuff is literally just corn syrup dyed red (ew).
Grenadine drinks are wonderfully bright, slightly tart and floral. They run the gamut of pale pinks to deep plummy reds, thanks to the rich purple hue of fresh pomegranate. And homemade grenadine is a fantastically easy way to get a highly seasonal burst of tangy, floral flavor and color into your cocktail without a ton of work. [Spoiler alert: you literally just combine equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar in a blender].
In fact, the most difficult part of making grenadine is squeezing the pomegranates (I know — not very hard at all). I’ve found over time that the fastest way to juice them is slicing them in half and using a tabletop citrus press, with a fine mesh sieve to catch any extra bits that might slip through. You won’t get literally every seed if you use this method, but you’ll still get a ton of juice with very little effort. If you’re really crunched for time (or can’t find pomegranates), you can use the refrigerated Pom brand pomegranate juice instead, but to me the fresh juice flavor is worth the tiny extra bit of effort.
From there, you just pour the juice in a blender and add equal parts sugar. A kitchen scale is definitely the way to go here (they are cheap and will change your cooking/baking/cocktail mixing game FOREVER). Sugar and juice have different densities, so the only real way to get equal parts is to measure by weight. If you need to use measuring cups instead, use 1 cup of each, and repeatedly bang the measuring cup on the counter as you’re pouring the sugar — it will make the sugar more densely packed and give you a slightly more accurate read.
Then, if you’re feeling extra, you can add a bit of orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses. They’re easy to order online, but most grocery stores carry them, too. Both are good to have on hand for cocktails, but also for baking and cooking (especially middle eastern dishes). Don’t sweat it if you need to skip, though — it won’t throw the whole recipe out of whack. It just adds a nice layer of depth and heightens the pomegranate’s floral notes.
Blend on high until the sugar is completely dissolved, and you’re finished. You’ll notice that true grenadine is a deep, rich, purple — not a candy apple red. The cocktails you mix with your fresh, seasonal syrup will capture the loveliest jewel tones, like this show stopping Jack Rose. I love to serve this one over a large ice cube with dried rose buds (get it?), but it’s traditionally served up and great that way, too.
- 1 cups fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
- 1 cups sugar
- Combine equal parts fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and pure cane sugar in a high speed blender. Blend on high until the sugar is completely dissolved. Store in fridge.
- For best results: Use a kitchen scale to weigh the sugar and pomegranate juice (250 grams each) instead of using measuring cups. Add 1 oz pomegranate molasses and 1 tsp orange blossom water to the blender before blending to give the grenadine better depth and more pronounced floral notes.
- Bonus tip: If you plan on using your grenadine over an extended period of time (more than a couple of weeks), add 1/2 oz vodka to the recipe and it will stay fresh longer.
- 2 oz applejack
- .75 oz grenadine
- .75 oz fresh squeezed/strained lemon juice
- 1 dash angostura bitters
- Combine all in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake hard for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe glass or over one extra large ice cube. Garnish with rose buds.