Shirley Temple Drink Recipe

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by Sil Pancho

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12.07.2021


The Shirley Temple drink is a favorite special occasion non-alcoholic beverage for kids (and adults). Find out its origins and how to make a Shirley Temple with this simple recipe. 

A close-up of a Shirley Temple drink with a maraschino cherry and sprig of mint with a small straw on a marble kitchen counter.

Growing up, we didn’t have much sugar in the house and definitely never any sugary beverages or sodas. However, when we went out to dinner on special occasions I would sometimes get treated to my favorite drink – a bright pink Shirley Temple. So when my daughter recently asked if she could try one, I showed her how to make it. 

Shirley Temple drinks are sweet, pink, bubbly concoctions made with just a few simple ingredients. While this is a special occasion drink for kids, it works as an adult mocktail too. Here are all the details, including how to make a sugar-free version. 

The ingredients for a Shirley Temple recipe sit on a marble countertop: Rose's grenadine syrup, a can of lemon lime soda, and maraschino cherries.

What is a Shirley Temple Drink? 

Originally, this non-alcoholic beverage was a simple mix of ginger ale and grenadine syrup. Over time, it evolved into its more modern version with 7up or Sprite soda replacing ginger ale, lemon-lime soda or orange juice replacing some of the grenadine syrup, and maraschino cherries used for garnish.

The Shirley Temple drink has been enjoyed by people of all ages for many years and is still popular today. In fact, it is one of the most popular drinks ordered at restaurants across America.

A postage stamp with a picture of young Shirley Temple the actress.

Image: Shutterstock

Shirley Temple Drink Origins 

This drink is named after Shirley Temple, a child star from the 1930s and 40s who was popular with both adults and children. She retired from acting at age 22 and was a wife, mother, and passionate diplomat in her adult life. 

There are several conflicting stories around who was the first to create this mocktail. Not surprisingly, many want to take credit for this popular drink.

One of the most popular theories is that the first Shirley Temple drink was created in the 1930s by a bartender at Chasen’s restaurant in Los Angeles for the actress. However, in a 1986 NPR interview, Shirley herself stated that the drink was actually created by the Brown Derby Restaurant. She went on to say that she didn’t like the drink at all as it is much too sweet and found it funny to be served the drink in restaurants all over the world. 

What is a Dirty Shirley Cocktail? 

A Dirty Shirley cocktail is a Shirley Temple drink that has an additional alcoholic ingredient added to it. The original Shirley Temple drink is just 7up, grenadine syrup, and maraschino cherries.

A Dirty Shirley cocktail adds a shot of vodka and/or rum to the drink, transforming it into a fun adult beverage. Personally, I prefer drinks that are not sweet these days, like a classic Dirty Martini.

For a more natural and homemade Dirty Shirley, use Zevia lemon-lime soda or sparkling water, pomegranate juice, a shot of vodka, a squeeze of lime, and a raspberry. 

Rose's grenadine pours into a glass of clear lemon lime soda on a marble counter next to a bowl of maraschino cherries.

How to Make a Shirley Temple

To make a Shirley Temple drink at home, simply mix 7up or Sprite soda with grenadine syrup. You can play around with the ratio – if you want a more diluted drink, add more soda. For a stronger flavor, add more grenadine syrup. Finally, garnish with maraschino cherries.

 

Variations

  • Use Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer instead of lemon-lime soda for a more flavorful drink. I like Reed’s Sugar-Free ginger beer, which we use in our Moscow Mule Mocktails. 
  • Sugar-Free Option: Use sugar-free lemon-lime soda such as Zevia. Swap the grenadine for a store-bought or homemade sugar-free version. 
  • Natural: Swap out the grenadine for pomegranate or cranberry juice. 

A shirley temple drink with a maraschino cherry on a white kitchen counter.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup lemon-lime soda (7UP, Sprite, etc.)
  • 1-2 teaspoons grenadine
  • 1-2 maraschino cherries

Notes

Variations

  • Use Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer instead of lemon-lime soda for a more flavorful drink. I like Reed’s Sugar-Free ginger beer, which we use in our Moscow Mule Mocktails. 
  • Sugar-Free Option: Use sugar-free lemon-lime soda such as Zevia. Swap the grenadine for a store-bought or homemade sugar-free version. 
  • Natural: Swap out the grenadine for pomegranate or cranberry juice. 
  • Dirty Shirley Cocktail: Add one ounce of vodka.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 1

Serving Size: 1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 86Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.



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