How to make a Shirley Temple, the classic beloved mocktail

  • To make a classic Shirley Temple you need grenadine syrup, ginger ale, and maraschino cherries.
  • The popular mocktail is also commonly made with a squeeze of lime for extra zest.
  • You can add vodka to make a Dirty Shirley or rum to make a Shirley Temple Black.
  • Visit Insider’s Home & Kitchen Reference library for more stories.

Although the mocktail industry has become more sophisticated since the invention of the Shirley Temple, the drink’s ease and zesty appeal continue to draw in both children and adults alike nearly a century after it was first created.

The sweet-and-sour mocktail dates back to Beverley Hills in the late 1930s when a bartender at Chasen’s — a now-shuttered West Hollywood hotspot — invented the drink to serve child star, Shirley Temple.

“The recipe is the perfect mix of sweet and sour, a classic Shirley Temple can quench your thirst like no other drink, especially on a hot summer’s day,” shares Laura Ritterman, founder and recipe developer at Recipe Fairy. “To make the best Shirley Temple you will need ginger ale or ginger beer, grenadine, lime, and of course, the maraschino cherry.”

Although many newer recipes call for lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7-Up, a classic Shirley Temple uses ginger ale or ginger beer with a bit of lime. “This makes the drink a cut above the rest as it has a little bite to it,” explains Ritterman.

Shirley Temple variations

Two pink Shirley Temples in highball glasses garnished with cherries
A Dirty Shirley introduces vodka.
bhofack2/Getty Images

  • Roy Rogers: The Roy Rogers mocktail is nearly identical to the classic Shirley Temple, simply swap your ginger beer or lemon-lime soda with cola.
  • Shirley Temple with orange juice: To add an orange flavor, substitute half the soda with equal parts orange juice and add an orange slice alongside the maraschino cherries.
  • Dirty Shirley: This variation of the Shirley Temple requires the addition of an ounce of vodka and brandy-soaked cherries to garnish. 
  • Shirley Temple Black: Created as an ode to Shirley Temple’s married name, this alcoholic variation calls for an ounce of dark rum in place of vodka.
  • Don’t Call Me Shirley: For a slightly less sweet alcoholic variation, combine 1 ounce of dry gin with your soda of choice and replace the grenadine syrup with half an ounce of Cointreau.

Insider’s takeaway

The Shirley Temple has held its title as one of the most popular mocktails for kids and adults since the 1930s.  The sweet-and-sour drink has stemmed many variations—but the classic recipe combines ginger ale or ginger beer in a glass with ice, then gets topped with a splash of grenadine syrup, a touch of fresh lime juice to taste, and maraschino cherries to garnish. 

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