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….

French grenadine bottles

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.

grenadine drink

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.

glass of grenadine

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.

kids drink in France

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.

Monaco cocktail

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.child drinking grenadine

What do kids drink where you’re from?  Do your children drink grenadine or have you ever tried it?

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Grenadine a French syrup for childrens drinks

Photo credit for Monaco

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