Liquor Laboratory

Grenadine vs Cherry Syrup For Cocktails: Which is Better?

Grenadine vs Cherry Syrup

When it comes to mixing alcoholic drinks and making delicious cocktails, grenadine syrup and cherry syrup stand out as two of the widely utilized mixers.

I interchangeably use both syrups since they share a comparable flavor profile and appearance. But what’s the difference between grenadine and cherry syrup?

If you’re curious like me, let’s compare these syrups and uncover their key differences and similarities – keep scrolling.

Grenadine vs Cherry Syrup In-Depth Comparison

Pouring Cherry Syrup on a Pitcher

Cherry syrup and grenadine syrup are different. Cherry syrup is a delightful syrup crafted from cherry juice, sugar, and other components. It acts as a topping or flavor enhancer in various cocktail recipes, like Cherry Coke.

In contrast, grenadine syrup is a concentrated syrup made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and other ingredients, playing a pivotal role in mixed drinks and cocktails like Clover Club.

Although cherry and grenadine share a dense texture and delectable sweetness, they diverge in ingredients, flavor characteristics, and intended uses.

Key Differences


Grenadine syrup and cherry syrup both have a distinct flavor profile. Since grenadine is a pomegranate syrup made from real pomegranate juice and sugar, it’s a sweet, tart syrup.

“Sweet battles blend as grenadine and cherry syrups duel flavors.” – Liquor Laboratory

As for the cherry syrup made from cherry juice, it’s sweeter, with a more pronounced sweet flavor. Also, it exudes a heavy cherry flavor, almost similar to Maraschino cherries.

While grenadine and cherry have a fruity flavor, overall, their taste differs.

Color & Consistency

Bottle of Grenadine Syrup and a Glass of Cocktail Drink

Regarding consistency, grenadine, and cherry syrups have a syrupy consistency.

However, the consistency can vary if you’re using homemade grenadine or cherry syrup (depending on how you craft the syrups).

As for the color, grenadine syrup displays a bright-red hue, while cherry syrups are darker.

Main Ingredient

The cherry syrup is primarily made from concentrated cherry juice and sugar [1].

In contrast, homemade grenadine syrup is made from fresh pomegranate juice, cane sugar, and sometimes with orange blossom water [2].

But the ingredients depend on the brand, of course. We can’t be sure if manufacturers use artificial flavors to achieve the real sweet and tart flavor with fruity notes.

For instance, red cherry syrup is sometimes made with artificial flavorings and colorings. And store-bought grenadine syrups, like Rose’s Grenadine, usually contain high fructose corn syrup.

How It’s Made

Making Cherry Syrup

Grenadine combines pomegranate juice, sugar, and other ingredients like citric acid and corn syrup.

The pomegranate juice provides a distinct flavor and deep red color, while the sugar adds sweetness and the citric adds citrus flavor.

The mixture is simmered until the sugar is fully dissolved, resulting in a sweet syrup-like consistency.

On the other hand, Cherry syrup is made by extracting the juice from cherries (cherry juice) and combining it with sugar.

The cherry juice blend is heated until the sugar dissolves and the liquid thickens into a cherry-flavored syrup.

The resulting syrup has a rich cherry flavor and can be used as a sweet topping or flavoring in various dishes and beverages.


Grenadine and cherry syrup provides unique flavors which suit different applications. But regarding versatility, grenadine tends to have a broader range of uses.

Since grenadine syrup has a sweet and tart taste, it goes well with various ingredients like raspberry syrup and classic cocktails like the Shirley Temple and Tequila Sunrise.

I also use grenadine for mocktails, lemonades, and desserts like ice cream sundaes or fruit salads.

In comparison, cherry syrup has a distinct cherry flavor, often used as a topping for desserts like pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or cheesecake.

But you can also use cherry syrup to flavor milkshakes, smoothies, or homemade sodas, like l a lemon-lime soda.

However, its flavor profile is more specific to cherries, making it less versatile than grenadine.


Cherry syrup tends to have a natural tartness that comes from the cherry juice, especially when made using Maraschino cherries.

The tartness varies from subtle to more pronounced depending on the variety of cherries used and the specific recipe.

But the tartness is typically balanced by the sweetness of added sugar.

On the other hand, grenadine has pronounced tartness. It primarily comes from the addition of lime juice, which helps balance the syrup’s sweetness.

I find the tartness in grenadine more noticeable and distinct compared to cherry syrup.


Pomegranate on a Bowl

Both grenadine and cherry juice can be substituted when making cocktails or mixed drinks. The best substitute for grenadine includes:

  • simple syrup and fresh pomegranate juice
  • simple syrup and cranberry juice
  • raspberry syrup
  • juice from Maraschino cherries
  • Fruit juice concentrates or fruit syrups
  • pomegranate molasses/syrups

As for cherry syrup, you can replace it with the following:

  • cherry fruit juices
  • cherry liqueur
  • cherry preserves or jam
  • Maraschino cherry juice (beet juice)

But based on my experience in mixing drinks, you can replace grenadine with cherry syrup. The taste may differ, but the color and character are there.


Grenadine is best used in classic cocktails, specifically Tequila Sunrise, which blends with tequila and orange juice.

But aside from that, you can use grenadine when making contemporary drinks like Blue Hawaiian, which combines pineapple juice, blue Curacao [3], and cranberry juice.

As for the cherry syrup, it is best served as a topping to various applications, including cocktails and mocktails, dessert garnish, and salad dressings.


Cherry syrup and grenadine are widely available in many grocery stores, specialty food stores, and online retailers.

“We still have to put some cherry syrup on it, and then we can eat it.”– Bill Murray, American Actor

However, the availability of these syrups may vary depending on your state and the specific store you visit.

Although a non-alcoholic syrup, Grenadine is often stocked alongside other syrups and mixers in the cocktail mixers or beverage aisle.

Meanwhile, the cherry syrup is typically found in the baking or dessert section of grocery stores, near toppings and syrups used for pancakes and desserts.

Do They Have Similarities?

Making Grenadine Syrup
  • Both grenadine and cherry syrup are sugary syrup options. They provide a sweet taste and tart flavor with fruity undertones. Besides, they add flavor to various recipes.
  • Both grenadine and cherry syrup are thick, viscous syrups with a smooth texture.
  • Although grenadine is more commonly associated with cocktails, grenadine, and cherry syrup can be used in various applications, such as mixing drinks, topping desserts, baking, and flavoring.
  • While cherry syrup may be slightly less commonly found than grenadine, both syrups are generally available in stores or online.


Can you use cherry syrup instead of grenadine?

You can use cherry syrup as a substitute for grenadine in certain recipes. While cherry syrup and grenadine differ in flavor and ingredients, they both offer a sugary and tart cherry fizz.

Does grenadine taste like cherry syrup?

No, grenadine does not taste like cherry syrup. Grenadine has a distinct flavor, made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and lime/lemon juice.
It has a sweetness and tartness with a unique fruity profile different from the flavor of cherry juice or syrup.

Why is cherry syrup called grenadine?

Cherry syrups are not typically called grenadine. But some people call cherry syrups grenadine because of the color.

Are cherry syrups and grenadine alcoholic?

Cherry and grenadine syrup are both non-alcoholic. They are sweet syrups used as flavorings in various beverages and recipes.

How do the flavors of grenadine and cherry syrup differ?

Grenadine has a sweet and tart flavor with subtle fruity notes from the pomegranate juice, whereas cherry syrup has a richer, more intense cherry flavor with hints of tartness and sweetness.

Can grenadine and cherry syrup be used interchangeably in cocktails?

While grenadine and cherry syrup are both sweet syrups used in cocktails, they have different flavor profiles. Grenadine’s fruity and tart notes may not always be suitable substitutes for the richer, more intense flavor of cherry syrup, and vice versa.

In what types of cocktails is grenadine commonly used?

Grenadine is commonly used in cocktails to add sweetness and color. It’s a key ingredient in classic drinks like the Tequila Sunrise, Shirley Temple, and Sea Breeze.

What cocktails typically feature cherry syrup as an ingredient?

Cherry syrup is often used in cocktails that specifically call for a cherry flavor, such as the Cherry Limeade, Cherry Bomb, and Cherry Martini.

Are there any cocktails where grenadine and cherry syrup can be used interchangeably?

While grenadine and cherry syrup have distinct flavors, they can sometimes be used interchangeably in cocktails where the specific fruit flavor is not critical to the recipe. However, the substitution may alter the overall flavor profile of the drink.

Final Thoughts

In the battle between grenadine vs cherry syrup, both are sweet syrups used in beverages and culinary creations but have distinct differences.

But grenadine, like Rose’s Grenadine, is traditionally made from pomegranate juice and sugar, giving a unique sweet-tart flavor with a vibrant red color.

On the other hand, Cherry syrup is specifically made from cherry juice (sometimes made from Maraschino cherries [4]), providing a rich and sweet cherry flavor.

While they’re different overall, you can use cherry syrups to substitute grenadine. Though I like grenadine more for its versatility, you can use cherry syrups as a substitute for grenadine.


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