Grenadine sounds like a feminist punk band or a cult movie featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman. Hard-edged and serious, right? Unfortunately, that's not even close to what grenadine actually is. What is grenadine? It's just the cherry-red mixer from your childhood Shirley Temples (*sigh*). However, it's still a tasty additive that turns drinks from meh to holy sh*t!  – any drink can be loaded with sugar and red dye, but grenadine is a peculiar and seriously good mixer.

What Is Grenadine?

Mackenzie Patel

It took some hunting down (it wasn’t sold at my Target), but I snagged a fancy bottle of Barsmith’s Grenadine from Total Wine. $25 and a stringent ID check later (I also purchased Tanqueray), and my quest for grenadine knowledge was on its way to Mordor.

Although grenadine’s bright coloring is reminiscent of cherries, it's comprised of pomegranate extract and sugar. Once those ingredients are simmered together (other fruits like pineapple and mango can be added), the syrup forms a thick and aromatic base for alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Similar syrups used for mixing include Elderflower, peach, and tonic. 

Best Grenadine Cocktails

juice, sweet, cocktail
Keni Lin

Grenadine and alcohol are a power couple: timeless, undisputed, and well-respected. The most famous grenadine cocktails include Hurricanes, Tequila Sunrises, Singapore Slings, and Jack Roses (featured in my favorite novel, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway).

I also discovered a recipe for a Gin Daisy, a cocktail comprised of gin, grenadine, club soda, lemon, and mint. However, the possibilities for grenadine are infinite, and it tastes just as sublime with gin as it would with vodka, rum, or tequila.

Other Ways To Use Grenadine

Mackenzie Patel

Although Shirley Temple is the obvious answer, grenadine is used in a slew of other drinks and foods. Giada De Laurentiis has a killer grenadine iced tea that’s perfect for a sober summer night. And who says grenadine is confined to liquids alone? Real Food by Dad has a recipe for Tequila Sunrise popsicles featuring grenadine, and Dr. Gateau whips up grenadine and cherry red velvet cupcakes.

And if you’re craving a jelly terrine, I found a recipe that incorporates Schweppes club soda and grenadine. Although grenadine leans towards the sweet instead of the savory, shock your palette and sneak grenadine into a meat glaze or salad vinaigrette.

An A+ Mixer

Mackenzie Patel

My alcohol bucket list is already lengthy, but the addition of grenadine will make that novel a few pages longer. Blood red and sweet, it masks the intensity of gin or the abrasiveness of tequila, making adult drinkers feel a little more childlike. There’s also an indie band named Grenadine, so rock out to Mexico Big Sky or This Girl’s In Love With You while you’re getting blitzed.