A short while ago, a letter scripted in brilliant ruby-red ink landed on my desk. It read:
Dear Bartender, A friend just presented me with a bottle of homemade grenadine for my birthday. What do you recommend I do with it?
-Joe J. of the Eastern Hinterlands
I'm sure that your first experience with grenadine was in the quintessential kiddie cocktail, the Shirley Temple. It was sickly sweet, but when we were young we all yearned to have one. The best part was feeling more grown up because the bartender made your drink. If that's your only memory of grenadine, I have good news. Mr. J., you have yourself quite a treat on your hands! Thanks to mass-market purveyors such as Rose's and Finest Call, grenadine has transformed through the years from a richly flavored potion into neon swill laced with artificial flavoring and Allura Red coloring. For many years, it's been barely fit for a hummingbird. I have a small surprise for you: Grenadine is supposed to be a pomegranate-flavored syrup. A good one will make your drinks come alive. And Joe, when you run out of your gift, making your own is a piece of cake.