Grenadine is a classic sweetener found in many drinks, and often an integral flavor agent in popular cocktails. So it’s a wonder that such an essential ingredient can be so cheap, bastardized and dishonest. Once a pomegranate-based syrup, today’s grenadine is rife with high-fructose corn syrup and food coloring, a far cry from the preservative free original.
Fortunately, it’s shockingly easy to make your own grenadine. There are two popular methods to rolling your own, one that involves cooking on the stove, and one that doesn’t. I prefer the latter, and for reasons beyond sheer laziness. So if you’re up to it, grab a bottle of POM pomegranate juice, a bag of sugar and a jar.
I first attempted this endeavor by following the recipe and direction laid out by Paul Clarke of Cocktail Chronicles: Add one cup of POM pomegranate juice and one cup of granulated sugar into a jar. Shake violently until the sugar is dissolved. Add another ounce or two of sugar and once again shake with a fury. An optional step is to add an ounce of high proof vodka or grain alcohol to act as a preservative.
The end result is a bright, fresh grenadine readily able to sweeten up your drink without the artificial cloying flavor of commercial grenadines. And depending on your personal tastes, you can add more or less sugar and/or pomegranate juice to achieve your desired sweetness.
I added my homemade grenadine to an El Presidente and Scofflaw, and was pleased with the results of each. Give it a shot with some of your favorite cocktails to see if the homespun version trumps the store bought, and let me know what you think.