When looking for alcohol-free drinks, you will most certainly come across the Shirley Temple Cocktail. It's one of the very first drinks in today's long list of mocktails. Also, it carries the name of a famous actor, which only added to the drink's popularity.
With its sweet and refreshing flavor and classy appearance, the Shirley Temple is as good a drink for the grown-ups as it is for kids. You can mix it for yourself if you want an adult drink without alcohol. Or you make it the kid's cocktail for a family gathering.
Ingredients of the Shirley Temple Cocktail
The standard Shirley Temple is made with ginger ale, grenadine, lime juice, and a maraschino cherry for garnish. Ginger ale -as the name suggests- is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger.
Ginger Ale - the carbonation part
If you're not a big fan of it or want a low-calorie version of this mocktail- you can also substitute it with soda water. Of course, you could use other carbonated soft drinks, as well. But usually, they are quite sugary and won't go too well with the just as sweet grenadine. Either way, honor Shirley and give the original a try before you start experimenting.
Lime juice - the sour part
As for the citrus part: also for mocktails, I recommend sticking to mixology best-practice and using freshly squeezed lime juice. Don't make less of an effort just because the Shirley Temple is non-alcoholic. You will always taste the difference, and we want something that actually feels like a proper drink.
Grenadine - the sweet part
The third component is the grenadine. And over the past decade, the once-popular cocktail ingredient got quite a bad reputation. It's too sweet and too artificial. But that doesn't have to be the case.
Actually, grenadine is a fruit syrup based on pomegranate and orange blossom water. But in the 70s, when Tequila Sunrise became a thing thanks to Mick Jagger, many saved on their drink by using sugary, candy-like, cheap grenadine.
So, opt for a quality product, or use homemade grenadine instead. If you want to reduce the sugar in your Shirley Temple cocktail, sugar-free grenadine is an option, too.
Maraschino cherry - the garnish
The typical garnish for the iconic Shirley Temple mocktail is a Maraschino cherry. Since genuine maraschino cherries can be a bit pricey. And that's why they suffer from the same fate as grenadine.
Maraschino cherries are real cherries that get preserved and sweetened and some other things, too. And if you buy cheap, neon-colored cocktail cherries, they are not very pleasant. So, if you want the cherry, use a genuine one or homemade Maraschino cherries instead.
If you don't want to use them at all, you can go with a teaspoon of pomegranate kernels.
Why is it called Shirley Temple cocktail?
Shirley Temple was a Hollywood child actress in the 1930s. From 1935 to 1938, she was the highest-grossing box office star in the United States and was famous for family movies like Heidi or Wee Willie Winkie. What seems like half of the US must have had a Shirley Temple Doll at home.
Shirley Temple used to be among adults a lot. Yet she was a child and far from legal drinking age. Before she turned twelve, the hype about her person started to disappear, and in the 1950s, she turned to politics.
But even when she reached legal drinking age, she remained a committed non-drinker. Therefore, at a party, she once famously asked a bartender for "a non-alcoholic drink that would make her feel fancy, too". That's when the much-celebrated Shirley Temple cocktail was born.
How to make the best Shirley Temple
To make the perfect Shirley Temple cocktail, put a handful of ice cubes into a long drink glass. Then pour in the lime juice and the grenadine.
Use a grenadine of decent quality, for instance, Giffards or Monin, and freshly squeezed lime juice. These two ingredients make or break your Shirley Temple. It's either refreshing and pleasant or overly sweet.
Top everything up with Ginger Ale, use a bar spoon to stir your drink, and add a Maraschino cherry for garnish.
Keep in mind that the Shirley Temple is still quite a sweet drink. If you want to enjoy a mocktail that's a bit more balanced, you can try a Virgin Mojito - also made with Ginger Ale or a Virgin Margarita for a change. And for some more inspiration, here's a list of some more low-calorie mocktails.
Dirty Shirley Temple - the alcoholic version of the classy mocktail
There are some ways to twist and tweak the original Shirley Temple recipe. Some I mentioned above, like replacing Ginger Ale with Soda or using a sugar-free grenadine. And, of course, there's also an alcoholic version of this mocktail classic - the Dirty Shirley Temple.
To make your Shirley cocktail dirty, simply add 1.5 oz of Vodka to the recipe below and grab your cocktail shaker. Put grenadine, lime juice, Vodka, and some ice into your shaker and shake until it feels well-chilled.
Strain the content over ice into a long drink glass and top everything up with Ginger Ale. And to get the perfect Dirty Shirley Temple, garnish your drink with a Maraschino cherry.
- 2 tsp grenadine
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4.5 oz Ginger Ale
- Add ice cubes to your long drink glass, then pour grenadine and lime juice.
- Top up with Ginger Ale and stir gently.
- Garnish with a Maraschino cherry. Cheers!