Most grenadine is crap. Grenadine from good manufacturers of other cocktail ingredients is crap. I think about Rose’s Lime and Fee’s Orange Bitters, and I do a little dance of joy (as long as I can ignore the HFCS in the Rose’s). But then I think of the same brand’s take on grenadine and I shudder.
Grenadine is supposed to be a pomegranate syrup. Seriously. If you are scratching your head and thinking, “But it doesn’t taste like pomegranate,” please reread the first paragraph.
Last week I told you about the Jack Rose cocktail. And not only is it a perfect drink for fall, but it is a serious classic cocktail in which grenadine plays a key role. So unless you know how to make grenadine at home, you are, as they say, up the creek without a paddle.
Luckily for you, I am here to help.
Luckily for me, there is the Cocktail Chronicles.
It is from these fine people that I got the base of my grenadine recipe. You will notice that Paul has two separate techniques for making grenadine.
I like to use a combination of the two, with the hot method as its base. What you want is to get the concentration and depth of flavor (from the hot), and at the same time getting some of the brightness and liveliness of the fresh juice (from the cold).
So, you still start out with two cups of pomegranate juice. Brand doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it is 100% pomegranate juice, which is different from something that just says 100% juice. There could be concentrated white grape or apple mixed into cheaper bottles that appear to be pomegranate juice, so read those labels carefully.
As slowly as you can stand, simmer the juice down to about six ounces in a heavy bottomed pan, add one cup of sugar, stir and dissolve. This is a bit more concentrated than the original recipe. After you have cooled your extra concentrated syrup, you then dilute it again with two ounces of fresh juice. Shake to combine, and you are good to go.
If you want to get fancy in the future, you can add additional seasonings to the pomegranate juice as you reduce it. Cinnamon sticks can be nice. Ginger and black pepper are also warming in a more piquant way. Or you could even add vanilla bean if you cared for something a bit on the sweeter side.
Syrups are a great fun way to put a twist on classic cocktails, and make them your own. Just be careful, because once you see how fun and easy it is to do, you may get a bit carried away. Then your refrigerator may start overflowing with syrups, and you may find yourself drinking more, just to have an excuse to make drinks with your fantastic creations. Not that this has happened to anyone I know.
Now that you know, you have no excuse for buying industrial grenadine.
And now you are ready to make the Jack Rose.
Although if we have a few more hot days, and you still have some white rum and limes left over from summer, you can also whip up a Bacardi cocktail. Don’t worry if you don’t actually have Bacardi on hand, the cocktail police are too busy elsewhere to notice.
Have a great weekend, and a very happy new year (if you are into that whole lunar calendar thing).