Grenadine is something you might have kicking around with your cocktail ingredients, and you might assume it can only shine in beverages. After all, as Liquor.com explains, it can give a red or pink tint to a variety of cocktails, infuse a bit of sweetness to counteract the spirits or sour elements in the drink you’re whipping up, and also provides a hint of fruity flavor notes.
As Bobby Flay explained in the Twitter clip, all those elements that make grenadine a superstar in the cocktail world are exactly why it works so well in pickled onions. First of all, it adds some sweetness, which is needed to balance out the tartness of the vinegar in the pickling mixture (while you could use whatever vinegar you have handy, Flay prefers red wine vinegar). Second, unlike sugar, which imparts sweetness and nothing else, the grenadine also gives the pickling mixture and therefore the pickled onions that signature reddish-pink tint that makes them so distinct. So, whatever dish you’re using the pickled onions on will receive not only a burst of flavor but also a pop of color.
Food blog Eat The Bite whipped up Flay’s pickled onion recipe — which includes just enough grenadine to add that sweetness and color without being overpowering — and one commenter who made the dish couldn’t get enough. They wrote in the comments section that the pickled onions “turned out so delicious that I want to put it on everything!”