Can you substitute cherry juice for grenadine?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can substitute cherry juice for grenadine in most recipes. Grenadine is a syrup made from pomegranates, while cherry juice provides a similar sweet and tart cherry flavor. When substituting, use about half the amount of cherry juice as grenadine called for. You may also want to add a bit of sugar or honey to balance the tartness.

What is Grenadine?

Grenadine is a syrup made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and sometimes rose water or orange flower water. It has a characteristic tart yet sweet flavor and deep red color. Grenadine is most commonly used as an ingredient in cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. It’s also sometimes used to make desserts like grenadine cakes or fruit salads.

Some key facts about grenadine:

– Made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and sometimes flavorings like rose water
– Has a sweet yet tart taste
– Adds a rich, red color to drinks and desserts
– Most commonly used in cocktails like the Tequila Sunrise, Shirley Temple, and others
– Also used to make non-alcoholic drinks like grenadine spritzers
– Sometimes added to fruit salads or used in grenadine cakes and other desserts

So in summary, grenadine is a versatile syrup that adds sweetness, tartness, and vibrant color to beverages and sweets. Its unique flavor comes from pomegranate juice.

What Does Grenadine Taste Like?

Grenadine has a distinct sweet-tart taste that comes from pomegranate juice. It tastes much fruitier than plain sugar syrup. The pomegranate gives grenadine a somewhat exotic, berry-like flavor. Grenadine is also usually vibrant red in color, as pomegranate juice is a natural red dye.

Specifically, the taste of grenadine can be described as:

– Sweet yet tart
– Fruity, with a berry-like or exotic tropical flavor
– Much more complex flavor than plain sugar syrup
– Tartness comes from the pomegranate, which provides a bit of bite
– Vibrant red color
– Smooth, syrupy texture

The exact flavor can vary between brands based on the amount of added sugar, rose water, and other ingredients. But in general, grenadine will provide a sweet, fruity taste and bright reddish color to cocktails, fruit cups, desserts, and other recipes. The pomegranate gives it a unique, exotic vibe.

Cherry Juice as a Grenadine Substitute

Cherry juice makes a suitable replacement for grenadine in most recipes. While it doesn’t contain pomegranate, cherry juice has a similar sweet-tart profile with a deep red color. Keep in mind that the flavor won’t be an exact match. But cherry juice can replicate the general sweet, fruity taste in a pinch.

There are a few tips for getting the best results when substituting cherry juice for grenadine:

– Use 100% cherry juice, not “cherry flavored” juice drinks with added sugar.
– Look for bottled or refrigerated cherry juice, not from concentrate. This will have the freshest, brightest cherry flavor.
– Use about half as much cherry juice as grenadine called for. Grenadine is thicker and sweeter.
– Consider adding a bit of sugar or honey to balance the tartness of the cherry juice.
– For cocktails, adjust other ingredients like liqueurs or citrus to complement the cherry flavor.
– In desserts, add a touch of almond or vanilla extract to round out the flavor.

As long as you account for the thinner, tarter nature of cherry juice, it can work well in place of grenadine. The deep red color will be similar, though the flavor won’t have the exotic pomegranate notes. Feel free to tweak the other ingredients to complement the cherries.

How to Make Cherry Juice for Substitution

If you don’t have bottled cherry juice on hand, you can easily make your own at home. Here’s a simple DIY cherry juice recipe:

– 2 cups pitted sweet cherries
– 1 cup water
– 2-3 tbsp sugar or honey (optional)

1. In a small saucepan, combine the cherries and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, mashing the cherries lightly with a spoon.
3. Remove from heat and pour cherry mixture into a sieve over a bowl. Press with the back of a spoon to extract all the juice.
4. Discard the solids. Add sugar or honey to taste if desired, stirring to dissolve.
5. Allow to cool, then transfer cherry juice to an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 1 week.

Making your own juice allows you to control the sweetness and thickness. For a grenadine substitute, aim for a juice on the thinner, tart side. The fresh homemade cherry juice will have an authentic fruit flavor perfect for adding color and a touch of sweetness to drinks.

Recipes with Grenadine Substitute

Here are some recipes where you can substitute cherry juice for grenadine:

Shirley Temple

– 1 part cherry juice
– 4 parts ginger ale
– Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine the cherry juice and ginger ale over ice. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry. The cherry juice provides the sweet-tart flavor instead of grenadine.

Cherry Limeade

– 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1/3 cup cherry juice
– 2/3 cup water
– Sugar or honey to taste
– Ice cubes
– Lime slices for garnish

Whisk together the lime juice, cherry juice, water and sweetener. Pour over ice and garnish with lime slices. The cherry juice gives it the bright red color and fruity flavor.

Cherry Cheesecake Bars

– 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
– 1/3 cup butter, melted

– 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1/3 cup cherry juice
– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1/3 cup cherry jam

Make the crust by mixing the graham crumbs and melted butter. Press into an 8×8″ pan. For the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, cherry juice and vanilla. Pour over crust and bake 25 minutes at 325F. Allow to cool, then spread cherry jam on top before cutting into bars.

The cherry juice mixes beautifully into the creamy cheesecake filling, providing moisture and fruity flavor.

Recommended Brands of Bottled Cherry Juice

Here are some recommended brands for bottled cherry juice that works well as a grenadine substitute:

– R.W. Knudsen – Offers an organic cherry juice and cherry juice blend. No sugar added.
– Lakewood Organic – Pure organic cherry juice with tart cherry flavor. Unsweetened.
– Just Tart Cherry – 100% juice with concentrated tart cherry juice. No preservatives.
– Dynamic Health – An organic tart cherry juice concentrate. Can add water to dilute to taste.
– Brownwood Acres – Sweet and tart cherry juice blend. Non-GMO, gluten free.
– Wegmans – Refrigerated, not from concentrate cherry juice. Good value brand.

When comparing brands, look for 100% cherry juice with no added sugars or preservatives. Shake the bottle to ensure it hasn’t separated or become too thick. Refrigerated cherry juice will typically have the freshest flavor.

Pros and Cons of Using Cherry Juice Instead of Grenadine

Here’s a quick look at some of the key pros and cons to be aware of when substituting cherry juice for grenadine:

– Provides a similar sweet-tart taste
– Creates the red color grenadine is known for
– Much easier to find than grenadine
– Can be made easily at home

– Cherry flavor is different from exotic pomegranate taste
– Juice alone lacks thickness of grenadine syrup
– May need to adjust other ingredients to balance tartness
– Color may be slightly less vibrant red compared to grenadine

Overall, cherry juice can work nicely when you’re in a pinch and can’t find or don’t have grenadine on hand. The results are usually quite good, though not an exact match. Tweak the other components and add sugar to offset the greater tartness of cherry juice compared to grenadine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any difference between grenadine and cherry syrup?

Grenadine and cherry syrup are different products. Grenadine is made from pomegranate juice while cherry syrup is made from cherries. Grenadine will have a more exotic, berry-like flavor contributed by the pomegranates. Cherry syrup tastes like sweet, tart cherries. Both add a pop of red color though grenadine is usually darker. You can substitute cherry syrup for grenadine, or grenadine for cherry syrup, but the flavors won’t be identical.

Can I use cherry soda instead of grenadine?

It’s best not to substitute cherry soda or another cherry-flavored drink when a recipe calls for grenadine. These drinks contain carbonation and added flavors that can change the texture and taste. For the closest result, use bottled or homemade cherry juice. A dash of lemon-lime soda can add some fizz if needed. But avoid heavily sweetened or artificial tasting cherry soda.

How long does homemade cherry juice last in the refrigerator?

Homemade cherry juice will keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Over time, it may start to separate with the fruit pulp settling on the bottom. Give it a good shake before using. After a week, it’s best to discard the homemade juice as the freshness and flavor will decline. For longer storage, freeze small portions to keep several months.


While grenadine has its own unique pomegranate flavor, cherry juice makes a suitable stand-in syrup for cocktails, lemonades, desserts and other recipes needing that sweet-tart red pop. Keep in mind the juice will be thinner and tarter than grenadine. But the color and general fruitiness are a close match. Homemade cherry juice lets you control the thickness and sweetness. Bottled juices provide convenience. With just a few tweaks to other ingredients, cherry juice can deliver vibrant red creations reminiscent of those made with grenadine.

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