Although I’m slowly but surely working my way toward a more well-stocked home bar, grenadine is one of the things I’ve avoided buying. A sweet-tart pomegranate syrup, grenadine is a staple for well-known cocktails like the Tequila Sunrise and the Jack Rose, plus it’s the star ingredient in the non-boozy Shirley Temple. I’ve made due without it for so long because the most widely available commercial version is pretty artificial. I felt like I could bust out a DIY version that would be relatively easy and a major improvement over anything in the store, but it ended up being one of those projects that never quite materialized.
My wheels got turning again about DIY grenadine and grenadine variations after seeing an instagram from my friend Justin of a cocktail made with rosehip grenadine (!). Red currants—my favorite puckery, rosy summer fruits came to mind—and here I am with a local, homemade grenadine that I’m pretty into. It certainly isn’t an exact match of the store-bought stuff, but it does have a similar sweet-tart quality and the same pretty jewel-toned hue. I’m putting it to work in a lovely little summer cocktail with the elderflower liqueur St. Germain and Cachaça, the Brazilian spirit made from sugarcane juice.
- 2 heaping cups (9.4 ounces) red currants, stems on
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Combine the sugar, currants, and water in a small saucepan over high heat.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to low heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the currants are completely broken down.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and refrigerate until cool.
To make the Pink Rose Cocktail:
- scant 1/4 t dried lavender
- 1/4 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz red currant grenadine (see above)
- 1 1/2 oz Cachaça, such as Sagatiba Pura
- 1/2 oz St. Germain
- Muddle the lavender in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until it releases its fragrance. Add the remaining ingredients and fill the cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake until the exterior of the shaker frosts, about 20 seconds.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a coupe glass and serve immediately.
- The red currant grenadine is adapted from Under the High Chair. I kept it really simple because I wanted to approximate grenadine, but you could definitely make it more complex by playing around with different herbs, spices, and flavors in the cooking process.
Disclosure: The folks at Campari America sent me a bottle of Sagatiba Pura Cachaça to play around with, but my opinions remain my own.