Is grenadine the same as cherry syrup?

Grenadine and cherry syrup are two red-colored liquid ingredients commonly used in cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Both impart a sweet, fruity cherry-like flavor, leading some people to use the terms interchangeably or assume they are the same. However, there are some key differences between grenadine and cherry syrup in terms of their ingredients, uses, taste and texture.

What is Grenadine?

Grenadine is a syrup made from pomegranate juice that has been sweetened and reduced. It was originally made from the juice of the grenade fruit in the early 1900s, but most commercial grenadines today contain no grenade juice. Instead, they are made from pomegranate juice, sugar and water. Some may also contain additional fruit juices or extracts for flavoring.

Traditional homemade grenadine recipes call for equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar, boiled down into a thick, viscous syrup. Commercial grenadines vary in consistency from a light syrup to a thick, molasses-like liquid. The taste is intensely sweet and tart with a pronounced pomegranate flavor. Grenadine has a deep ruby red color that comes from the natural pigments in pomegranate juice.

In cocktails, grenadine is most famously used in tequila and rum drinks like the Tequila Sunrise and Cuba Libre. A splash of grenadine sinks to the bottom of the glass, creating a layered effect. Grenadine’s sweet-tart taste balances the alcohol and adds fruitiness. The syrup is too thick to properly dissolve, leaving a stained red appearance. Grenadine can also be used to make non-alcoholic drinks like the classic Shirley Temple, made with ginger ale and a maraschino cherry.

What is Cherry Syrup?

Cherry syrup is a sweet liquid made from cherry juice and sugar. It is thinner in consistency than grenadine, with a lighter translucent red hue. Commercial cherry syrups are formulated using cherry juice concentrate, corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors and food coloring. Homemade versions may be more natural, using cherry juice and sugar cooked down into a syrup.

The primary flavor of cherry syrup is overwhelmingly sweet, lacking the tartness of real cherry juice. There may be subtle fruity notes, but the sugar tends to mask the complexity of the cherry taste. Without added colors, the syrup would have a pale golden or light pink tinge rather than a vivid red.

Cherry syrup is popular as a topping for desserts like ice cream sundaes, cheesecake and pancakes. Its primary role is adding sweetness and color, along with a hint of cherry flavor. Cherry syrup can also be used to make drinks, adding its characteristic sweet/tart cherry profile. But it lacks grenadine’s rich complexity and will easily mix into drinks rather than creating a layered effect.

Key Differences Between Grenadine and Cherry Syrup

Ingredients and Flavor

The core ingredients of grenadine and cherry syrup differ significantly:

– Grenadine is made from pomegranate juice, sugar and water. It has a tart, fruity pomegranate taste.

– Cherry syrup is made from cherry juice concentrate, corn syrup and artificial flavor/color. It tastes overwhelmingly sweet with light cherry notes.

Consistency and Color

– Grenadine has a thick, viscous consistency that causes it to sink and layer in drinks. It has an intense ruby red color from pomegranate pigments.

– Cherry syrup has a thinner, pourable consistency andmixes fully into drinks. It has a lighter translucent red color from added dye.

Cocktail Uses

– Grenadine is used primarily in cocktails, adding sweet-tart flavor and a layered red appearance.

– Cherry syrup lacks complexity for cocktails but can add sweetness and light cherry flavor.

Are They Interchangeable?

Grenadine and cherry syrup can not typically be used interchangeably in recipes, due to their differing flavors and textures. Some key considerations:

– In cocktails, grenadine will create a richer, more nuanced flavor than one-dimensional cherry syrup. Grenadine’s viscosity also allows it to sink in layered cocktails.

– For sweetening or flavoring foods and drinks, grenadine’s intense pomegranate taste may overwhelm, while cherry syrup adds lighter fruitiness.

– Grenadine’s vivid color comes from natural pomegranate pigments, while cherry syrup relies on dye. So their coloring power differs.

– Homemade versions may be more interchangeable if sweetened to similar levels. But store-bought grenadine and cherry syrup contain different ingredients entirely.

While their core flavors have similarities, the strengths of grenadine and cherry syrup lie in different areas. Exception would be home-prepared versions balanced in sweetness and acidity. With commercial brands, grenadine suits cocktails while cherry syrup is better for general use. Substituting one for the other can significantly change the final taste, texture and appearance.

How is Grenadine Used?

Here are some of the most popular uses for grenadine syrup:


Grenadine is an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails, including:

– Tequila Sunrise: tequila, orange juice, grenadine

– Ward 8: whiskey, orange juice, grenadine

– Pink Lady: gin, grenadine, egg white

– Hurricane: rum, passionfruit, grenadine

A splash of grenadine sinks to the bottom of the glass and creates delicious layers of flavor and color.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Grenadine’s tart cherry-pomegranate taste shines in kid-friendly mocktails and sodas:

– Shirley Temple: ginger ale, grenadine, maraschino cherry

– Roy Rogers: cola, grenadine, maraschino cherry

– Grenadine Spritzer: grenadine, sparkling water, lime

Dessert Toppings

Grenadine can dress up desserts with its bright red hue and sweet-tart kick:

– Grenadine syrup over ice cream or ricotta cheese

– Swirled into milkshakes, frostings and fruit fillings

– Brushed on cakes and pastries before serving

Homemade Syrups

The simplest way to make grenadine is equal parts 100% pomegranate juice and sugar, slowly simmered into a syrup. Add a splash to drinks for homemade flavor.

Cocktail Garnish

A dash of grenadine in the bottom of a glass creates an eye-catching garnish. Float it over crushed ice or layer it in a shot.

How is Cherry Syrup Used?

Here are some popular uses for store-bought or homemade cherry syrup:

Ice Cream Toppings

Drizzle cherry syrup over scoops of vanilla ice cream for a classic sundae. Also works on chocolate, strawberry and other flavors.

Pancake and Waffle Topping

Sweeten up breakfast with pats of butter and a drizzle of cherry syrup over short stacks.

Sweetening Beverages

Stir a spoonful of cherry syrup into juices, lemonades, milk, coffee drinks and cocktails for added sweetness.

Yogurt and Oatmeal

Mix a swirl of cherry syrup into plain yogurt or overnight oats for added fruit flavor.

Fruit Salads

Toss sliced fruit with a teaspoon of cherry syrup to naturally sweeten and add flavor.

Cherry Desserts

Use cherry syrup in pie fillings, cheesecakes, trifles, fruit crumbles and other cherry treats.


Though less common than grenadine, cherry syrup can add sweet cherry flavor to cocktails like Cherry Vodka Lemonade.

Grenadine vs. Cherry Syrup Nutrition

Grenadine and cherry syrup are both high in natural and added sugars. However, grenadine has a healthier nutrition profile:

Calories and Carbs

– 1 tablespoon grenadine: 45 calories, 11g sugar

– 1 tablespoon cherry syrup: 52 calories, 13g sugar

Added Sugars

– Grenadine: Contains natural sugars from pomegranate juice plus additional cane sugar.

– Cherry syrup: Mainly high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.

Vitamins and Minerals

– Grenadine provides some vitamin C, potassium and antioxidant compounds from pomegranate juice.

– Cherry syrup lacks natural nutrients beyond minimal cherry juice content.

Artificial Ingredients

– Grenadine contains no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

– Cherry syrup often includes artificial colors and flavors.

While both are sweet mixers, grenadine packs more nutrition per tablespoon and contains no artificial additives. Cherry syrup is largely corn syrup and artificial flavors.

How to Make Grenadine

Making homemade grenadine allows you to control the ingredients and final flavor. It requires just two components:


– 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice

– 1 cup white sugar


1. Pour pomegranate juice and sugar into a small saucepan.

2. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves.

3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until thickened to a syrup consistency.

4. Let cool completely then transfer to an airtight bottle.

5. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Customizing Your Grenadine

– Use other juices like cherry, cranberry or blood orange to mix up the flavor.

– Add spices like cinnamon, vanilla or cardamom.

– Splash in lemon or lime juice for extra tartness.

– Infuse with fresh herbs like rosemary, mint or basil.

– Sweeten to taste with sugar, honey, agave or maple syrup.

How to Make Cherry Syrup

Making your own cherry syrup allows you to control the ingredient list. Try this easy homemade version:


– 1 cup cherry juice

– 1 cup sugar

– Pinch of salt


1. Pour cherry juice, sugar and salt into a small saucepan.

2. Heat over medium, stirring often, until sugar dissolves.

3. Increase heat and bring to a gentle boil.

4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.

5. Remove from heat and let cool.

6. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.


– Use tart cherry juice for the best flavor.

– Add a teaspoon of lemon juice for extra brightness.

– Simmer up to 20 minutes for a thicker syrup.

– Sweeten to taste with extra sugar or honey.

– Stir in vanilla or almond extract.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is grenadine just cherry syrup?

No, grenadine and cherry syrup are different products. Grenadine is made from pomegranate juice while cherry syrup is made from cherry juice. They have distinct flavors, colors and uses.

Why is there confusion over grenadine and cherry syrup?

Grenadine and cherry syrup are both red syrups used for flavoring drinks and desserts. Many people assume they are the same or interchangeable due to their similar coloring. Their names also create confusion over their main ingredients.

What’s the difference between grenadine and cherry syrup?

The main differences are:

– Grenadine: Tart pomegranate taste, thick texture, bright red color, sinks in drinks. Uses natural ingredients.

– Cherry syrup: Sweet cherry taste, thin texture, light red color, mixes in drinks. Often artificial ingredients.

Can you substitute grenadine for cherry syrup?

It’s best not to substitute grenadine 1:1 for cherry syrup. Grenadine may overpower with its pomegranate flavor. However, you can replace a small amount of cherry syrup with grenadine, using about half the amount for a similar sweetness.

Can you substitute cherry syrup for grenadine?

Cherry syrup can be used in small amounts to replace grenadine, but keep in mind it will lack grenadine’s characteristic tartness, texture and bright red color. For cocktails, the visual impact and flavor balance will be off.


Grenadine and cherry syrup are close cousins in the syrup world but have distinct differences that make them non-interchangeable in most recipes. Grenadine shines in cocktails and brings a tart, fruit-forward hit of flavor. Cherry syrup is added to desserts for light sweetness and color. While they can sub for one another in very small amounts, the taste, texture and appearance will be noticeably altered. To keep the integrity of a recipe, it’s best to use the specified syrup. When in doubt, homemade versions made with real fruit juice provide the purest flavor.

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