Grenadine is a popular syrup used in a variety of cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, providing a sweet and tart flavor with a bright red color. On some occasions, finding a suitable grenadine substitute can be essential.
This article will explore some of the best alternatives to grenadine, along with their flavor profiles and potential uses, to help you find the perfect substitute for your next drink.
Grenadine is a syrup made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and sometimes other flavorings such as orange flower water or lemon juice.
It has a bright red color and a sweet, tangy flavor that is often used as a mixer in cocktails and mocktails.
While it is most commonly associated with the popular cocktail the “Shirley Temple,” grenadine can also be used in a variety of other drinks, such as the Tequila Sunrise and the Singapore Sling.
Some brands of grenadine may contain artificial coloring and flavorings, but there are also natural versions available made from real pomegranate juice and other natural ingredients.
Grenadine adds a lovely red hue to cocktails and mocktails. Aside from its color, grenadine also lends a distinct sweet and sour flavor. In fact, if you find a cocktail too strong for your liking, you add more grenadine, and it will taste more palatable.
You can find grenadine in grocery and liquor stores. The commercial version has high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, flavoring, and coloring.
If you don’t like those ingredients, opt for homemade grenadine syrup instead.
Here are our top 8 options if you are looking for a grenadine substitute.
The best grenadine replacement is pomegranate juice. After all, this fruit juice is the base for this cocktail syrup.
There will be no noticeable change in flavor. It’s sweet and tart by itself, and it’s natural.
Tips: Add simple syrup to thicken pomegranate juice and make it sweeter. Use in a 1:1 substitution ratio.
Combining unsweetened pomegranate juice and sugar gives you a quick homemade grenadine syrup.
It may be less thick and syrupy in texture, but the natural fruity flavor is there. And the additional sugar brings it closer to the commercial version regarding sweetness.
Tips: Add lemon juice for a closer flavor match to store-bought grenadine syrup. Use the same amount of this combination to replace an equal amount of grenadine.
Fruit juice can also serve as a substitute for grenadine. However, do note that these juices will not have a syrupy consistency.
And if you’re making something like Tequila Sunrise, you won’t get the same effect.
If sticking to the pomegranate taste is not your priority, cherry juice can step in for grenadine. It has a similar color, so you won’t have to worry about appearance.
And while cherry juice is intensely sweet, it does come with a woody flavor and an almond aroma.
Tips: Use a 1:1 ratio of cherry juice to grenadine if you want a fresh twist on your drink. Add a dash of lemon juice to balance the sweetness.
Another great grenadine substitute is raspberry juice. Similarly deep red but not as dense, this fruit juice is another decent option. But just like cheery juice, raspberry juice lacks a tart flavor.
Tips: Use an equal amount of raspberry juice to replace grenadine. Adding a tart element will result in a closer flavor match.
A quick and easy alternative to grenadine is strawberry juice. This swap is relatively easy to find as it is a popular juice. Kids love it too, so they’re perfect, especially if you want to make a non-alcoholic and kid-friendly drink.
Tips: Use the same amount of strawberry juice to replace grenadine. To avoid an overly sweet drink, decrease the amount of sugar in your recipe.
Also known as cassis liqueur, Creme de cassis is a sweet and tart alcoholic drink. It comes from blackcurrants, so it has earthy notes from the fruit, along with a fruity aroma. Your drink will not have a pomegranate taste but will have a similar flavor profile.
Tips: Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting grenadine with cassis liqueur. Note that using Creme de cassis will add more alcohol to your mix. That said, you must reduce the other alcoholic elements in your recipe to compensate.
Raspberry syrup is a commercially-available ingredient. People use this syrup to add flavor to drinks like coffee and smoothies. It is sweet and has a distinct raspberry flavor. But unlike raspberry juice, its consistency is close to grenadine.
Tips: Use the same amount of raspberry syrup to replace grenadine. Expect a pleasant change in flavor.
If you cannot find cranberry juice in stores, opt for a cranberry juice cocktail to replace grenadine. It has the same great flavor but can have artificial sweeteners. Plus, this option is thinner than grenadine.
Use frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate for a closer texture and flavor match. The concentrated version is thick, sweet, and tart, making it a good alternative.
Tips: Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting cranberry juice cocktail for grenadine. Do the same for cranberry juice cocktail concentrate.
Triple sec is a liqueur with an orange flavor. Obviously, it does not taste like pomegranates as it is sweet and citrusy. But it is perfect for those wanting a different flavor in their drink. Plus points for this alternative are that it is affordable and widely available too.
Tips: Note that triple sec is an alcoholic ingredient. Use a 1:1 substitution ratio but reduce the other alcohols in your drink. Triple sec is a clear liquid, so only use it in recipes that do not need a red color.
A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, pomegranate molasses is a concentrated pomegranate juice. It has an intense pomegranate flavor but is not as sweet as grenadine.
But, where it is a clear winner is in its consistency. It has a thick syrupy texture that can replicate grenadine perfectly. For this reason, pomegranate molasses is among the best substitutes for grenadine.
Tips: Use as you would grenadine. Add sugar for a closer flavor match.
When choosing an alternative to grenadine, it is best to consider the flavor you are after.
Go for pomegranate juice if you like something close to the original grenadine. Pomegranate molasses is also a top option in this case.
If you like another flavor, you can use other fruit juices like cranberry and raspberry juice.
Triple sec and Creme de cassis will also lend a different taste to your drink. Consider this flavor shift when making a choice.
If you’re in a hurry, you should use something that does not need additional preparation. And something readily available in stores.
Strawberry juice is an easy and quick swap you can use in a pinch.
Avoid using frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate if you need a substitute immediately. You must thaw it before use, and that might take time.
You will also have to consider your budget when looking for a substitute.
Fruit juices are affordable, so they’re perfect for those with tight budgets.
Triple sec is another budget-friendly alternative. Creme de cassis, on the other hand, is much more expensive.
Some alternatives, especially non-natural ones, contain lots of sugar. They may not be the best option if you have diabetes.
Alternatives like Triple Sec and Creme de cassis are alcoholic substances. They’re unsuitable if you’re below the legal drinking age.
In cocktails, grenadine’s purpose is to add a sweet and tart taste and lend a lovely color. For this reason, the best alternatives should also be able to do the same. Or else, you’ll end up with an entirely different-tasting drink.
In a way, grenadine is like simple syrup. These two ingredients have the same consistency and add a sweet taste to beverages. However, grenadine has a deep red color and a distinct tartness. Meanwhile, simple syrup lacks tart flavor and color. Using one for the other will result in an entirely different drink.
Yes, you can use honey instead of grenadine. But it would be best to dilute it with water to get a closer consistency. Pure honey is extremely sweet and dense. This flavor and texture might not meld well with the other ingredients in your drink. We recommend adding a sour element like lemon juice for the best swapping experience.
Grenadine is a deep red syrup that adds a lovely hue and a fruity, sweet, and sour flavor to beverages. In the absence of grenadine, you can use plenty of alternatives.
The best grenadine substitute is a combination of pomegranate juice and simple syrup. Fruit juices like cranberry, raspberry, and cherry juice are top choices. Unconventional swaps include creme de cassis and triple sec. You can also try maraschino cherry syrup (cocktail cherry juice) and strawberry daiquiri syrup.