Grenadine syrup is a popular ingredient in cocktails and mocktails, known for its sweet and tart flavor and vibrant red color. But does this syrup contain alcohol?
The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. While traditional grenadine syrup is non-alcoholic, some modern versions do contain alcohol, which can be confusing for those looking to avoid it.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of grenadine syrup, its ingredients, and whether or not it contains alcohol. So grab a drink (alcoholic or not) and let’s dive in!
Does Grenadine Syrup Have Alcohol?
As mentioned earlier, traditional grenadine syrup is non-alcoholic and is made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and water. It is commonly used in cocktails and mocktails to add sweetness and color without adding any alcohol content.
However, some modern versions of grenadine syrup do contain alcohol. These versions may include vodka or rum, or may have artificially created alcohols. It’s important to check the label of the grenadine syrup you purchase to ensure that it does not contain any alcohol if you are looking for a non-alcoholic option.
It’s worth noting that even if a grenadine syrup does contain alcohol, the amount is typically very low. Alcoholic versions of grenadine syrup usually have an alcohol content of 3-4% ABV, which is much lower than most liquors. However, if you are concerned about your alcohol intake, it’s still important to check the ingredients on all of your drinks.
The History Of Grenadine Syrup
The name “grenadine” originates from the French word grenade, which means pomegranate, from Latin granatum “seeded”. Grenadine was originally prepared from pomegranate juice, sugar, and water. It is not related to the Grenadines archipelago, which takes its name from Grenada, which is itself named for Granada, Spain.
Interestingly, Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual from 1882 did not list grenadine as a required syrup at the bar. Instead, white gum, raspberry, pineapple, lemon, strawberry, orange, orchard, rock candy, and orgeat syrups were listed. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that grenadine started to make its way into cocktails.
The first references to grenadine in cocktails come from Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender, and by the 1910s it became more common. Before that time, raspberry syrup and Red Curacao were the cocktail colorants of choice. Some of the cocktails that used grenadine include the Clover Club, Jack Rose, Bacardi Cocktail and even the Monkey Gland.
However, it’s worth noting that not all versions of grenadine used in these cocktails were made from pomegranate juice. Local pharmacies that dealt with soda, syrup, bitters and better drugs than any bar could supply also made their own versions of grenadine using different ingredients.
Today’s mass-marketed “grenadine” is often faux grenadine, containing neither pomegranate nor sugar. A prominent brand, Rose’s Grenadine, is artificially colored and flavored high fructose corn syrup. In Europe, pomegranate liqueur is also called grenadine. Therefore, it’s important to read the label carefully when purchasing grenadine syrup to ensure that it contains the ingredients you are looking for.
Traditional Grenadine Syrup Ingredients
Traditional grenadine syrup is made from a few simple ingredients that give it its distinct flavor and color. The main ingredient is pomegranate juice, which gives the syrup its tart and sweet taste. In fact, the name “grenadine” is derived from the French word for pomegranate, “grenade.”
Along with pomegranate juice, traditional grenadine syrup also contains sugar and water. The sugar helps to balance out the tartness of the pomegranate juice and gives the syrup its sweetness. The water is added to dilute the mixture and create a syrupy consistency.
It’s important to note that traditional grenadine syrup does not contain any alcohol. This makes it a popular choice for use in non-alcoholic drinks, such as Shirley Temples or Roy Rogers. It can also be used as a topping for desserts like pancakes or vanilla ice cream.
Modern Grenadine Syrup Ingredients
While traditional grenadine syrup is made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and water, modern versions of grenadine syrup may contain additional ingredients. Some companies add blackcurrant juice to their grenadine syrup to lower production costs and make the syrup more accessible for the mass-market consumer.
Additionally, some modern versions of grenadine syrup may contain artificial sweeteners and colors instead of natural ingredients. It’s important to read the label carefully to ensure that you are getting a high-quality grenadine syrup that is made from natural ingredients.
How To Identify Alcohol-Free Grenadine Syrup
If you are looking for an alcohol-free grenadine syrup, there are a few things to look out for when purchasing. First, check the label and ingredients list to ensure that it does not contain any type of alcohol. Look for a product that explicitly states “non-alcoholic” or “alcohol-free” on the label.
It’s also important to look for a grenadine syrup that is made with natural ingredients, rather than artificial flavors and sweeteners. Many commercial brands of grenadine syrup use artificial ingredients to reduce production costs and increase shelf life, but these can often have a negative impact on taste and quality.
Another way to identify an alcohol-free grenadine syrup is to look for one that is made from real pomegranate juice. Some cheaper versions of grenadine syrup may use blackcurrant juice instead of pomegranate juice, which can affect the taste and quality of the product.
Finally, if you’re unsure about whether or not a particular brand of grenadine syrup contains alcohol, don’t be afraid to ask the staff at your local liquor store or grocery store. They should be able to provide you with information on the product and help you make an informed decision.
Alternatives To Grenadine Syrup In Cocktails And Mocktails
If you are looking for a non-alcoholic alternative to grenadine syrup, there are several options available. One of the best substitutes for grenadine syrup is raspberry syrup. Raspberry syrup has a similar texture and tartness to grenadine syrup and can be used in equal quantities in cocktails and mocktails.
Another great alternative is making your own homemade grenadine syrup. This can be done by combining pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice and reducing it to a thick, syrupy consistency. It only takes a few minutes to make and is a great option if you don’t have any grenadine syrup on hand.
If you prefer a more tangy flavor, pomegranate molasses is another great substitute for grenadine syrup. This Middle Eastern ingredient has a similar texture and color to grenadine syrup but with less sweetness. You can add sugar to get a taste closer to grenadine syrup.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a substitute that has a different flavor profile, red currant syrup is an option worth exploring. It provides similar benefits to raspberry or pomegranate substitutes but has a red currant flavor instead.