Grenadine is a fruit syrup quintessential to French childhood. That’s it in a nutshell! Though perhaps I could go into just a little more detail….
Grenadine is a syrup used to make drinks (cordial or squash for children, certain cocktails for adults). The word “grenadine” comes from the French word for pomegranate “grenade” but while the syrup might have been made originally with pomegranates I couldn’t find a single make that still includes this exotic fruit. Nowadays grenadine is made up of a mix of red berry fruits such as raspberry, red currant, elderberry, black currant and strawberry, with a hint of vanilla. And unfortunately plenty of sugar.
To prepare grenadine, dilute it 1 part to 7 or 8 parts water, don’t make the mistake of trying to drink it neat! It is found in most French family homes as children drink it for goûter (afternoon tea, snack) as an English child might drink Ribena or orange squash.
The gorgeous rich red colour in the bottle dilutes out to a weak pink depending on how much water you use. For a drink for a special occasion for a child (in a bar or restaurant for example) grenadine can be served with lemonade which is called a diablo grenadine. Some kids like it with milk, called simply lait grenadine or bébé rose.
Grenadine is also used in cocktails to give a vibrant red colour, such as in a Tequila Sunrise though more ordinarily in a French bar you could order a Monaco – a shandy (lager and lemonade) with a splash of grenadine. I remember drinking my first Monaco on the terrace of a bar in Quiberon in Brittany on a perfect summer’s day in July 1993, isn’t it funny how you remember useless and random facts like that! I couldn’t tell you when I had my first glass of champagne, but Monaco, no problem.
So that’s about it for grenadine, next time you’re in a bar in France and want to go local, don’t order a coke for the kids, get them a diablo grenadine and try a Monaco yourself.
What do kids drink where you’re from? Do your children drink grenadine or have you ever tried it?
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Photo credit for Monaco
I only associated grenadine with cocktails so this was an eye opener! I’ve seen it in Dutch supermarkets but also skipped past because we don’t drink cocktails……. will give the milk mix a try with my boys after reading this!
I’ve never thought to combine it with wine or champagne but why not? It makes the “cocktail” a little less alcoholic than using creme de cassis.
Interesting that you can’t find squash or cordial in SA, ready made very sugary iced tea is very popular in France as a soft drink for kids, but there’s not a lot of tea in it!
Hi Virginie, I’ve heard of tomate but as I don’t like the taste of anise I really don’t like it! My husband loves mauresque too!
My kids and I love “Grenadine”, especially sipping at a nice terrace in south of France 🙂 Do you ever try a “tomate”? It’s Ricard Grenadine, of course not for kids!!! (but my favorite is “mauresque”…) All this make me wish I was there 😉
Ah ha and there was me thinking it was a cocktail ingredient that originated from the Grenadines! Now I know! It’s funny but one thing that is hard to get hold of here in SA is squash or cordial. They have a lot of fruit juices and fruit juice drinks but also iced tea is popular. Personally I prefer beer or wine, or the occasional G&T! PS Am now trying to remember when I first tried champagne….
I love grenadine – so yummy, particularly as an alternative to Cassis in a Kir Royale.
They’ll be into cider before you know it Rosie (I was by their age, which explains why I can’t stand it now!!) :p
Sorry to disillusion you Catherine 🙁
I’ll have one with you Corinne!
It’s originally a French drink, and most definitely for children, so it’s funny for me to think of it primarily as a cocktail ingredient.
I use to work in hospitality, so I had always known Grenadine as an ingredient in cocktails.
I had never thought of using it for kids to make cordials and milk shakes – I would have thought it too strong, but obviously depends on the quanities.
Phoebe, I love these kinds of tips…I certainly will order a Monaco!
Oh dear I thought that sofisticated little French kids drank pomegranate juice. Oh well there you go.
Our boys love grenadine both with water and with milk and I’ll drink it if it is very hot and I need a change from water. But with all that sugar in it, I am trying to wean the boys off it. However as we live in Normandy that might mean they’d switch to cider instead!