The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Posted by on in Food & Drink

What is Grenadine?

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 lait grenadine

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 beer grenadine and lemonade

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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  • Guest
    Amanda Monday, 16 November 2015

    I only associated grenadine with cocktails so this was an eye opener! I've seen it in Dutch supermarkets but also skipped past because we don't drink cocktails....... will give the milk mix a try with my boys after reading this!

  • Guest
    virginie Monday, 26 October 2015

    My kids and I love "Grenadine", especially sipping at a nice terrace in south of France :) Do you ever try a "tomate"? It's Ricard+Grenadine, of course not for kids!!! (but my favorite is "mauresque"...) All this make me wish I was there ;)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 27 October 2015

    Hi Virginie, I've heard of tomate but as I don't like the taste of anise I really don't like it! My husband loves mauresque too!

  • Guest
    Clara Monday, 26 October 2015

    Ah ha and there was me thinking it was a cocktail ingredient that originated from the Grenadines! Now I know! It's funny but one thing that is hard to get hold of here in SA is squash or cordial. They have a lot of fruit juices and fruit juice drinks but also iced tea is popular. Personally I prefer beer or wine, or the occasional G&T! PS Am now trying to remember when I first tried champagne....

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 27 October 2015

    Interesting that you can't find squash or cordial in SA, ready made very sugary iced tea is very popular in France as a soft drink for kids, but there's not a lot of tea in it!

  • Guest
    Ersatz Expat Sunday, 25 October 2015

    I love grenadine - so yummy, particularly as an alternative to Cassis in a Kir Royale.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 27 October 2015

    I've never thought to combine it with wine or champagne but why not? It makes the "cocktail" a little less alcoholic than using creme de cassis.

  • Guest
    Sally@Toddlers on Tour Thursday, 08 October 2015

    I use to work in hospitality, so I had always known Grenadine as an ingredient in cocktails.
    I had never thought of using it for kids to make cordials and milk shakes - I would have thought it too strong, but obviously depends on the quanities.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 11 October 2015

    It's originally a French drink, and most definitely for children, so it's funny for me to think of it primarily as a cocktail ingredient.

  • Guest
    Corinne Thursday, 01 October 2015

    Phoebe, I love these kinds of tips...I certainly will order a Monaco!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 11 October 2015

    I'll have one with you Corinne!

  • Guest
    Catherine Thursday, 01 October 2015

    Oh dear I thought that sofisticated little French kids drank pomegranate juice. Oh well there you go.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 11 October 2015

    Sorry to disillusion you Catherine :(

  • Guest
    Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault Tuesday, 29 September 2015

    Our boys love grenadine both with water and with milk and I'll drink it if it is very hot and I need a change from water. But with all that sugar in it, I am trying to wean the boys off it. However as we live in Normandy that might mean they'd switch to cider instead!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Sunday, 11 October 2015

    They'll be into cider before you know it Rosie (I was by their age, which explains why I can't stand it now!!) :p

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