Shirley Temple Drink

Rosy and refreshing, the Shirley Temple drink is always a delight. No matter your age, sipping on this childhood favorite made with grenadine is sure to bring a smile to your face.

a Shirley Temple with a heart straw

Classic Shirley Temple drink recipe

Some things that you try as an adult just don’t taste the same as they did when you were a kid.

But then there are those nostalgic favorites that are perfect as they are and bring the good memories flowing back.

For me, a Shirley Temple does just that. Growing up, our neighbor owned a Chinese restaurant we frequented, and he always brought me a Shirley Temple with my orange chicken. It felt like such a fancy drink, and I adored it.

You could say that’s where I fell in love with mixed drinks! Full of fruity flavor, Shirley Temples are the quintessential mocktail, but you can also add vodka to make them a Dirty Shirley.

two Shirley Temples and a jar of cherries

What is a Shirley Temple?

Named for the childhood star of movies like Annie and Heidi, the Shirley Temple is a drink of grenadine and ginger ale or 7-UP that’s always topped with a maraschino cherry.

It was purportedly first served to the actor on a visit to the Royal Hawaiian hotel in Honolulu in 1935. She was too young to drink alcohol, but they wanted to treat the star like other celebrities, so they dreamed up this fruity drink just for her.

However, Shirley Temple Black herself wasn’t actually a fan of the drink. She told Scott Simon in an NPR interview that people around the world served them to her because of the name. She called them “those saccharine, icky drinks.”

Despite its namesake’s opinion, the Shirley Temple is a classic non-alcoholic drink recipe that’s adored by kids and adults alike. The combination of cherry and ginger or lime is definitely the official drink of the summer.

The virgin Shirley Temple is what’s known as a mocktail, which is a non-alcoholic beverage. It can be made alcoholic, though, with the addition of vodka or another spirit like rum or tequila. With alcohol, it’s called a Dirty Shirley.

a jar of grenadine syrup on a red plate

Ingredients

There are only three ingredients in the classic Shirley Temple recipe. Here’s what to grab at the grocery store:

Grenadine Syrup

When mixed with Sprite or ginger ale, grenadine is what gives Shirley Temples their pretty pink color.

Grenadine is a pomegranate syrup with a brilliant red color. You can make homemade grenadine syrup with pomegranate juice or you can buy it pre-mixed. Rose’s Grenadine is a popular brand known for its bright red color, but this Liber Co. Grenadine is closer to the homemade stuff.

This syrup keeps in the fridge for several months, so you can make all the Shirley Temples you desire!

Soda

Some people make their Shirley Temples with ginger ale; others prefer lemon-lime soda like 7-Up or Sprite.

You can also use a little of both, if you like! Play with your perfect ratio to find the right combination.

For something stronger, you can try it with a ginger beer, which is a fermented ginger soda.

a jar of maraschino cherries

Maraschino cherries

As much as I love my homemade cocktail cherries, the bright red maraschino cherries are the quintessential Shirley Temple garnish. You don’t want to skimp on these! One is enough, but if you add three or four, I won’t tell anyone.

If you like, you can also add a spoonful of maraschino cherry juice to your drink.

You can find a jar of maraschino cherries at the grocery store. Look near the ice cream toppings. You can also order them online.

Some people also garnish their Shirley Temples with an orange slice, but it’s totally optional.

How to make a Shirley Temple

Making a classic Shirley Temple mocktail is so simple. It’s such a delicious virgin drink with a very easy recipe.

grenadine in a glass of ice
ginger ale pouring into a glass of grenadine

First, add some ice cubes to a tall glass, such as a highball glass (affiliate link) or Collins glass (affiliate link). Then, add your grenadine.

bubbles on a Shirley Temple
a finished Shirley Temple

Top with either ginger ale or lemon-lime soda, or a little of both. Then garnish with a maraschino cherry or two and a straw. Enjoy!

How to make Shirley Temple Punch

Want to make Shirley Temples for a crowd? I don’t blame you — this fruity drink is absolutely perfect for special occasions or backyard barbecues.

You could even serve them at a baby shower, a Valentine’s Day party, summer parties like Memorial Day or July 4 — all thanks to this fun mocktail’s rosy color.

Instead of adding a splash of grenadine to a bunch of glasses and topping them with ginger ale, you can make a big batch of Shirley Temples in a pitcher or punch bowl. This recipe should make about 10 drinks:

  • 1¼ cup grenadine
  • 2 liters (8.5 cups) ginger ale or lemon lime soda (or 1 liter of each)

Make sure to serve with a bowl of maraschino cherries. You could even freeze them in berry ice cubes for an extra touch.

cherries floating in a Shirley Temple

Variations and substitutions

Here are a few ways to mix up the Shirley Temple:

Use both types of soda. It seems to be regional whether a Shirley Temple is made with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Both are delicious. You can use either one or a mix of both.

Use diet soda. Nothing wrong with using diet ginger ale or diet lemon-lime soda. Go for it!

Make it a Dirty Shirley. Add an ounce of vodka into the mix for a cocktail version of this classic drink. You can also use dark rum or tequila instead.

Make it a float. Make the Shirley Temple without ice in a pint glass, and fill it with the recipe below (should be about ¾-full). Then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Make a Roy Rogers. The Roy Rogers is a spin on the Shirley Temple made with cola instead of ginger ale or 7-Up.

two Shirley Temple drinks and a jar of sherries

More non-alcoholic drinks

Sparkling Balsamic Mocktails use white balsamic vinegar to sweeten club soda.

Herbal limeade made with basil, rosemary and mint is a delicious summer refresher.

Cool and refreshing, coffee soda is a delightful, fizzy spin on an iced coffee.

Cherry limeade slushies are a delicious and easy treat for a summer afternoon.

Try a virgin mint julep or virgin mojito for a boozeless spin on these classic cocktails made with zero-proof spirits.

a Shirley Temple with a straw and a cherry on top

Shirley Temple Drink

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Serve up non-alcoholic Shirley Temples for a party! These mocktails are great for kids and non-drinkers who want something fancier than soda or lemonade, but you can also make it into a Dirty Shirly by adding vodka.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce grenadine syrup
  • 6 ounces lemon-lime soda or ginger ale
  • 2 maraschino cherries, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a collins glass or highball glass filled with ice, add grenadine over top.
  2. Pour soda or ginger ale over top.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry (or two!).

Notes

Here are a few ways you can customize the Shirley Temple:

Use both types of soda. It seems to be regional whether a Shirley Temple is made with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Both are delicious. You can use either one or a mix of both.

Use diet soda. Nothing wrong with using diet ginger ale or diet lemon-lime soda. Go for it!

Serve a crowd. Fill a pitcher with 1¼ cup grenadine and 2 liters (8.5 cups) ginger ale or lemon lime soda (or 1 liter of each). Add ice. Make sure to serve with a bowl of maraschino cherries. You could even freeze them in berry ice cubes for an extra touch.

Make it a Dirty Shirley. Add an ounce of vodka into the mix for a cocktail version of this classic drink. You can also use dark rum or tequila instead.

Make it a float. Make the Shirley Temple without ice in a pint glass, and fill it with the recipe below (should be about ¾-full). Then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Make a Roy Rogers. The Roy Rogers is a spin on the Shirley Temple made with cola instead of ginger ale or 7-Up.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 0gSugar: 36gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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