I understand why Persephone ate that handful of seeds while in the Underworld. Rich garnet explosions encased in hidden caverns, tart and sweet–totally worth half a year in the Underworld. It’s always seemed to me a mysterious fruit, one that earned its place in stories as the fruit of seduction or of knowledge. As a kid, a friend’s mom would give pomegranates to us as a snack, which I retrospecively think was brilliant as it got us to shut up for a bit as we hunted out all the seeds from the nooks and crannies. We might have been stained pink around the fingers and mouths by the end, but it was worth it.
Forever ago I came across a recipe for a Jack Rose and was stunned to learn that grenadine was not, in fact, supposed to be red flavored, but is actually supposed to be pomegranate based. As every grenadine recipe on the internet will tell you grenadine comes from the french word for pomegranate, grenade. Spiffy, right? What I’m trying to tell you is that Rose’s Grenadine is a lie. It’s high fructose corn syrup plus flavorings. Traditional grenadine is pomegranate juice plus sugar to form a syrup. Sounds pretty easy, right?
You have a few options when heading into your grenadine making enterprise. Fresh juice or store-bought and cold or hot process. I did a sort of mixture of the two since I macerated the seeds. I got the instructions from All The Marmalade and The Cocktail Chronicles. The result is this fresh, fruity syrup that’s a rich and satisfying plummy color. Completely different than any commercial brand of grenadine you could find in a store and really just gorgeous. I would eat this by the spoonful if I wasn’t so excited about making a real Shirley Temple. And adult drinks too. But who doesn’t love a Shirley Temple?
- 1 or 2 pomegranates
Open a pomegranate and release the seeds any way you find convenient. I cut it in half and smack it with a spoon over a bowl. Another way to do this is breaking it into quarters and picking out the seeds under water. Whatever makes you happy and gets the bits out with the least amount of pith possible.
Toss the seeds with half their volume of granulated sugar (eg. 1 cup pomegranate=1/2 cup sugar). Cover the seed and sugar mixture loosely with saran wrap and then pound with a solid ladle, a hefty mug, or similar object until the seeds break and the mixture becomes pulpy. Leave the saran wrap over the bowl and put everything in the fridge to macerate overnight.
The next day, remove the bowl from the fridge and strain the mixture into a new bowl through a fine mesh sieve to separate all the juice from the seeds and pulp. Place the juice in a small saucepan, add 1/4c water, and bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until all sugar is dissolved. Taste. If needed, add a little sugar. Let cool and bottle. Store in your fridge for up to a month. Never buy grenadine again.