A glass of grenadine. Some European brands contain alcohol, making grenadine a cordial. Alcohol-free grenadine is used as a flavoring syrup in cocktails and other recipes.
Last Updated August 2011
Plus The Truth About Big Grenadine Brands
CAPSULE REPORT: What is grenadine? It should be pomegranate syrup, but large brands can be simply artificially colored and flavored high fructose corn syrup. It’s easy to make grenadine, and give it as a special gift.
First, what is grenadine?
It’s a deep red syrup used for hundreds of years to flavor and give a reddish/pink tinge to drinks and other recipes. True grenadine is made from pomegranate juice and sugar syrup. The name comes from the French grenade and the Spanish grenada, words for pomegranate.
Alas, today’s mass-marketed “grenadine” is faux grenadine, containing neither pomegranate nor sugar. A prominent brand, Rose’s Grenadine, is artificially colored and flavored high fructose corn syrup. Really! The ingredients are HFCS, water, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate (a flavor and preservative), sodium benzoate (a preservative) and the food dyes Red 40, Blue 1. How yummy (not)!
In Europe, pomegranate liqueur is also called grenadine. So if you purchase an imported brand, read the label to be sure of what you’re getting.
The origin of the syrup named grenadine is lost to history, but it most likely is not named after the Caribbean island of Grenada or the neighboring Grenadine archipelago. Pomegranates do not grow there (they need a cooler climate) and grenadine syrup was never made there as a commercial product. We can trace the route of pomegranate syrup, but not the point where it became grenadine.
Plus, pomegranate syrup (also known as pomegranate molasses) has existed for many centuries (if not millennia) in the Middle East. The fruit is native to the Iranian plateau, which comprises modern Afghanistan, the eastern part of modern Iran and the western parts of Pakistan.
Pomegranate syrup is a popular ingredient in Persian cuisine. So, at some point the syrup made from la grenade or la grenada became grenadine.
Continue To Page 2: Grenadine Recipes
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