Grenadine is one of the most common flavorings you in find mixology. But for some reason it’s hard to come across. I don’t mean you can’t find a bastardized brand of red syrup sold under the name of grenadine. But grenadine– at least to my way of thinking– it ain’t. Because virtually every commercial brand you will find contains little if any pomegranate juice.
Good grenadine is made from pomegranate juice, and not much else. Fortunately it’s quite easy to make your grenadine at home.
Pour two cups of fresh squeezed, or high quality purchased, 100% pomegranate juice into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by half. Stir in one cup of sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow it to come to room temperature. If you’re not going to use it all right away, add about 1 ounce of vodka as a preservative.
Naturally I had to try my hand at making grenadine at home. The top and bottom photos are the result of my experiment. I’m proud to say that the resulting syrup is far more intense and flavorful than anything you can buy. Or maybe I should say, anything you can buy today. Because coincidentally I came across a sort of buried treasure recently. The treasure is really old grenadine. It was buried in the back of my partner Ken’s parent’s liquor cabinet. It’s a completely full bottle and it’s been buried there more than thirty years. My snooping also uncovered some beautiful old cut glass martini stems, but that’s for another day and another post.
You see I’m in Seattle staying with Ken’s mom. Naturally I just had to snoop through the liquor cabinet because every time I do I find a treasure.
Ken’s parents have really good taste and have for a really long time. But they were not big drinkers I guess. Because there are quite a few nearly full bottles of all sorts of top shelf whiskey. All of which seem to have been purchased for special occasions in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Most of them had been sampled once or twice and then buried in this treasure trove I keep referring to.
The last time I was in Seattle I swiped the last few shots of a quality cognac that had been sitting in that cabinet at least as long as the grenadine. So I don’t know how I overlooked the grenadine on my previous foray. But fortunately it was there, dusty shoulders and all waiting for me this time. The coincidence is quite strong don’t you think? I mean I made my homemade version before I came to Seattle and discovered this neglected sweetie.
Still I have to admit to some trepidation. Grenadine is not quite the same as really old cognac. I wondered if it would still be good. Can grenadine rot? So I checked out the label. It said this bottle of grenadine was listed as 5 proof. Strong enough to be considered a liqueur to my way of thinking. 2.5% alcohol is enough alcohol that I felt it was probably safe to try a little sip. So I did and I’ve lived to tell the tale! GREG