Beverages, Recipes

Shirley Temple Drink (Classic Recipe)

The classic Shirly Temple is one of the most popular non-alcoholic drinks on the planet for a good reason. 

Like the child star, this cocktail is bubbly, vibrant, refreshing, and unapologetically sweet. 

Pink Shirley Temple drink served on a tall glass filled with ice garnished with fresh cherry.

It’s the ultimate treat with a dash of grenadine, ginger ale (or lemon-lime soda), and a few maraschino cherries. 

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One sip of the Shirley Temple drink is enough to melt away the stress of your hard knock life.

Classic Shirley Temple Recipe 

Everyone loves a Shirley Temple. Well, except Shirley Temple!

Rumor has it this classic cocktail was the brainchild of a bartender at the Brown Derby. He noticed that Shirley Temple wanted a cocktail with dinner like her parents, and the drink was born. 

But Shirley Temple found the mocktail a little too sweet for her taste. 

However, for those who prefer drinks on the sweeter side, it’s a must-try! 

Shirley temple on a tall glass filled with ice beside a bowl of fresh cherries and jigger.

Ingredients 

The ingredient list for this classic mocktail is short and sweet. Don’t worry, there’s no hard-to-find ingredients here! Check out everything you’ll need below. 

  • Grenadine syrup – The star of the Shirley Temple is Grenadine. It adds a burst of fruity sweetness and gives the cocktail its bright red coloring. 
  • Ginger ale – The traditional Shirley Temple uses a splash of ginger ale. However, if you aren’t a fan, you can also use lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7Up. 
  • Maraschino cherry – Classic Shirley Temples add sweet maraschino cherries for flavor and garnish. If you want something a little less sweet, lime wedges taste great, too. 
  • Ice cubes – This cocktail is best served nice and chilled. As the ice cubes melt, it helps combat the sweetness of the grenadine. 

How to Make a Shirley Temple

Put away that cocktail shaker. You won’t need it today. Here’s how quick and easy this drink comes together. I’ll get into more precise measurements at the bottom of the page. 

1. Add ice. Fill a tall glass to the top with ice cubes. 

2. Pour in grenadine. First, pour the grenadine over the ice. 

3. Add ginger ale. Next, top off the glass with a chilled ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. 

4. Garnish. Garnish it with a few maraschino cherries or lime wedges. 

5. Serve. Served it chilled, and enjoy!

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What Is Grenadine? 

Grenadine is a type of fruity simple syrup. The name comes from the French word for pomegranate. 

Grenadine delivers a bright pop of red coloring, and it’s incredibly sweet. A little goes a long way to add sweetness. So, start with a little and add more to taste. 

It’s also important to note not all brands are created equal. Some use cherries instead of pomegranates. It’s still sweet but loses that authentic flavor. 

When shopping for grenadine for your Shirley Temple, look at the ingredients. If it lists pomegranate juice, it’s the real deal. 

Ice cold Shirley Temple cocktail garnished with fresh cherry.

Tips for the Best Drink 

Want to make your Shirley Temple the life of the party? Here are some quick and easy tips for the best mocktail in town. 

  • Dial down the sweetness. You have a few options if you’re like Shirley Temple and prefer a less-sweet drink. You can cut down on the Grenadine (which will dilute the red coloring). Or, you can use ginger ale instead of lemon-lime soda.
  • No grenadine? If you can’t find grenadine, you can make your own at home. Simmer equal parts sugar with pomegranate juice. It’s just like making simple syrup, but you swap out water for pomegranate juice. 
  • Keep everything nice and cold. The best Shirley Temples are always nice and cold. To keep your mocktail colder for longer, pop your glasses in the freezer for a few hours. 
  • Bring on the bubbles. Need even more bubbles in your life? I don’t blame you. Try adding a splash of club soda for even more fizz. It adds more bubbles but without the excess sugar. 
  • Go wild with garnishes. Cherries and limes are classic, but you don’t have to stop there! Try anything from strawberries, pineapple, or oranges. 
  • Be gentle. When stirring the drink, be gentle. If you stir too much, you risk losing all those bubbles from the soda. 
  • Quality is key. Remember, the Shirley Temple only uses a handful of ingredients. For the best flavor, opt for a brand of Grenadine that lists pomegranate in its ingredients. 
  • Experiment and have fun! Start slowly and build your drink. Grenadine is incredibly sweet, so start with a little when building your cocktail. You can always add more!
Shirley Temple cocktail served on a tall glass filled with ice and a bowl of fresh cherries in the background.

Shirley Temple Variations 

A simple Shirley Temple is the perfect start for flavorful variations. Whether you want to add a little booze or make it seasonal, there are some fun possibilities.  

  • Dirty Shirley Temple. Want to add a little booze for the adults? A Dirty Shirley Temple infuses all the same ingredients with a dash of vodka for the adults. 
  • Roy Rogers. A Roy Rogers is similar to a Shirley Temple but replaces ginger ale with cola. It has a slightly more complex flavor profile without the intense sweetness. 
  • Shirley Black. When Shirley Temple married, she changed her name to Shirley Temple Black. Naturally, a themed drink soon followed, adding a splash of black rum. 
  • Blue Shirley. Simply swap the grenadine for blue Curaçao for a dreamy blue cocktail that’s a little more citrusy. 
  • Shirley Temple Float. I’m in love with the Shirley Temple float. It’s like a cherry creamsicle. It combines all of the staples of a Shirley Temple with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
  • Tropical Shirley. Adding pineapple juice with Grenadine gives a lovely hint of tropical flavors. This variation goes best with lemon-lime soda rather than ginger ale. 
  • Spiced Shirley.  Want a mocktail for the holidays? Adding a cinnamon stick of a dash of cinnamon adds lovely warming notes to the classic Shirley Temple. 
  • Minty Shirley. The minty Shirley is ready for summer. Adding a sprig of muddled mint to the glass offers a refreshing minty finish.
Shirley Temple Drink