Cocktail DIY: Grenadine, Simple Syrups, Honey Syrup

If you like to “Do-It-Yourself”, then you might want to explore the world of cocktails. Besides making classic drinks from scratch, you can create your own cocktail recipes, boozy infusions, flavored syrups, brandied fruit garnishes, fat-washes (don’t ask) and even your own tinctures and bitters. And many of these DIY products will be way better than anything you buy in the store (a few won’t, btw). And if you want to explore the boundaries of cocktail DIY we suggest visits to Cocktail Chronicles, Boozed + Infused and Serious Eats, all have a wealth of detailed DIY recipes. But before you take the full plunge into cocktail DIY esoterica, we suggest a few basic syrups that cover many classic cocktails and Tiki drinks: Grenadine (pomegranate and sugar syrup), simple syrup ( white sugar or Demerara “raw” sugar syrup) and honey syrup.

This is all you need to impress your party guests…;-)

What makes these syrups so special? Firstly, you can make hundreds of snazzy cocktails with these syrups as the primary sweeteners (and they dissolve better in cold drinks than honey or granulated sugar- nobody likes gummy or gritty cocktails). Second, you can find all the ingredients at the grocery store. Third, you can make these syrups in under 15 minutes….combined. And finally, they keep in the fridge for weeks. So if you invest just a little time, you get a big payoff. And the payoff is in the cocktails. What cocktails? Here are just a few examples:

Scofflaw with Grenadine.

Grenadine: Planter’s Punch, Scofflaw, Tequila Sunrise, Jack Rose and Bacardi Cocktail (and the Shirley Temple / Roy Rodgers for the kids).

Daiquiri’s use simple syrup (Demerara will make for a very different sip).

Simple Syrup: Daiquiris, Mojitos, Collins, Sours, Juleps, French 75, and the Long Island Iced Tea (use Demerara syrup for a richer, molasses-tinged flavor).

Lots of Tiki drinks use Honey Syrup.

Honey Syrup: Air Mail, Bee’s Knees, Bebbo, Navy Grog, Tiki Bowl, Rum Barrel and the Missionary’s Downfall.

And as we noted, making these syrups is very, very easy. You only need two basic cooking methods; mixing and boiling. Grenadine and honey syrup are the “mixers”. Just combine 1/2 sweetener and 1/2 liquid in a container and shake  (just use really hot water for the honey syrup). After a few minutes of shaking, you’re done.  The simple syrups require a brief boiling time to incorporate the sugar and water, but it only takes a few minutes.

Finally, these syrups can keep for a while. Honey syrup, if kept in the fridge, will last up to a month. Both the Grenadine and simple syrup will last 1-2 weeks in the fridge, but adding a tablespoon of vodka or grain alcohol for every cup of syrup will extend their life a few weeks more. And once you make these syrups, you may find yourself using them quite often- your cocktails will be very tasty and have smooth, “professional” texture.

Grenadine:

(Adapted from Cocktail Chronicles and David Wondrich)

Notes:

  • This is a “cold-process” version of Grenadine. There are also boiled versions, but we prefer the fresher flavors of the cold version.
  • You can use superfine sugar to be sure the sugar will dissolve in the pomegranate juice. You will get a bit more sugar, by weight, so check the flavor of the grenadine after the first mixing before adding any more sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part white sugar
  • 1 part pure, unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon of vodka or grain alcohol per cup of syrup (optional)

Assemble:

  1. Place the juice and sugar in a jar with a good lid and seal. Shake well until sugar dissolves in the juice. Taste and add sugar, by tablespoon, to balance flavor.
  2. Add the vodka or grain alcohol, if using. Store in the fridge.

—-

Simple Syrup:

Notes:

  • There are a few varieties of simple syrup: 1:1 sugar to water, “rich” 2:1 sugar to water and “Demerara” using 1:1 “raw” sugar like Demerara or Turbinado sugar and water.
  • Demerara Syrup is very good in “old-time” cocktails like the Old Fashioned. It has more molasses and resembles what sugar was in the 19th century. If you want an easy way to experiment with cocktails, Demerara syrup  add richness and depth to many sugar-based drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part white, Demerara or Turbinado sugar (2 parts if making “rich” syrup)
  • 1 part water
  • 1 tablespoon of vodka or grain alcohol per cup of syrup (optional)

Assemble:

  1. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring just to a boil or until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
  2. Add the vodka or grain alcohol, if using. Store in the fridge.

—-

Honey Syrup:

Notes:

  • If your tap water doesn’t get very hot just heat the honey and water in a saucepan until combined.
  • Unless you want bolder flavors, lighter honey works best in syrups for cocktails.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part honey
  • 1 part very hot water

Assemble:

  1. Place the honey and hot water in a jar with a lid and good seal. Shake until combined. Store in the fridge.
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31 thoughts on “Cocktail DIY: Grenadine, Simple Syrups, Honey Syrup

  1. Never new that Grenadine can/does use pomegranate juice. I’ll need to create an arsenal of syrups soon. I already make a pumpkin spice syrup for use with coffee, but now I’m going to see if it works with cocktails!

  2. Thanks for this post! My DIY cocktail repertoire mostly consists of Gin & Tonics, so I appreciate these tips for getting into fancier, smoother, and more interesting cocktail-making.

  3. What timing! I was just wondering if there was a homemade alternative to grenadine, since the first ingredient in Rose’s grenadine is high-fructose corn syrup. Ick.

  4. Genius, I’d never have thought to make grenadine, and yet not having any has stopped me from making certain cocktails. Happy days! Just need to find the juice, but when I do I know what I’ll be making! Thanks

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  8. How did I miss this post until now? Thanks so much for the mention! Can you believe I have never made grenadine? This is the first cold recipe I have seen for grenadine.

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