The Roy Rodgers drink is a classic mocktail made with cola and grenadine! Here’s how to make it, and a few ways to step it up.

Roy Rogers Drink

Looking for a classic mocktail to impress? Try the Roy Rodgers, a non-alcoholic cocktail starring cola and grenadine! This drink was born in the soda fountain days, a companion to the even more popular Shirley Temple. While it might be known as a kiddie cocktail, you can drink a Roy Rodgers at any age! Here we’ve got the classic recipe, and a few tricks to make it a little more palatable for adults (read: less sweet).

What’s a Roy Rodgers drink?

The Roy Rodgers drink is a non-alcoholic mocktail made with cola and grenadine. It’s similar to a Shirley Temple, but uses cola instead of ginger ale or lemon lime soda. The drink was named after Roy Rodgers, the 1940’s and 50’s movie star and singer famous for portraying cowboys in Westerns (he’s the man behind the song “Happy Trails”).

The history behind the Roy Rodgers drink is a bit murky. It’s likely it was invented in the 1940’s, possibly named as such because Roy Rodgers himself didn’t drink alcohol. It was popular throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s as the companion drink to the Shirley Temple. (Some say it was the “boy version,” but we prefer not to gender drinks around here!) To make a Roy Rodgers, you’ll need:

  • Cola
  • Grenadine, a pomegranate flavored bar syrup
Roy Rogers Drink

How to make the Roy Rodgers drink…and step it up

Because it’s built on cola, the Roy Rodgers drink is very sweet. This goes over well with the kiddos, of course! But if you’re an adult looking for a great mocktail, it’s a bit too saccharine. Here’s how to make a Roy Rodgers, and then add a few tweaks to make it more balanced for adult tastes:

  • Add ½ ounce grenadine to 6 ounces cola and stir. Make sure to stir well, otherwise you’ll have a massively sweet first sip.
  • Step it up: add a squeeze of lemon. Balance out all the sweetness with a little acidity! A lemon wedge adds brightness here.
  • Step it up: top off with soda water! How to make an even better Roy Rodgers? Top it off with soda water, aka club soda. This makes the flavor more nuanced and interesting, with a more subtle sweetness. But don’t worry, it’s still very sweet!

Want to step it up even more? If you’re ok with a hint of alcohol, add a few shakes of cocktail bitters! It gives a nuanced herbal flavor to the finish, which is AOK in our book.

Roy Rogers Drink

Grenadine: find a quality brand or try homemade

Many people think grenadine is cherry flavored: but it’s actually made with pomegranate! Grenadine is a red bar syrup named for pomegranate in French (grenade). Many syrups these days have artificial colors and sugars, so it’s nice to look for an all natural brand if you can.

  • Look for an all natural grenadine at your local liquor store. Keep in mind: it doesn’t have as bright of a red color as the artificial kind. This shouldn’t be an issue with the Roy Rodgers drink, since it’s dark in color.
  • Or, make homemade grenadine! It’s easy to make at home, and comes out beautifully. You can get the best bright red color and flavor with pomegranate seeds.

More classic mocktail recipes

The Roy Rodgers drink is about as 1950’s soda fountain mocktail as you can get! (Of course, the word mocktail wasn’t even invented back then.) Looking for more zero proof cocktails? Here are a few more great ones and spins on the classic

When to serve a Roy Rodgers drink

The Roy Rodgers drink is a bubbly and light mocktail; it’s perfect for sipping as a:

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Roy Rogers Drink


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Roy Rodgers drink is a classic mocktail made with cola and grenadine! Here’s how to make it, and a few ways to step it up.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 ounces* cola
  • ½ ounce grenadine
  • Squeeze of lemon, optional
  • Soda water, optional
  • Cocktail cherry, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour the cola and grenadine into an ice-filled highball glass, and stir with a cocktail spoon.
  2. For a more balanced drink, top it off with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of soda water. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and serve.

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Roy Rodgers drink, what is a roy rodgers drink

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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