Grenadine is a non-alcoholic pomegranate syrup that is tart and sweet with a deep red color. It was originally made from reduced pomegranate juice, water, and sugar; however, most store-bought products now have additional ingredients like artificial colors, sodium benzoate, and corn syrup. A shot of grenadine is commonly used in cocktails to make popular drinks like a Tequila Sunrise, Singapore Sling, and Shirley Temple. The syrup can also be used to flavor sweets and slushies.
If you can't get your hands on a bottle of grenadine, then you're going to need to find an alternative. We've come up with a list of our favorite grenadine substitutes so that you can finish that cocktail or sweet treat without it. Let's dive in and take a look at your options.
What is a suitable grenadine substitute?
If you need a replacement for grenadine, then the best option is to make a homemade version by reducing pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice in a pan until it reaches a thicker syrupy consistency. If you prefer an off-the-shelf alternative to grenadine then either pomegranate molasses, raspberry syrup, cranberry juice cocktail, or pomegranate juice will work well. Although they have subtle differences, they'll fit into most cocktails and dessert recipes.
Summary rating table
|Beverage||Rating||Compared to Grenadine|
|Make your own||☆☆☆☆☆||Best option, perfect replacement.|
|Pomegranate Molasses||☆☆☆☆☆||Less sweet, thicker consistency.|
|Raspberry Syrup||☆☆☆☆||Good consistency, different flavor.|
|Cranberry Juice Cocktail||☆☆☆☆||More tart, less syrupy.|
|Pomegranate Juice||☆☆☆||Thinner consistency, tarter.|
|Strawberry Daiquiri Syrup||☆☆☆||Different flavor, sweeter, thicker.|
|Cocktail Cherry Juice||☆☆☆||Different flavor, good consistency.|
|Creme de Cassis||☆☆||Alcoholic, less sweet.|
1. Make your own
The best option on this list of grenadine alternatives is to make your own at home. This recipe will allow you to make a much smaller quantity so that you're not landed with a whole bottle of grenadine which you may never use. Homemade syrup is very simple to make and requires few ingredients, so if you're after the authentic taste of grenadine then this is a recipe worth learning. It also means you get to cut out all those unwanted extra ingredients that go into commercial products.
How to make grenadine syrup
Makes: 1 cup
- 1 cup 100% unsweetened pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Add pomegranate juice and sugar to a saucepan and heat on medium-high until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
- Allow the mixture to boil for five minutes or until its consistency thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding the lemon juice. If the syrup is lacking tartness, then add a little more lemon juice.
- Using a funnel, pour the liquid into a bottle and store refrigerated for up to four weeks. If you don't have a funnel, then the syrup can be stored in an airtight container or sealable jar.
Quick tip: Remove the syrup from the heat as soon as it begins to turn syrupy. If you keep it on the heat too long crystallization will occur and you will need to start again.
2. Pomegranate molasses or concentrate
Pomegranate molasses is your best option for replacing grenadine. It is a rich and tangy juice reduction that is a syrupy, sticky consistency. Although popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, it is great for adding a hit of fruity tartness, along with a deep red color, to your next drink.
You will find pomegranate molasses doesn't have as much sweetness as grenadine which kids will surely notice in their next Shirley Temple. To fix this, add a simple syrup made out of equal parts water and sugar, boiled until syrupy.
Other differences you may notice are that pomegranate molasses has a stronger, tarter flavor to it and is thicker in consistency. However, once added to mixers or incorporated into a dessert the difference will be barely noticeable.
Use half the amount of molasses as you would grenadine and taste test, then add more if required. You can pick up a bottle from most Middle Eastern specialty stores.
3. Raspberry syrup
Raspberry syrup is a vibrant red liquid that adds a tangy and sweet flavor to any drink or food. It is an excellent substitute for grenadine if you're looking for a similar color, texture, and tartness. It provides the taste of raspberry which many people may prefer.
Raspberry syrup can be used in equal quantities as grenadine when cooking food and mixing beverages. If you can't find it at your local supermarket then take a trip to your local liquor store and it is almost certain to be stocked there. Another similar option you may want to try is red currant syrup which provides similar benefits except that it has a red currant flavor.
4. Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Cranberry juice cocktail from concentrate can be bought in bottles from the supermarket and is usually a mix of cranberry juice concentrate, corn syrup or sugar, ascorbic acid, and water. This product is sweeter than regular cranberry juice – a delicious blend of tart and sweet. It is made for mixing into cocktails and does a similar job to grenadine syrup, providing a burst of red color and a syrupy consistency.
Cranberry juice cocktail will bring a new flavor to your drinks and food. As you'd expect, instead of pomegranate, you're going to get the taste of cranberries. The taste you'll get from using this replacement will be a little tarter but the flavor profile isn't overly different.
Use half the amount that you would grenadine and perform a taste test. Make sure that whatever you're flavoring isn't getting overwhelmed by tart cranberry flavor.
5. Pomegranate juice
The use of unsweetened pomegranate juice makes sense for those that are trying to reduce their sugar intake. This substitution has no added sugar and has a more natural, fresher taste of pomegranate.
The key difference with using this option is the reduction in sweetness. Cocktails won't have that same pleasant sweetness that you would expect. If you're trying to mimic the original taste, then you'll need to add a sweetener. For every teaspoon of grenadine use two to three teaspoons of pomegranate juice. To use the juice in baking, you'll want to reduce the other liquid's in the recipe to keep the ratios correct.
6. Strawberry Daiquiri Syrup
Strawberry daiquiri syrup is a premixed beverage used to make strawberry daiquiris. Essentially it is strawberry juice combined with sugar, used to bring fruity flavor to drinks.
Its consistency is much thicker than grenadine and you're going to get less tart flavor and a different taste than pomegranate. But if you're looking for something sweeter and less tart than pomegranate, this is a good option. It is ideal for cocktails or even smoothies.
7. Cocktail cherry juice
Cocktail cherry juice is an easy to find product in most supermarkets. It is a refreshing juice that has a concentrated cherry flavor with hints of sweetness and sourness. You can use this beverage in homemade summer drinks as well as sweet dishes. Desserts, puddings, pies, and cakes all taste delicious made with this juice. Give it a try in classic cocktails like the Mimosa, Fuzzy Navel, or Manhattan and you won't be disappointed.
8. Creme de Cassis
Creme de Cassis can be used to replace grenadine syrup for a less sweet choice. Rather than being a syrup, it is a liqueur so you will be increasing the alcohol in your drink. Creme de Cassis is a dark liqueur that is mildly sweet and has the taste of blackcurrants. If you use this option to replace grenadine, then start out using half the amount and increase if necessary.
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If you are looking for a grenadine substitute, then your best option is to make your own at home. A few minutes boiling pomegranate juice with sugar and lemon juice will result in a delicious, natural alternative to the store-bought product. For those short on time, you can use pomegranate molasses, raspberry syrup, or cranberry juice cocktail as your next best options. In most cocktails and dessert recipes you will barely notice the difference.
Do you have a secret ingredient that you can recommend for replacing grenadine? Please let us know in the comments below and we will test it out.