Pretty Dishes

Homemade Grenadine
February 9, 2011, 7:36 pm
Filed under: City Arts, Recipes

My final City Arts assignment (more on that below) was a festive cocktail. As I took stock of the ingredients on hand, I noticed that my longtime bottle of Rose’s grenadine only had a few drops left, so I decided to research a from-scratch recipe. Turns out, making grenadine at home is quite simple. In theory, anyway.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I always thought grenadine syrup was made from cherries. I guess I should say I thought it used to be made from cherries considering how it is now often made exclusively with high-fructose corn syrup and red dye. Never mind that I didn’t realize the name comes from the French word for “pomegranate.” I suppose I can consider that mystery solved.

As I was saying about it being simple . . . have you ever tried to juice and seed a fresh pomegranate? Be prepared to stain every surface and item of clothing in any proximity to the sticky deep red juice that comes dribbling out as you struggle to gently remove all of the arils from the white membranes surrounding them on every side. It’s no easy task.

That being said, I do think it is worthwhile, especially when pomegranates are in season (fall/winter) and on sale. When you consider that true pomegranate grenadines (not those made of corn syrup) typically cost $8 to $20 per 12-ounce bottle, homemade is much cheaper and fresher. The flavor and consistency is virtually identical to store-bought, only better, so you’re sure to be pleased with the results. The downside is that even when making a small batch, it’s hard to use it all up before it expires unless you are hosting a few cocktail parties (or are a heavy Shirley Temple drinker!). Perhaps the better way to look at it is this: making grenadine at home provides the perfect excuse to have a group of friends over for drinks.

Homemade Grenadine

This recipe yields 2 cups grenadine.

1 pound pomegranate (about 1 large)
1 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 to 2 cups granulated sugar

Separate the pomegranate juices and seeds from the membranes and skin. (Be careful—this can get very messy and the juices will stain.) In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, cover the juice and seeds with the water and bring to a simmer, stirring until the arils release their juices, about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-layered sieve into a bowl, pressing the juice from the seeds. Discard the seeds.

Return the strained juice to the saucepan and stir in 1 3/4 cup of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until desired consistency. Cool to room temperature. Pour into a decorative bottle with an airtight stopper or a Mason jar with lid and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

So I originally prepared and photographed these grenadine and cocktail recipes for the City Arts blog for a holiday drink piece. However, as is often the case, the holidays were busy and time got away, and it didn’t really make sense to post them after the fact. Plus, at about that same time, City Arts brought on a dedicated food writer to contribute to the print magazine, which meant my contributions to the blog would come to an end (for a cohesive focus). The shooting practice and recipe-testing experiences over the past year have been excellent, so I certainly can’t complain!

Since this beverage was intending to be served at Christmas parties, it’s red, bubbly, and named accordingly. However, it seemed appropriate to repurpose the recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day, for similar reasons, and not the least of which because pomegranates (if you make homemade grenadine) are said to be an aphrodisiac. Why not share this cocktail with a loved one this year? In honor of this holiday reassignment, I have renamed the recipe accordingly. Instead of a Bubbly Poinsettia (its original title), let’s go with the über-cliché “Love Potion.” If you really want to go over the top, share some chocolate truffles. Oh, yeah . . .

Love Potion

3 ounces gin
1 1/2 ounces grenadine
1 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Splash of brut champagne
2 lemon slices

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add the gin, grenadine, maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well, then strain into two flute glasses. Top with champagne and garnish with the lemon slices.


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