Jeffrey Morgenthaler's DIY Grenadine

February 19, 2014

Every week -- often with your help -- Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: A wholesome, 4-ingredient DIY grenadine for better drinks at home -- plus a gutsy technique for juicing a pomegranate without seeding first. This one's for you, Shirley. 

DIY Grenadine from Food52

Shop the Story

I bet just about every one of us has happy childhood memories of Shirley Temples; of sweet, sharp fizz and glee; of feeling both childish and adult; of coveting cherries. There were never enough cherries.

How sad that none of the ingredients live up to our adult standards -- literally not a one: ginger ale or 7-up, maraschinos the color of your 80s culottes, and tinted high fructose corn syrup masquerading as grenadine. Did you know grenadine is supposed to be pomegranate syrup, after grenade, the French word for the fruit? Neither did I.

DIY Grenadine from Food52

So if you knew how outrageously easy it is to make your own -- real, delicious, pomegranate -- grenadine, you'd be drinking a lot more Shirley Temples. And pink, but classy, cocktails. Maybe even Tequila Sunrises. (No? Okay.)

This recipe comes from Jeffery Morgenthaler -- one of the best mixologists (and drinks bloggers) in the country -- and has 4 ingredients. You could have made it just now instead of reading the last 3 paragraphs (sorry).

Jeffrey Morgenthaler

"I developed the recipe in response to what I saw as so many other bartenders over-thinking the syrup and using all sorts of bizarre ingredients, strange techniques, and other odd methods," Morgenthaler told me.

There are a couple ways to go about it. At the low-investment end of the spectrum, you can buy a bottle of 100% pomegranate juice. 

Then making grenadine is only a matter of warming up the juice, stirring in some raw sugar, pomegranate molasses, and orange flower water -- which, if your pantry is well-stocked, you probably already have. If not, hit up Whole Foods, your local Middle Eastern market, or the internet.

More: See what else you can do with that bottle of pomegranate molasses.

DIY Grenadine from Food52

If you want to go even more DIY, you can juice your own pomegranates. There are a number of ways you can do this -- but most involve plucking the arils from their spongy catacombs first, then blending and straining. As Louisa Shafia writes in The New Persian Kitchen, "The successful accomplishment of this operation is a topic shrouded in mystery and confusion."

DIY Grenadine from Food52  DIY Grenadine from Food52

Instead, you can do as Morgenthaler does, and just juice the whole lot in your juicer -- if it fits a half a grapefruit, it fits a half a pomegranate.

DIY Grenadine from Food52

You might have one of these fancy contraptions, or you might just have a small manual version. Either will work.

DIY Grenadine from Food52  DIY Grenadine from Food52

Some arils will fall away unbreached, but just pass it all through a strainer, crushing any lingering juice out with the back of a sturdy spoon. Put on an apron (or wear black) to be safe, but juicing a halved pomegranate is surprisingly contained.

Choose your juicing method depending on your constitution and what sorts of kitchen chores you like best. (And if you don't like any, revisit option 1 above.) I'd rather mash fruit and watch a river of juice stream out than get out my blender; you might feel differently.

DIY Grenadine from Food52  DIY Grenadine from Food52 DIY Grenadine from Food52  DIY Grenadine from Food52

That's it -- you have homemade grenadine. Stir it into sparkling water, pour it over ice cream and yogurt and cake, explore your bar. 

It would take longer to walk down the aisle in the liquor store to find bad grenadine than it does to make the good stuff from scratch. And you will have a batch that will last you for a very long time, unless you have a household that's particularly fiendish for Zombie Punch. 

Put the rest in your fridge. Stock up on cherries.

DIY Grenadine from Food52

Jeffrey Morgenthaler's DIY Grenadine

Adapted slightly from Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups fresh pomegranate juice (two to four large pomegranates) or 100% pomegranate juice like POM Wonderful
2 cups unbleached sugar
2 fluid ounces (1/4 cup) pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thanks to Food52er rsimpson3 for this one!

Photos by James Ransom

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • sleepylopy
  • davidpdx
  • rsimpson3
  • Perry TheFoodie
    Perry TheFoodie
  • Lizzz
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


sleepylopy March 3, 2014
I have also found my homemade grenadine to be a great addition to brighten up a vinaigrette!
davidpdx February 23, 2014
Just made a batch this weekend. Wonderfully tasty stuff. Much more complex than store-bought grenadine. Thanks for the article and the recipe.
rsimpson3 February 21, 2014
With regard to the indignation of some over adding pomegranate molasses to grenadine: If fresh taste were the sole criteria for everything, we'd never age beef, wine, scotch or bourbon. When it comes to making cocktails, freshness is key when it comes to souring modifiers such as citrus juices but virtually never when it comes to sweetening agents.

As far as making your own goes, the cost of pomegranates makes that very expensive. Buying a good brand of pomegranate molasses such as Cortas is much cheaper and just as tasty.

I'd also add that if you are going to use purchased pomegranate juice rather than squeezing your own, make sure you buy refrigerated juice such as Pom Wonderful rather than the shelf-stable stuff, if color is important to you. A Jack Rose should be rose colored, not some dark shade of purple (not a Shirley fan of either the drink or the person).
Perry T. February 20, 2014
This is quite simple to do, Squeeze up a little bit and you'll have your freshener cocktail in no time. Thanks for sharing your simply brilliant thoughts.

Perry here of CavaCava dot com.
Lizzz February 19, 2014
Why go through all that and then spoil the fresh taste with pomegranate molasses (even the best--Sadaf--tastes cooked) and orange flower water? Try this instead: buy frozen Pomegranate puree from The Perfect Puree (Sonoma, CA), thaw and add as much ultrafine bar sugar as will stay in solution (about 4:1). You can add a tsp of ascorbic acid if you plan to keep it for a long time (I have 3-yr old bottles that still taste fine).
And for extracting pomegranate arils--a big bowl of cold water enables you to pull the whole fruit apart underwater without getting juiced. Doesn't taste as much of the white cellulose, either!
Mark P. February 19, 2014
Here's my question. Pomegranite Molasses is (Pomegranite Juice + Sugar + Lemon Juice) Cooked Down till thick.

So why use store bought Pomegranite Molasses if you have the same ingredients on hand for the Grenadine? Wouldnt it make more sense to use more Juice + more Sugar + some Lemon and boil it down?
Kristen M. February 19, 2014
Some grenadine recipes do call for a reducing down the juice till syrupy, but it takes much longer and doesn't keep the fresh taste of the pomegranate juice. Alternately, some don't call for warming at all, but then you have to shake the juice with the sugar for a while to dissolve it. Morgenthaler developed this as sort of the best compromise, and it is super delicious -- hope you'll try it!
Philippa February 19, 2014
Philippa February 19, 2014
Charlene M. February 19, 2014
I love Jack Rudy's Small Batch Grenadine...the first ingredient is pomegranate juice. Yum!
Lizzz February 19, 2014
I tried it--disappointingly thin and very expensive!
savorthis February 19, 2014
I was just listening to an old interview with Shirley Temple wondering how one might make grenadine and here one is! I'd like to add that I was recently introduced to Luxardo Maraschino Cherries in a manhattan....and they too would certainly elevate that childhood drink.
hardlikearmour February 19, 2014
What a gorgeous version of grenadine. Jeffrey Morganthaler is a cocktail wizard -- of course I'm biased being a Portlander!!
juliaff February 19, 2014
Where can I get that beautiful glass?
Kristen M. February 19, 2014
I think they came from CB2!