Grenadine is used for many drinks to sweeten them up, color them or just a staple additive for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, but what exactly is it? Ask a friend and they’ll probably say it’s some type of cherry syrup.
If you’re French you’re probably saying “Duh!” because the word grenadine is a French word which means “pomegranate.” Pomegranate is a fruit… but not a cherry fruit.
“The pomegranate is native to the region from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region and the Caucasus since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Armenia, Iran, India, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona for its fruits exploited commercially as juice products gaining in popularity since 2001” (wikipedia)
Many folks just know its a sweet red syrup that is as good as, if not better than, sugar or Orgeat Syrup. Grenadine is really a pomegranate fruit, which isn’t a fruit many folks in North America probably eat on a weekly basis so we’re not all familiar with it (or how to eat it!)
Unfortunately, most grenadine recipes such as Motts popular “Rose’s” grenadine is all artificial flavors and sugar. If you’re looking for a recipe that uses some actual pomegranate you’ll want to check out Monin, which is a French brand with 10% pomegranate juice (better than nothing).
So, why is it we related grenadine to cherries? Probably because of the famous Roy Rogers cocktail, Shirley Temple, Pink Lemonade the Tequila Sunrise and, of course, “Cherry Coke” and other cherry titled sodas. I’m sure, today, the Coca-Cola company isn’t using the same grenadine recipe as local bars and restaurants do but you can see how the beverage was popularized.
There you go, all you’ll never need to know about our sweet little friend grenadine.