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Grenadine vs Simple Syrup For Cocktails: What’s the Difference?

Grenadine vs Simple Syrup

Last Updated on August 29, 2023 by Lydia Martin

In the world of cocktails, bartenders face a crucial choice: grenadine or simple syrup. Grenadine brings fruity flair with pomegranate juice, while simple syrup offers straightforward sweetness. 

Through research and cocktail mixing, our team explored their differences and discovered their true roles in mixology. 

Whether you crave fruity bursts or balanced sweetness, this grenadine vs simple syrup battle will elevate your cocktail skills. Let the showdown begin!

Simple Syrup & Grenadine In-Depth Comparison 

Syrup on a Bottle Container

Simple Syrup and Grenadine are both sweeteners used in cocktails.

Grenadine offers a distinct flavor and color, primarily used for fruity or tart cocktails. Meanwhile, simple syrup is a neutral sweetener that adds sweetness to beverages without altering their flavor profile. 

Simple syrup is transparent and colorless, as it doesn’t contain any artificial colorants or natural pigments, while grenadine has a vibrant red color, with some using artificial red food dye.

Grenadine is commonly used in cocktails requiring a fruity or tart profile, while grenadine can be used in non-alcoholic beverages and even desserts to add flavor and color. 

Simple syrup is easy to prepare (at home) by dissolving sugar in water, while grenadine is readily available in most liquor stores, supermarkets, and online retailers. 

How Do They Differ? 

Ingredients

Simple syrup is made by dissolving granulated sugar in an equal amount of hot water. The common ratio is 1:1, but you make it in different ratios, like 2:1 (rich simple syrup) or 1:2 (diluted simple syrup), depending on the desired sweetness level.

On the other hand, grenadine’s ingredients can vary, but commercially available grenadines usually consist of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, red food dye, and preservatives. 

Traditional grenadine is made from pomegranate juice and sugar but is less commonly found today.

Taste/Flavor

Stirring Homemade Grenadine Syrup

Simple syrup is purely sweet, with no distinct flavor or aroma. It adds sweetness to beverages without altering their taste, while grenadine has a sweet, tart, slightly fruity taste. 

“Choose wisely: grenadine’s fruity burst or simple syrup’s balanced sweetness?” – Liquor Laboratory

Although traditionally made from pomegranate juice, most commercial grenadines today are artificially flavored and colored, resulting in a less authentic flavor.

Read: Simple Syrup vs Triple Sec

Color & Sweetness

Simple syrup is colorless and adds pure sweetness to beverages without introducing any specific flavor or altering the drink’s color. 

On the other hand, grenadine provides a vibrant red color with a sweet taste, but it has some tartness and slight fruitiness. 

Common Uses

In the battle between grenadine vs simple syrup, we claim that both are versatile sweeteners in various beverages, like cocktails. However, they have different flavor profiles and are commonly used differently.

Grenadine is best used (or paired) in: 

  • Cocktails
  • Mocktails
  • Desserts 

Simple syrup is best used (or paired) in:

  • Cocktails
  • Iced drinks
  • Coffee-based drinks
  • Sodas 

As you can see, simple syrup is more versatile and widely used across a broader range of beverages. Meanwhile, grenadine is typically chosen when a specific flavor profile and color are required. 

Shelf Life

Pouring Simple Syrup on a Glass Bottle

The shelf life of simple syrup and grenadine varies, depending on several factors, including the ingredients used, storage conditions, and whether they are commercially produced or homemade.

  • Homemade simple syrups, when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, can last for about 1-2 months. 

Store-bought syrups have a longer shelf life of several months or even up to one year, depending on the brand and the specific preservatives used.

  • Homemade grenadine, made from natural ingredients, can last for about two weeks to 6 months when stored in a sealed canister in the fridge, while store-bought ones can last for six months to a year. 

Texture

The simple syrup has a smooth and liquid texture, while grenadine has a thicker and slightly syrupy consistency. 

“Life is as sad as a glass of grenadine. … It’s almost that. It is sad. But, at the same time, how a glass of grenadine sparkles!” ― Mylène Farmer, Canadian-French Singer

Simple syrup is thin and flows easily, making it convenient for mixing into beverages, while the texture of grenadine allows for coating the glass or mixing with other ingredients.

Versatility

Simple syrup is highly versatile and widely used in various beverages and culinary creations. Its neutral sweetness makes it popular for various purposes, including cocktails and desserts.

While more specific in flavor and color, grenadine still offers versatility within its defined profile, like in cocktails, mocktails, and desserts. 

Availability

Simple Sugar Syrup on a Measuring Cup

Both simple syrup and grenadine are easily accessible. They’re available at supermarkets, grocery stores, liquor stores, and online shops. Also, you can make them at home. 

FAQs 

What is the closest thing to grenadine?

The closest thing to grenadine is raspberry, molasses, and orgeat syrup. But you can also use Cassis liqueur [1] or fruit juice. 

Can grenadine be used instead of simple syrup?

Yes, grenadine can substitute simple syrup in certain situations, like when making Tequila Sunrise or Sea Breeze. 

However, it’s important to note that grenadine has a distinct fruity flavor and a vibrant red color, which can impact the taste and appearance of the final beverage. 

Final Verdict 

Ultimately, the choice between grenadine vs simple syrup depends on your desired flavor, color, and purpose. 

You can use them interchangeably in some cases, like we did. However, their distinct characteristics make them better suited for specific applications.

We prefer using grenadine for making tropical and fruity cocktails like Tequila Sunrise, Bomb Pop, and Mai Tai, while we use simple syrup in Old-Fashioned, French 75 [2], and Gin Fizz.    

References:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/11/dining/drinks/creme-de-cassis-cocktails.html 
  2. https://www.ft.com/content/7d4dd6a1-619e-43f5-a4b1-83af097a9b49 

 

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