How the Shirley Temple Drink was Created

The mocktail, or non-alcoholic version of a cocktail, has been gaining in popularity over the last few years; many bartenders now pride themselves on being able to create a non-alcoholic drink that tastes just as good as a traditional cocktail. But there's one mocktail that is grandmomma of them all: the Shirley Temple drink. It's a popular kid's drink, inspired by a very popular kid.

How the Shirley Temple got its Name

Three different Hollywood locations claim to have invented the fun drink in the 1930s: Chasen's, the Brown Derby restaurant, and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. But the reason the drink was invented is something all stories agree on. Shirley Temple, who was at the time an incredibly popular child actress, was at a restaurant and wanted something to drink.

Some versions of the story note that her parents were drinking old-fashioneds and the bartenders created a non-alcoholic version of that drink for her.

What's in a Shirley Temple Drink?

Originally, the drink was ginger ale, a splash of grenadine syrup and a maraschino cherry. Some bartenders added a bit of orange juice for color, too. Today, you might find the drink made with lemon-lime soda, or a mix of ginger ale and lemon-lime soda. The grenadine and cherry are non-negotiable, though.

Grenadine, by the way, isn't cherry-flavored. It's made from pomegranates (and it's easy to make at home, too). Really, a Shirley Temple relies on the best of cocktail flavors: citrus, ginger, and sweet pomegranate.

The Shirley Temple drink is more about proportions than a firm recipe. use about an ounce of grenadine for every eight or so ounces of soda (your preference of ginger, lemon-lime or a mixture). Serve over ice cubes in a highball or Tom Collins glass with the cherry as a garnish. With the ingredients and the presentation, you can see how kids then and now love to have something that imitates the adults at the table.

The drink has a grown-up version, too, called a Dirty Shirley. This version of the drink recipe adds vodka and fresh lime juice. You can also swap in cherry vodka or ginger beer, for an additional flavor boost.

But don't think just because you're a grown-up that you can't have this fizzy, sweet drink without the added alcohol. A Shirley Temple is fun to drink, whether or not you've got kids at the table.

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