How To Make Homemade Grenadine

The stuff lurking on your cocktail shelf is an imposter

You may know grenadine as the bright-red syrup that added excitement to the family dinners of your childhood—who could ever forget the perfectly effervescent taste of an ice-cold Shirley Temple?

Secret's out: Those sugary elixirs were most likely maraschino cherry juice, not grenadine. And most so-called grenadine that's sold in stores consists of nothing more than corn syrup, red food dye and citric acid.

Real-deal grenadine is actually made from pomegranates, and small-batch purveyors have made the product somewhat easy to attain. However, it's infinitely more cost effective to make your own; of all the liqueurs, syrups and mix-ins needed to stock a home bar, grenadine is the easiest one to throw together from scratch. 

A simple syrup at its core, grenadine employs the typical two-ingredient one-to-one ratio most simple syrup recipes follow. Here's how to do it.

For a small batch of syrup, add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of unsweetened 100 percent pomegranate juice to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture well until the sugar has totally dissolved. 

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the syrup until it's slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer to a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

The simple ratio makes scaling batches up or down a cinch. It's also just as easy to adjust the recipe to your own tastes: For a bit more zing, just reduce the amount of sugar or add a squeeze of citrus juice to the cooling syrup. From there, you can add even more flair, like rose or orange-blossom water.

Margaret Lunetta is an NYC-based freelance video producer, editor and writer with a focus on capturing food, drinks and travel. Follow her on Instagram at @margaretlunetta.