Who doesn’t love a good cocktail? It’s packed with flavor, it’s refreshing on a hot summer’s day, and there is virtually one for any type of person!
We’ve recently re-discovered Grenadine cocktails, which are all those containing that popular pomegranate syrup. However, as we’ve tried to get our hands on some, we realized that it is harder than you might expect.
So, what are the best substitutes to use for Grenadine? The best substitute for Grenadine is a homemade version with pomegranate juice or fresh pomegranates. You can also use pomegranate molasses, raspberry syrup, cranberry concentrate, maraschino cherry syrup, unsweetened pomegranate juice, strawberry daiquiri syrup, and crème de cassis.
Some of these substitutes have entirely different flavors but similar consistencies, so which you choose will depend entirely on what you want most: the right flavor or the right consistency.
In today’s jam-packed article, we will take a look at all things Grenadine, and the best substitutes for it. We will discuss how you can make your own, which ingredients to choose, and the benefits thereof, but we will also have a look at some pre-made substitutions.
We’ve also included a comparison chart so you can easily see what you are working with, the similarities and differences, and which recipes will work best with the substitution.
What is Grenadine?
Grenadine is an extremely well-known and popular non-alcoholic cocktail syrup made from fresh pomegranate fruits.
It has a very attractive deep red color and an almost bittersweet taste. This syrup is mostly used in cocktails or mixed drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) but also has some culinary uses.
This refreshing syrup originated in France and was originally made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and water.
Today, however, it is mostly commercially made using a mixture of primarily blackcurrant juice combined with artificial colorants and flavorings.
This is why it is extremely important to choose grenadine from a reputable supplier that produces grenadine syrup using pomegranate reductions. These pure syrups are the easiest to find in Middle Eastern food stores if you have one near you.
Grenadine Syrup Uses
Like we’ve previously mentioned, grenadine is a popular non-alcoholic cocktail syrup.
The most well-known cocktails that are made using grenadine syrup include Tequila Sunrise (or a Caribbean Sunrise), Singapore Sling, Pomegranate Margarita, the Marilyn Monroe Cocktail, or a Gin Daisy.
In Northern America, you will also find a Queen Mary, which is a mixed drink made from beer and grenadine.
There are also quite a few non-alcoholic drinks (or mocktails) made using Grenadine syrup. Shirley Temple is arguably the most popular, followed by the Roy Rogers.
When using this syrup, keep in mind its extreme sweetness. You will only need about one ounce per cocktail to create a well-balanced flavor.
Grenadine syrup can also be used in various desserts as a flavoring ingredient. We absolutely love pomegranate ice cream, grenadine cheesecakes, grenadine cupcakes, and some pomegranate soufflés. These are only a few ideas of delicious desserts you can make using this syrup.
More savory uses include basting syrups, marinade, or poaching liquid, but is also popular in many sauces for pork or lamb.
Best Substitute: DIY Grenadine Syrup
When it comes to substituting syrups or concentrates, we always prefer making our own if we cannot buy it. This is the closest substitute you will be able to find, and arguably even better than the original commercial syrup you are replacing.
The downside to making your own, especially syrups, is that it takes a little while. However, if you have time on your hands you can make a large batch in less than a day that will last you a few months.
The upside to making your own grenadine syrup is a homemade syrup without artificial colorants or flavorings, a cost-effective substitution (compared to some others), and a precise flavor that you can alter to your liking.
Ingredients for Your Homemade Grenadine Syrup
All you really need to make your syrup is granulated sugar and high-quality pomegranate juice – but there are a few options here.
Before making grenadine syrup you have to make a couple of decisions. First, you have to decide whether you want to use fresh pomegranate seeds or unsweetened pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate seeds (or fresh whole pomegranates) might be difficult to find in some places and can also be very expensive, especially for the amounts that you will need.
2 medium pomegranates (or 1 large one) will yield barely a cup of grenadine syrup and that is if you bulk it up with simple syrup. However, using fresh pomegranates will give you the best flavor, hands-down.
If you like the authentic flavor of grenadine, then don’t use the juice!
If you can only get your hands on the juice, definitely use an unsweetened version. You need to add granulated sugar to help create a syrup. Using sweet juice with extra sugar will give an extremely sweet concentrate.
Once you’ve decided on the type of pomegranate you are using, now you can decide how sweet you want your syrup to be. This is an easy element to adjust as you can simply add or take away some granulated sugar.
We recommend up to 1 cup of granulated sugar for every 1 cup of pomegranate juice, store-bought or freshly strained. You can certainly start out with much less, or none at all.
You can also add other ingredients such as a tsp of lemon juice, fresh mint, orange extract, etc. for added flavor.
How To Make Your Own Grenadine Syrup
Making this syrup at home is very simple. Here’s how to do it:
- If you are using fresh pomegranate seeds, make sure to crush them to release their juice. You can use the bottom of a cocktail shaker or muddler to do so. Once crushed, strain the juice to remove the seeds.
- Combine the pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer mixture until it reaches a nice thick consistency.
- Once thick, remove syrup from heat and add any additional ingredients like lemon juice or mint. Allow the syrup to cool completely before transferring to a glass jar and refrigerating it.
- The simmering time will depend on the amount and type of ingredients you are using. Granulated sugar helps thicken the mixture quickly, so if you aren’t using it the whole process will take a bit longer.
- If you are using bought pomegranate juice, the process will also take longer as it has a very watered-down consistency compared to fresh juice.
The Best Grenadine Substitutes
So, if you cannot find Grenadine syrup and you don’t really want to make your own, don’t fear! There are some wonderful and easy substitutions you can use. Here are some of the best:
1. Pomegranate Molasses
Pomegranate molasses is a product very similar to grenadine syrup, only slightly more bitter and tart. It also has a much thicker consistency, which you might need to change slightly for certain uses.
Pomegranate molasses is definitely your best substitution for grenadine.
Unlike regular molasses, this syrup isn’t made using sugarcane, but rather fresh pomegranates. The juice and sugar mixture are reduced even further than regular grenadine to produce an extremely thick, dark red liquid.
Because there is less sugar, the flavor of the pomegranate shines through prominently.
When using pomegranate molasses, you can add some simple syrup to help mimic the flavor of grenadine better. The simple syrup will also help thin the consistency, which will make it easier to work with.
If you want to thin the consistency without adding sweetness, simply use water.
When using pomegranate molasses, you can typically substitute it in equal parts for grenadine in drinks, desserts, or sauces. You may want to thin it down first, however, for some recipes where the exact consistency is important.
2. Raspberry Syrup
Raspberry syrup is a fantastic substitution for consistency. That being said, it has a completely different flavor profile.
Although both raspberry syrup and grenadine have sweet, fruity, and floral notes, they naturally have different flavors as they are made with different fruit.
This is great for some people as you get to experiment with new flavor combinations, but for those looking for a precise flavor substitution, maybe try something different.
When substituting grenadine with raspberry syrup, you can do so in equal parts as their consistency is the same. This applies to cocktails, baked goods, and savory recipes like sauces and marinades.
It also has a very similar bright red color, meaning you won’t have to suffer any loss of visual appeal.
Raspberry syrup is generally easier to find. You may even find it in a baking shop or liquor store in addition to your favorite grocery store.
The best recipes you can make using raspberry syrup as a substitute are sweet ones that are very fruity – ones that contain stone fruits, citrus, berries, or even rhubarb. Most nuts also pair wonderfully with raspberry, as do caramel and chocolate flavors.
3. Cranberry Concentrate
Also commonly known as cranberry juice cocktail, this syrup is much like the raspberry one. They both have similar consistencies, but very different flavors.
Cranberries have a slightly more tart flavor compared to grenadine (pomegranates) or raspberries. Hints of fruity and floral flavors still come through strongly, but the main flavor structure differs.
So, like with the raspberry syrup, many people will prefer the flavor of cranberry compared to pomegranate, but others may want a precise flavor substitution.
When choosing which syrup will go best with your savory or sweet recipe, cranberry concentrate will pair beautifully with citrus flavors (like oranges), autumn spices (allspice, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, etc.), apples, pears, quinces, and pumpkins (or squashes).
4. Maraschino Cherry Syrup
This is a fantastic substitute if you’re in a pinch. You know the candied maraschino cherries? Well, they are preserved in a sugar syrup which essentially turns into maraschino syrup.
If you don’t have anything around the house, simply strain your cherries and use their syrup as a substitution for grenadine. You can then also use the cherries as a cocktail garnish!
This syrup is sometimes a bit thicker compared to that of grenadine, but it is easily fixable by adding simple syrup or water (we would recommend water as this syrup is already extremely sweet).
This is by no means the best substitutions, but it’s not at all the worst! It is a very sweet syrup and also has maraschino cherry flavors. However, as we’ve said before, that difference in flavor and possibly sweetness will be more beneficial for some than others.
Recipes that will work well with this substitution include ones with stone fruits, melons, oranges, or lemons. Spices that work great with cherries are most autumn spices and savory herbs like sage, thyme, and coriander.
Caramel, chocolate, and vanilla are also easy pairings and so are creamy ingredients like mascarpone and crème fraîche.
5. Unsweetened Pomegranate Juice
This is another less-sweet substitution like pomegranate molasses for those who don’t love sweet sugary drinks. Unsweetened pomegranate juice has a much thinner consistency compared to syrups which is extremely important to keep in mind when using it.
It also doesn’t have a very concentrated pomegranate flavor, so you may need to add more of it or change the ratios of the recipe.
That being said, when choosing pomegranate juice, your best bet for great flavor is freshly made (not those with artificial flavors and colors).
In terms of consistency, substituting pomegranate syrup with juice in cocktails isn’t that difficult. You can add less of the bulk ingredient (the one without the main flavor, like soda water or lemonade) and more pomegranate juice.
When substituting the syrup in desserts, you might run into trouble. Desserts and baked products require precise ratios. You have to add a ton more juice to match the flavor of the syrup, but the juice will be thinner, which can really throw off the recipe.
It is usually best to choose a different substitution (preferably a syrup) for desserts and sauces.
6. Strawberry Daiquiri Syrup
This is an already established cocktail syrup used specifically for strawberry daiquiris. The reason we’ve included this syrup is that it is extremely easy to find – even easier than most of the above-mentioned substitutes.
This syrup usually has a thicker consistency and tastes very different from pomegranate. It is a bit sweeter than grenadine and much less tart, so it can make a very interesting substitution.
What also makes this substitution great is that it can go with virtually any recipe (savory, sweet, or drink). It pairs perfectly with a wide variety of fruits, spices, nuts, and other flavorings like chocolate and caramel.
You can substitute this syrup in equal parts and adjust the flavor of your recipe slightly if you feel the need to.
7. Crème de Cassis
Our last substitute of the day is another well-known alcoholic liqueur. This is a blackcurrant liqueur often used in mixed drinks.
It is less sweet compared to grenadine and richer, deeper, and more fragrant flavors. The consistency of crème de cassis is that of a liqueur, not a syrup, no your recipe might need slight alternations.
We would highly recommend using only half the called-for amount when substituting for grenadine and work your way up from there.
This blackcurrant liqueur goes great with many fruits, especially tropical ones like watermelon, mangoes, bananas, and nectarines.
You’ll want to stay away from recipes with loads of spices, nuts, and chocolate. It does pair well with vanilla, honey, caramel, and creamy ingredients.
Grenadine Substitutes Comparison [Chart]
Here is a review of all those substitutes with helpful information to know when swapping each for grenadine:
|Substitution||Flavor||Consistency||Substitution||Pairs Well With|
|Pomegranate molasses||Similar flavor (more intense) Less sweet||Thicker||Equal parts for most recipes||Citrus (Orange, Cumquat, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime) Apple, Banana, Avocado, Coconut Autumn Spices (Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg) Spices Like Cardamom, Turmeric Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Coriander) Nuts (Almond, Pine Nut, Walnut, Hazelnut) White Chocolate Honey|
|Raspberry Syrup||Different flavor||Similar||Equal||Stone Fruit (Apricot, Plum, Peach) Berries (Blackberry, Blueberry, Strawberry) Citrus (Grapefruit, Lime, Orange) Spices (Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Mint, Thyme) Nuts (Virtually All) Caramel & Chocolates Honey, Maple Syrup Vanilla|
|Cranberry Syrup||Different flavor More tart||Similar||Equal||Apples, Pears Citrus (Oranges, Lemon, Lime) Pumpkins Or Squash Quince Autumn Spices (Allspice, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves) Nuts (Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Walnuts) Honey, Maple Syrup Vanilla|
|Maraschino Cherry Syrup||Different flavor Much sweeter||Sometimes thicker consistency||Equal parts for most recipes||Stone Fruits (Apricot, Plum, Peach) Citrus (Oranges, Lemon) Melons Coconut Autumn Spices Herbs (Sage, Coriander, Thyme) Nuts (Almonds, Pecan, Pistachio, Walnut) Caramel, Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla Crème Fraiche Mascarpone|
|Unsweetened Pomegranate Juice||Similar flavor Less sweet||Much thinner||Will need to adjust the ratios of the recipes. Best used in drinks only.||Citrus (Orange, Cumquat, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime) Apple, Banana, Avocado, Coconut Autumn Spices (Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg) Spices Like Cardamom, Turmeric Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Coriander) Nuts (Almond, Pine Nut, Walnut, Hazelnut) White Chocolate Honey|
|Crème de Cassis||Different flavor (richer) Less sweet||Thinner (not syrupy, more like a liqueur)||Half||Tropical Fruits (Watermelon, Banana, Mango, Melon) Citrus (Oranges, Lemon) Berries (Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry) Stone Fruits (Peach, Plum, Apricot) Caramel, Vanilla, Honey Mascarpone Crème Fraiche|
- 2 medium pomegranates OR 1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar or less, to taste
- 1 tsp lemon juice or mint, to taste (optional)
- If you are using fresh pomegranate seeds, make sure to crush them to release their juice. You can use the bottom of a cocktail shaker or muddler to do so. Once crushed, strain the juice to remove the seeds. If using pomegranate juice, precede to step 2.
- Combine the pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan. Let the mixture simmer until it reaches a thicker, syrupy consistency.
- Once thick, remove syrup from heat. Add optional additional ingredients such as lemon juice or mint for flavor.
- Allow syrup to cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerating it.
The simmering time will depend on the amount and type of ingredients you are using. Granulated sugar helps thicken the mixture quickly, so if you aren’t using any or much the whole process will take longer.
If you are using store-bought pomegranate juice, the process will also take longer as it is more watery than fresh strained juice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 3gSugar: 39gProtein: 1g
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