Grenadine is a sweet and tart syrup that you can add to some alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. If you ever find yourself in a pinch because you’re running low on grenadine, you can use a grenadine substitute instead. Here are five alternatives to consider.
What Is Grenadine?
Grenadine is easy to recognize thanks to its pink or red color. It’s a popular syrup that you can add to cocktails and mixed drinks. It’s an ingredient you’ll find in Tequila Sunrise or Queen Mary cocktails. You can also enjoy grenadine by itself with some cold water and ice cubes for a refreshing drink.
Grenadine has a unique flavor. It mixes fruity flavors with sweet and tart accents that are reminiscent of cherries. However, the syrup doesn’t contain any cherries.
The word grenadine comes from the French word “grenade,” which means pomegranate. This fruit is the main ingredient used to make grenadine and it’s what gives the syrup its sweet and tart taste.
While most store-bought grenadine syrups contain high fructose corn syrup, you can make your own grenadine at home with some pomegranate and lemon juice.
You can either buy pomegranate juice or use fresh fruits and a blender to extract the juice. Making your own grenadine at home is easy, and it’s an option you should consider before you use a substitute. Even though it’s possible to use other ingredients with a similar taste and syrupy consistency, pomegranate and lemon juice will be the closest thing to grenadine.
Top 5 Grenadine Substitutes
The best Grenadine substitutes are Molasses, Raspberry syrup and Orgeat syrup. Fruit Juice and Cassis Liqueur are also good grenadine alternatives.
1. Best Grenadine Replacement for Sweet Drinks: Molasses
One of the purposes of adding grenadine to a drink is to sweeten it. It’s a nice touch that balances the strong taste of some alcoholic beverages.
Molasses is a good grenadine substitute because of its sweet taste and syrupy consistency. It will sink to the bottom of your drink just like grenadine would. It’s important if you want to get a drink with distinct color layers, like a Tequila Sunrise.
Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar-making process. Sugar manufacturers crush sugar canes or sugar beets to extract the juice. They will then boil this juice to get crystal sugar, but this process also results in molasses forming.
Molasses is rich in antioxidants, calcium, iron, selenium, and copper. It can help stabilize blood sugar levels if you’re healthy and consume it in reasonable quantities.
It’s a good grenadine syrup substitute because it’s easy to find and affordable. The main downside is that you won’t have the fruity taste of grenadine.
As an alternative, you can buy or make pomegranate molasses. It’s a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, and you can find it in specialized grocery stores.
You can also make your own with the following ingredients:
- 4 cups pomegranate juice (unsweetened)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Bring all the ingredients to a boil and let the mixture simmer for an hour. The mixture will slowly gain a syrupy consistency.
You should know that one tablespoon of molasses typically contains 15g of sugar. On the other hand, a tablespoon of grenadine contains 9g of sugar. If you’re substituting grenadine with molasses, reduce the quantity by one-third.
2. Best Option for Color and Taste: Raspberry Syrup
We like using raspberry syrup as a grenadine replacement because the color is similar. If you’re making a Russian Kiss or Gin Daisy where the pink or red color has to be there for the cocktail to be recognizable, we recommend raspberry syrup.
The consistency is similar to grenadine and you’ll get a sweet taste. However, you won’t find the tart notes that make grenadine unique. You can add a source and tart taste to your drink with a dash of lemon juice.
You can buy or make raspberry syrup. Here what you’ll need to make your own syrup:
- 1 cup raspberries
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup water
Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Wait for the sugar to dissolve and add the raspberries. Max them to create a thick mixture, and let it simmer for an hour. Filter the mixture through a cloth to remove the fruits.
You can put your own twist on this recipe by using brown sugar. It’s a type of sugar with added molasses. It’s a nice touch if you want to balance the fruity aroma of the syrup with some notes that are reminiscent of caramel or toffee.
If you’re using raspberry syrup as a substitute for grenadine, you can use similar quantities.
3. Best Grenadine Substitute for Putting a New Twist on Old Favorites: Orgeat syrup
Orgeat syrup is a popular addition to Tiki-inspired cocktails. It’s a mix of almonds, sugar, rose water, or orange blossom water. It has a sweet and nutty aroma that creates complex mixed drinks.
It’s very easy to find, but you can make your own with the following ingredients:
- 2 cups almonds
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tsp rose water or orange blossom water
Start by letting the almonds soak in water overnight. Remove their skin and blend them with the water. Drain the mixture with a cloth. Add the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. You can then add the orange blossom water or rose water and let the syrup simmer for an hour.
There are some drawbacks to using orgeat syrup as a grenadine substitute. It’s sweet, but you won’t have the same fruity and tart taste.
However, you can customize the recipe mentioned above to introduce these notes into your homemade orgeat syrup. You can experiment with citrus fruits, rhubarb, cherry, or cranberry juice to create a replacement that is closer to grenadine.
Store-bought orgeat syrup contains 9.5g of sugar in one tablespoon. It’s very close to the sugar content of grenadine syrup, and you can use similar quantities.
4.Best Budget Option to Replace Grenadine: Fruit juice
If you want to preserve the color and sweetness of grenadine but don’t mind the different consistency, fruit juice is an interesting option.
Juice is inexpensive and easy to find. Besides, you can mix different juices to create a taste you like. We recommend using the following juices as a grenadine replacement:
- Tart cherry juice is great if you enjoy the sour and tart taste of grenadine.
- Cranberry juice is a very close match in taste.
- Pomegranate juice is another excellent option since it’s the main ingredient used in grenadine.
- Raspberry juice is a good option if you want a sweet and fruity drink.
- Use lemon juice in small quantities if you want to balance the sweetness of these different juices.
The downside of using juice is that you’ll lose the syrupy consistency of grenadine. We recommend using honey or maple syrup to introduce this heavier consistency. You can get a close match by replacing the quantity of grenadine your cocktail recipe calls for with a mixture that contains 85% of juice and 15% of honey.
5. Best Grenadine Substitute for Strong Alcoholic Drinks: Cassis Liqueur
Creme de cassis or cassis liqueur is a popular after-dinner liquor. People often use it to make kir.
Creme de cassis is the result of macerating black currants. Black currants give the liquor its rich and fruity flavor. These fruits also have a tart taste that is reminiscent of grenadine. The syrupy consistency of the liquor makes it an interesting alternative to using grenadine.
However, cassis liqueur can be overly sweet and heavy. We recommend tweaking your mixed drink recipe to find a balance. You can add ingredients like lemon juice, ginger, or orange bitter to counterbalance the sweetness of cassis liqueur.
Cassis liqueur is a strong alcoholic drink. It has an ABV of 25% on average, even though this percentage can vary from one brand to another. It’s not a substitute you can use in a non-alcoholic beverage!
Using creme de cassis as a grenadine substitute will introduce more alcohol into your mixed drink. You will have to adjust the proportions of the different ingredients to avoid ending up with a drink that is too strong.
You can replace grenadine with a similar quantity of creme de cassis. However, you will have to reduce the proportions of the other alcoholic elements by around 25% to avoid ending up with a drink that is too strong. You can then add lemon juice or orange bitter to taste.
Grenadine is a fun addition to any mixed drink with its sweet, fruity, and sour taste. If you’re out of grenadine syrup, we recommend making your own with some pomegranate and lemon juice.
You can also tweak the recipe of your favorite cocktails and use a grenadine substitute. We think that pomegranate molasses is one of the closest options that exist.
If you don’t mind modifying the taste of your mixed drink, you can use other substitutes like raspberry syrup, orgeat syrup, or a mix of fruit juice. If you want to make a strong drink, cassis liqueur is an interesting substitute to explore.