It took a long time for me to warm up to grenadine as a cocktail ingredient, after a childhood chock full of bright red Rose’s Grenadine Shirley Temples.
But now I know how many great cocktails include grenadine. A couple of personal favorites are the El Presidente and the Blinker. And now that I know how easy it is to make my own grenadine, I’ll never go back to Rose’s.
Like many a first time grenadine maker, I started with Paul Clarke’s epic Grenadine Face-off. The first time I make cold process grenadine, I shook and shook and shook…and finally gave up and used the blender. The results were fine.
Now I use my handy dandy milk frother, and it’s even faster, cleaner, and easier.
1 cup pomegranate juice (I used some POM Wonderful that was sent to me for review)
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vodka
Put juice and sugar in a conveniently sized resealable container. Take your milk frother and incorporate the sugar. Add vodka to extend life. Refrigerate. Will keep a good long time.
Where Rose’s doesn’t taste much like anything but sugar to me, the homemade has the the taste of the pomegranate juice and a much richer, deep color to boot.
The best grenadine I’ve had to date was an experiment by Zane Harris (newly of Rob Roy), based on a recipe he’d uncovered that called for both pomegranate and raspberry. His process was long and complicated and someday I may try it, but for now, I’ll stick with a recipe that I can whip up even faster than simple syrup (because I don’t have to wait for it to cool).
I used my latest batch to try out a recipe in Ted Haigh’s newly reissued Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, the Have a Heart. I dropped the lime juice to 1/2 ounce, adding a lime wedge garnish lets the drinker decide to tart it up.
Have a Heart Cocktail
1.5 ounces London dry gin (Voyager Small-batch)
0.75 ounces Swedish punsch (homemade)
0.5 ounces fresh lime juice
0.25 ounces homemade grenadine
Stir while thinking weepy 1934 thoughts, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with lime wedge.
As in the picture above, the cocktail on the left uses Rose’s, on the right, homemade. The fake color of the Rose’s carries through to the cocktail, while the homemade contributes to a drink with a much deeper, appealing, adult color.
Even more important is the taste. I didn’t care for this cocktail with the Rose’s. With the homemade grenadine, however, this is a tasty, well rounded drink.
I must admit, I also love using my homemade grenadine in homemade Shirley Temples. Fill a rocks glass with ice, some soda water, and spoon in up to a tablespoon of grenadine, and I have a light, refreshing drink that’s just sweet enough. And it’s a great base to experiment with bitters! I especially recommend a dash or four of blueberry bitters!
What’s your favorite way to use grenadine?