So if ‘pomme’ is French for ‘apple’ and ‘granate’ is derived from the Italian word for seeds and ‘grenade’ is French for ‘pomegranate’ then you get how we arrive at ‘grenadine,’ right? Orrr have I left you with more questions than you came with?
Here’s something I can for sure answer with confidence – what exactly is grenadine? Grenadine is a syrup made with fresh pomegranate juice that is flavoured with lemon juice and sweetened with sugar. Every barman or woman worth their weight has this syrup within arm’s reach in order to knock up a whole range of winter cocktails and mocktails; the only limitation is our imagination.
Before we crack open the spirits though, we gotta seed and juice the pomegranate:
Seeding the pom (and a quick how-to Instagram video for those who are visual learners like me):
1. Using a knife, slice through the outer layer of the pomegranate in half or in quarters.
2. Twist and pull the halves apart.
3. Hold the pomegranate, cut side down, in the palm of your hand.
4. Using a wide spoon, hit the back of the pomegranate and allow the seeds to fall through your fingertips and into a large bowl.
How to juice:
1. Transfer the pomegranate seeds into a zip lock bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Seal the bag.
2. Using a rolling pin, roll back and forth over the pomegranate seeds to lightly crush them and release their juices. Be careful not to roll excessively, as this will result in the interior of the seeds to be mixed into the juice, which makes for a bitter and cloudy juice.
3. Pour the mixture into a fine meshed strainer and let the juice strain through. Do not press the mixture through the strainer. Discard the solids.
Homemade Grenadine Syrup
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooling time
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Make-Ahead: The grenadine syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.
2 cups fresh pomegranate juice (from about 4 large pomegranates)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the juice is reduced by half. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Set the syrup aside for about 20 minutes, or until it has cooled to room temperature.
2. Stir the lemon juice into the cooled syrup. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Champagne Cocktail with Pomegranate “Sweet and Sour” and Sage
My personal favourite way to enjoy grenadine? Like many, I do love French Champagne. French Champagne on its own, served nice and chilled with golden bubbles dancing in the flute is the business, however sometimes I like to dress it up even more by making a Champagne cocktail with a good dash of grenadine. I garnish mine with a couple of sage leaves for colour, beautiful fragrance and a touch of that musky, woody flavour.
Makes 6 cocktails
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour to cool and chill
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Make-Ahead: The pomegranate sweet and sour can be made up to 3 days ahead, keep refrigerate.
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 Meyer lemon, juiced (about 4 tablespoons)
12 sage leaves, for garnish
1/4 fresh pomegranate, seeds only, for garnish
One 750ml bottle French champagne, chilled
1. In a small heavy saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the juice is reduced to a syrup consistency. Cool the syrup completely. Add the lemon juice. Refrigerate the pomegranate sweet and sour until cold.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of the sweet and sour to each of 6 champagne glasses. Add 2 sage leaves and 8 to 10 pomegranate seeds to each glass. Top with champagne and serve.
A little more on pomegranates…
Pomegranates are a seasonal powerhouse in winter! They’re full of amazing health benefits and antioxidants and can be used in lots of different ways – sprinkle the seeds on a salad, a nice piece of salmon or cake or juice for healthy drinks and cheeky cocktails. There’s plenty more ‘outside of the box’ uses for them, too… In January, at my restaurant Maude, we made a brine for gravlax. Special! You can watch me demo it here: Salmon Gravlax Demo on The Talk.