What is Grenadine?
Traditionally grenadine is a tart and sweet non-alcoholic bar syrup, deep red in color made from pomegranates. It’s a pretty popular ingredient in cocktails used for its color, adding a reddish/pink hue as well as adding sweetness to mixed drinks. Most people mistake it for cherry syrup. Perhaps it’s because most grenadine syrups widely used in bars today are the mass produced “Rose’s”, which is often mistaken for the juice from maraschino cherries and called “cherry juice”. Big companies like Mott’s, produce and cut cost by manufacturing and replacing the fruit bases with artificial ingredients. Not only is the there no pomegranates, there is also no cherries.
Needless to say, the grenadine used today by your local bartender is all sugar and chemicals. The main ingredient in fact is high fructose corn syrup. Ingredients also include water, citric acid, sodium benzonate, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #1, with natural and artificial flavors.
So what exactly do all these ingredients mean? Here’s a closer look at what’s really in your Tequila Sunrise.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – understanding the science behind this highly processed sweetener made from corn starch or sugar beets can be a bit confusing. Keep in mind both corn and sugar beets are two of the top genetically modified crops in the United States, and if not “organic” you can be sure it’s contaminated with pesticides or herbicides. To simply understand HFCS, think of it as concentrated sugar syrup. Often compared to granulated sugar, HFCS has its advantage as being easier to handle and less expensive, while also being linked to metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes.
Citric Acid – Naturally occurring in citrus fruits, most would assume it is extracted from lemons, limes, or oranges, and initially it was. However, the widely used processed citric acid today is made from mold. Inspired by Pencillium mold when it was discovered that citric acid could be produced by adding sugar, Aspergillus niger (black mold) was found to be more efficient, as it is less expensive to produce citrus acid in large industrial quantities.
Sodium Benzonate – A food preservative, used to prevent growth of bacteria, or fungi (such as yeast) when used under acidic conditions. Widely used in acidic foods such as salad dressings (vinegar), carbonated drinks (carbonic acid), jams and fruit juices (citric acid), and condiments. It is also used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and even fireworks. YES, fireworks! It’s mixed in as a fuel in the whistle mix, a powder that emits the whistling noise when compressed into a tube and ignited.
In relation to soft drinks, sodium bezonate in combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may form benzene, a known carcinogen. Heat, light and shelf life can increase the rate at which benzene is formed. Some research suggested when combined with certain artificial colors can cause hyperactive behavior.
FD&C Red #40 & FD&C Blue #1 – These powdered chemical compounds are the most commonly used dyes in foods, cosmetics, hygiene products and drugs. There is some evidence to support claims that food coloring may cause food intolerance and ADHD like behavior in children. Certain food coloring may act as an ADHD trigger in those who are genetically predisposed, and there is a possible link between the consumption of these artificial colors and sodium benzonate preservative and increased hyperactivity.
Do these ingredients sound like something you would want in your cocktail, or anything you consume?
When hiring Milk & Honey bartenders for your events, you can be sure the grenadine we provide is free from artificial flavors and chemicals. Our grenadine recipe is fresh and made with REAL pomegranates and sweetened with raw organic cane sugar. Milk & Honey Bartending always arrives with fresh cocktail ingredients for every event serving cocktails. Contact us here to book your next event. Milk & Honey bartenders will be happy to serve you!