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A Shirley Temple is a sweet, non-alcoholic drink named after the child actress of the same name. Created during the 1930s, the original mixture was two parts ginger ale, one part orange juice and a small amount of grenadine. It usually was garnished with a cherry — many children's favorite part of a Shirley Temple — and possibly an orange slice. Modern versions of the drink rarely include orange juice, and lemon-lime soda or even grapefruit soda is often substituted for ginger ale, but the cherry has remained an essential part.
Created in California
The drink was created for Shirley Temple by a bartender in Beverly Hills, California. The bartender worked at Chasen’s, a restaurant that the young actress frequented. She could not drink alcohol, so the bartender sought to create a drink that would appeal to the actress' young palate, and the Shirley Temple was born.
The goal of this drink is to contrast the sparkle and acid of the soda base with the sweet grenadine. Too much grenadine makes the drink extremely sweet, so a minimal amount should be added. The grenadine also functions as a coloring for the drink.
The actress' popularity during the 1930s and 1940s helped the drink catch on, and many children would order Shirley Temples while dining out with their parents. Decades later, children might order them without understanding the reference. Some companies have attempted to bottle this drink, leading to the first soft drink that actually contained a cherry. These bottled drinks gradually lost popularity, but cherry-flavored versions of other sodas might be considered remnants of those attempts.
Other mixed drinks are related to Shirley Temples. One is the Roy Rogers, a non-alcoholic drink that consists of cola and grenadine — essentially a cherry cola. Unlike many mixed drinks that are created for adults and modified for children, the Shirley Temple has been modified for adults by adding alcohol. There are many varieties, such as a Dirty Shirley, also called a Shirley Vomit, which is a combination of lemon-lime soda, vodka and grenadine. A Shirley Temple-Black — the actress' married name after 1950 — consists of lemon-lime soda, grenadine and coffee-flavored liqueur.