Does Grenadine Go Bad?

In my family bar syrups have a tradition of sitting in the cabinet or fridge for a long time. We buy one or two to make cocktails, mix a few drinks, and store away the rest. That begs the question: does grenadine go bad?

Since grenadine, like any other syrup, is loaded with sugar, you probably guess it should last quite some time. But you aren’t sure how long that time frame is exactly. Plus you’re unsure if you should refrigerate grenadine after opening the bottle or not.

If you want to learn a thing or two about storage, shelf life, and going bad of grenadine, read on.

Bottle of grenadine
Image used under Creative Commons from woodleywonderworks

How Long Does Grenadine Last?

An unopened bottle of grenadine keeps for at least a few months past the printed date. Once opened, you can keep it in the pantry where it retains quality for about 2 months, or refrigerate it to prolong the storage time to around 4 to 6 months.

Even though grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup, it lasts quite a long time.

Every bottle comes with a best-by date that informs you how long the syrup should retain peak quality. Please remember that it’s not an expiration date and the syrup won’t somehow go bad a few days past that date. If you still haven’t opened the bottle, it should last at least several months past that date.

Once you open the bottle, it should keep good quality for about half a year if stored in the fridge. If you keep the opened bottle at room temperature, that time period decreases to about 2 – 3 months.

Of course, these are just estimates. The syrup won’t likely spoil after the mentioned periods, but you might find its quality not that great. Remember that the “real” grenadine made with pomegranate or other fruit juices will lose its quality faster.

 PantryFridge
Unopened GrenadineBest By + 1 year 
Opened Grenadine1 – 2 months4 – 6 months
Red cocktail with strawberry on top
(credit: Jens TheeƟ)

How to Store Grenadine?

An unopened bottle of grenadine should sit in a cool and dry place, away from sources of heat and sunlight. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet are great options

Once you open the bottle, store it sealed tightly and refrigerate it if you want the syrup to stay good for more than a couple of months.

A sealed bottle means the syrup has only limited exposure to air. And that means fewer compounds will be broken down over time and therefore the flavor will be retained for longer.

Does Grenadine Need to Be Refrigerated?

Refrigerating open grenadine isn’t necessary, but doing so helps it retain quality for much longer. Open grenadine that sits in a kitchen cabinet keeps quality for about 1 to 2 months, while a refrigerated one keeps flavor for 4 to 6 months.

The opened bottle will remain at its best quality for longer in the fridge than if you keep it in the pantry. Because of that, if you know you will use the syrup within a month or two, keeping it in the liquor cabinet is okay. But if it will take you a few months to finish the bottle, the refrigerator is the better option.

When it comes to storing grenadine after opening, there’s one more thing you should take into account. Grenadine is subject to minimal regulation. That pretty much means that almost anything goes when it comes to ingredients. If it looks and tastes like grenadine, the producer can call it that.

While grenadine was originally made with only pomegranate juice, sugar, and water, nowadays the cheaper grenadines consist mostly of high fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients. The rule of thumb here is that if your grenadine is natural (i.e., it’s mostly fruit juice), its quality will degrade faster than if it’s loaded with HFCS.

Tip

If you paid good money to get the “real” syrup, put it into the fridge after opening.

Tequila sunrise drink
Image used under Creative Commons from Leszek Leszczynski

How to Tell If Grenadine Is Bad?

Grenadine is unlikely to go bad in terms of food safety. The sugar preserves it well and you can store it for a long time.

But the fairly short time spans I gave you above are there for a reason. With time, you may notice that the quality of grenadine drops.

If the tequila sunrise you prepared didn’t quite hit the spot, bland-tasting grenadine it likely the reason. Let’s face it, tequila didn’t go bad, and the orange juice you used was fresh. That means grenadine is the culprit.

Tip

Before using grenadine that sits open in the pantry for a long time, give it a quality check.

When checking grenadine, start with the odor and taste. If it smells okay, but the taste is so-so, discard it for quality purposes. If grenadine smells funky or weird, throw it away. Same thing if for any reason you’re unsure if it’s safe to use.