Sugar + Water + Pomegranate Juice + Heat
The formula for this home bar staple is simple. A deep garnet-colored syrup with the distinctive tart/sweet flavor of pomegranate, grenadine is really just a slightly fancier cousin of simple syrup that has earned a name all its own.
Used in cocktails for its attractive color as much as its fruity flavor, grenadine lends a vivid blush to classics such as the Monkey Gland and the Hurricane, as well as that non-alcoholic favorite, the Shirley Temple, but is probably most famous for its role in the dramatic garnet/orange/yellow layers of the Tequila Sunrise.
While ready-made bottled versions of grenadine are available at most grocery stores, there are also a couple of quick and simple DIY options.The fastest, freshest of these is the no-cook method. If you already have a batch of simple syrup on hand, this one can be mixed up in seconds flat:
DIY Grenadine Syrup #1: Uncooked Method (adapted from Gary Regan, The Joy of Mixology)
makes 4 ounces
3 ounces pomegranate juice (fresh is preferable (Gary Regan suggests using a levered citrus juicer for this), but an unsweetened commercial brand such as Pom may also be used)
1 ounce simple syrup
Mix ingredients together and store refrigerated in a tightly-lidded jar.
Upside: Quick, easy, and because the juice never gets heated in this recipe, the full, crisp flavor of the pomegranate is preserved.
Downside: With no heat used, this recipe never really achieves the viscosity of a true syrup. The resulting product is much more watery and juicelike - although this isn't really an issue in most cocktail recipes.
DIY Grenadine Syrup #2: Cooked Method (adapted from Food & Wine’s Cocktails 2008)
makes 8 ounces
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice (see Recipe #1 above)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Simmer juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (approximately 15 minutes). Store refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Upside: Syrup achieves full "syrupiness" and so can be used poured over ice cream and other desserts as well a cocktails.
Downside: More labor-intensive. Some of the fresh tang of the fruit is lost.
Have you ever used fresh pomegranate or grenadine syrup in a cocktail?
Related: DIY Simple Syrup
(Images: Nora Maynard)