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Make it yourself: Grenadine

POM Wonderful Juice turned out to be the perfect juice.
POM Wonderful Juice turned out to be the perfect juice.

  Photo ©A. Gallatin 2009

For some reason, some bartenders will scoff at using store bought bar syrup (see my homemade recipe here) while they are standing within feet of a bottle of store bought Grenadine. What a contradiction.

In an attempt to inspire bartenders and home drink mixers to make their own grenadine, I took lead from Paul over at The Cocktail Chronicles and had my own grenadine taste test.

Grenadine, real grenadine, is made from pomegranates, so my fresh-food-only mind led me to believe that making grenadine from fresh pomegranates would produce the tastiest results. But in this case, the extra work actually produces an inconsistent and hard-to-perfect result.

I, along with a few other Austin bartenders, compared our three homemade grenadines against Stirrings Authentic Grenadine--which is made from concentrated pomegranate juice and is usually a huge crowd pleaser. 

In both the straight taste test and the mixed drink taste test (we made whiskey daisies), there was a clear winner, although second place, while quite different, was delicious in its own way. 

Here are our results! (Need a visual? Check out this slideshow.)

First Place: No-cook Grenadine using pomegranate juice from concentrate

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (I used POM)
  • 1 cup plus 1-2 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 oz vodka (optional)

Combine juice and 1 cup of sugar in a good-sized jar and shake, shake, shake until all the sugar is dissolved. Add 1-2 ounces more of sugar and repeat. Add vodka (if using) and store in the fridge. Will keep for several weeks w/ vodka, for about a week without. 

Note: We chose this recipe because it produced a light and refreshingly sweet flavor, but also because it was really easy to make. You should try the second place recipe and compare.  

Second Place: Cooked Grenadine using POM juice

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 oz vodka (optional)

Bring juice to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Let the juice simmer until it has reduced by half. Stir in 1 cup sugar until it has dissolved. Let it cool, add vodka if using, cover and store in the fridge. Will keep for several weeks with vodka, for about a week without.

Note: This recipe is delicious, but it does have a "cooked fruit" taste that a lot of people don't like. If you feel like the first recipe doesn't have a strong enough pomegranate flavor, you can make a small batch of this recipe and mix it in with the first.

(Distant) Third Place: Cooked Grenadine using pomegranate seeds

  • 2 1/4 pounds pomegranates
  • 1 pint water
  • sugar (less than a pint)
  • 1 oz vodka (optional)

Empty pomegranate seeds into a pan and cover with a pint of water. Simmer for five minutes. Pour liquid through a cheese cloth lined sieve and squeeze out any remaining juice. Measure the pomegranate liquid and add the same amount of sugar. In the same pan, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and then add 1 oz vodka if using. Store in the refrigerator. Will keep for several weeks with vodka, for about a week without. 

Note: This recipe is really easy to overcook, at which point it tastes terrible, but it's worth a try. I still feel like it's cheaper, easier, and yummier to just use the already prepared juice.