This ruby red syrup is key to making a wide range of drinks.

It's likely that you've sipped on grenadine, even if you didn't realize it at the time. This bright red syrup is a key ingredient for adding a little tartness and lot of sweetness to cocktails (and mocktails) of all types, from the classy hurricane to a kid-friendly Shirley Temple. But what exactly is this mystery ingredient? We'll break down everything you need to know about grenadine syrup.

What Is Grenadine?

Originally, grenadine was made with a base of pomegranate juice, which is how it got its name — the French word for pomegranate is grenade. Pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice are the three main ingredients of homemade grenadine syrup, creating the perfect balance of tart and sweet.

Store-bought grenadine on the other hand is usually made with little more than high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and red food coloring. This combination means that store-bought syrups are more heavy-handed with the sweetness and don't have the same complex flavors that would come from making homemade grenadine syrup with fruit juices.

How to Use Grenadine Syrup

A fixture at bars, grenadine is used in most tropical or fruity cocktails to give an extra boost of sweetness and bright color. Some common drinks that use grenadine include tequila sunrise, hurricane, and Bahama mama.

But this versatile ingredient isn't just limited to alcoholic beverages. It's also a popular choice for mixing up mocktails. Grenadine is featured in many kid-friendly drinks like Shirley Temple or cherry limeade.

Stylish glass of delicious pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds and tropical leaf on the dark table against grey background
Credit: Viktoriia Oleinichenko / Getty Images

Can I Make Grenadine at Home?

Grenadine is incredibly easy to whip up at home. A basic grenadine recipe is one-part pomegranate juice to two-parts granulated sugar. The mixture is dissolved together in a saucepan, and once it's cool and bottled, you're ready to get started mixing.

If you like a grenadine that has a more tart bite, feel free to add a dash of fresh lemon juice to-taste to your syrup mixture.

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