{drink week} Homemade Grenadine

Editor’s Note: This edition of drink week continues with Gina’s cocktails-of-the-past-journey, where she shows us how to make the non-alcoholic Grenadine from scratch, for both alcoholic & non-alcoholic drink creations! Gina kicks-in a Black Currant Syrup variation (YES!). Thanks Gina, I have thoroughly enjoyed your trip down cocktail history! -Christina

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When I was testing out the old timey cocktails, I had to get some grenadine syrup for one of the experiments, the Dulchin. Grenadine gets its name from the french word for pomegranate, as it was a super sweet syrup made from its juice. To my consternation, the stuff that is labeled “Grenadine”  with the cute retro style letters and found in the drinky section of the supermarket had no discernable pomegranate at all.  The first ingredient on the list was corn syrup.  The rest of the ingredients were a bunch of other non-real-pomegranate dreck, plus lots of food coloring. And it wasn’t exactly super cheap, several bucks for a skimpy little bottle- of corn syrup!  The cheapest of cheap sweeteners! An outrage!

Luckily, I found a solution – make my own.

Even more luckily, I found a super easy way to make it, so no problem. I got the idea from here, and tweaked the sugar and recommended options to my own taste, and omitted any added alcohol.  It is *full* of sugar.  Sugary sugar, the sugariest of all, so if you’re anti-sugar, um, sorry?

RECIPE: HOMEMADE GRENADINE
{the easy peasy version}

INGREDIENTS
2 cups 100% pomegranate juice (I used Pom)
2 cups white sugar
Optional: orange blossom water, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon, per your taste

METHODS
Heat the pomegranate juice to very-hot-but-not-boiling.  I used a microwave with the juice in a glass container.  Add the sugar, and stir thoroughly til it’s no longer gritty.  Add the optional 1/2-1 teaspoon of orange blossom water once it’s all mixed and cooled – start with the small amount, and taste before going up to a full teaspoon.  You’re going for thick but not corn-syrupy, and by not boiling it down to reduce it, the color stays nice and dark red, not dead and sludgey brown.  My kids liked it for adding to seltzer, and it would work with ginger ale for a Shirley Temple too.

Another variation which could be used in place of grenadine and its pomegranate base is to use black currant juice, like this:

RECIPE: EASY BLACK CURRANT SYRUP

INGREDIENTS
2 cups black currant nectar (I source mine locally at Dnipro European Grocery)
2 cups white sugar

METHODS
Heat the nectar til it’s very hot-not-boiling in a microwave, and add the sugar, stirring until it’s all mixed in.  I don’t add anything else to this at all, and it’s super sweet and delicious.

OPTION #1: It makes a fun change from the usual grenadine for non-alcoholic drinks like the Shirley Temple.
OPTION #2: You could also add it to champagne or sparkling wine for a similar-but-not-exactly version of the Kir Royale cocktail.

Both syrups keep well at room temp, but you can refrigerate them too – there may or may not be crystallization over time, but in our house they get used up so quickly I’ve never had a chance to find out.

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