If you’re like me, the grenadine you grew up adding to cocktails and Shirley Temples is nothing like the real deal. Thinking I was resigned to the artificially colored and flavored brand-that-shall-remain-nameless, I usually skipped over any type of drink that called for grenadine, opting for drinks that weren’t as sweet and syrupy.
This all changed when I actually discovered what grenadine was and how truly simple it is to make.
I could fill up an entire blog about the historial importance of pomegranates, but I wouldn’t know where to start. Suffice it to say that one of the oldest fruits on earth make the absolute best syrup–a taste that lives between tart and sweet, not unlike citrus.
And the recipe? Extract the juice of a pomegranate, add sugar and reduce over heat. That’s it.
(Well, it sounds easy, but wait till you have a case of pomegranates and you’re up to your eyeballs in exploding arils and your forearms are stained hot pink. It takes effort. Now it makes sense why the French and Spanish called it “grenadier” and “Grenada”, and where the world “grenade” came from.)
You can find the juice already bottled, but I swear it just doesn’t taste the same as freshly squeezed/abused/fought-over/pressed/stepped on pomegranate juice. Sure, you’ll save yourself some headache, but you’ll deny yourself pretty pink fingers.
Basic Grenadine Recipe
Because I like the tartness of pomegranates I usually go easy on the sugar, or I omit the sugar completely when making a reduction. This allows me to use my syrup not only in cocktails but as a dressing or marinade for savory recipes. It can also be made with honey.
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup sugar (or less if you prefer it not so sweet)
Bring juice to a simmer over medium heat and cook until reduced by half. Reduce heat and add sugar, stirring constantly until it dissolves, about 2 or 3 minutes. Allow liquid to cool completely and then refrigerate. It should last about 1 week.
Footnote: Because I still have pomegranates I will experiment with different juice extraction methods like a food processor and boiling the arils – I’ll post the results shortly. It will no doubt be cleaner and neater than by hand but will deny me the opportunity to run through the house covered in pom juice screaming as if I have been injured. This drama queen seizes every opportunity for flamboyance.