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Here’s the best Shirley Temple, the original mocktail! The classic way to make this drink skips soda: it’s just ginger ale, grenadine, and lime.

Classic Shirley Temple

Here’s the most classic mocktail there is: the Shirley Temple! Now, listen. This isn’t the overly sweet, syrupy version of this drink. The classic way is actually made without soda: just three ingredients and totally clean flavors. It’s not just for kids! This mocktail works for anyone looking for a bubbly, refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Even better: try our all-natural homemade grenadine syrup that skips the artificial flavors and colors. Yep, this is the very best Shirley Temple drink out there.

What’s in a Shirley Temple?

The Shirley Temple drink has gotten a bad rap over the years. In fact, Shirley Temple herself didn’t like them and called them “too sweet.” But the original version of the drink, while, sweet, is much more nuanced in flavor. Invented in the 1930’s and then named after the famous actress, this drink actually wasn’t originally made with Sprite. The ingredients in this classic Shirley Temple are:

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Grenadine
  • Lime juice
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish
Shirley temple

Where’s the lemon lime soda?

As time went on, the Shirley Temple drink started to be made with lemon lime soda (that is, Sprite!) or a combination of ginger ale and sprite. But the real way to make a Shirley Temple was always ginger ale! If you have it on hand for Moscow Mules you can also use ginger beer instead: it has a very similar flavor.

Alex and I also added fresh lime juice to our Shirley Temple: partly to give a nod to Sprite, but mostly to bring out the flavors with tangy lime. Mixed together, the flavors work in the original way they were intended: a refreshing and fruity mocktail!

More drinks with ginger ale? Try Classic Ginger Ale Cocktails.

Homemade grenadine
This homemade grenadine has vibrant color, made naturally from pomegranate seeds

Grenadine is not cherry…it’s pomegranate

The star ingredient of the Shirley Temple is grenadine syrup. This non-alcoholic bar syrup is used in lots of grenadine cocktails, most famously the Tequila Sunrise, Singapore Sling, and Clover Club. Contrary to what most people think, it’s not cherry flavored: it’s made of pomegranate juice! The word grenadine actually comes from the French word for pomegranate.

Because many grenadine syrups you buy at the store have artificial flavors and colors, we have a recipe for all natural homemade grenadine! It’s actually very easy to make from pomegranate seeds and sugar. The flavor is incredible and it comes out with this brilliant red color. We highly recommend giving it a try! Go to How to Make Grenadine.

Take it up a notch: add clear ice!

Here’s a way to make your Shirley Temple drink really stand out: use clear ice! Clear ice is ice you can make that looks just like the kind they use in a fancy bar. It’s crystal clear with none of the cloudiness of normal ice. Even better, you can cut it into large chunks like you’d get at a bar. It’s very easy to make and takes just 24 hours! Go to How to Make Clear Ice.

Variation: make a Dirty Shirley

Want to make an adult version of the Shirley Temple? Add vodka for the Dirty Shirley! It’s an easy way to have the same flavors in a cocktail. Simply add 1 shot vodka (2 ounces) to the recipe below.

Shirley Temple drink

More mocktails

Looking for more mocktails and virgin drinks? Try these:

  • Roy Rodgers Just like a Shirley Temple, but with cola!
  • Virgin Margarita This virgin margarita tastes just as good as the real thing! This mocktail is tangy and lightly sweet, with a secret ingredient that takes it over the top
  • Virgin Piña Colada This virgin piña colada is icy and perfectly flavored with pineapple and coconut: great for parties!
  • Virgin Bloody Mary Spicy, salty, savory and tangy: perfect for brunch!

When to serve a Shirley Temple

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

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Classic Shirley Temple

Classic Shirley Temple

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s the best Shirley Temple, the original mocktail! The classic way to make this drink skips soda: it’s just ginger ale, grenadine, and lime.


  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) grenadine (try our homemade version)
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • 5 ounces (2/3 cup) ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Ice (try clear ice!)
  • For the garnish: cocktail cherry


  1. In a highball glass, stir together the grenadine and lime juice.
  2. Add the ice and fill the glass with the ginger ale. Top with cherry.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Mocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Shirley Temple Drink, Shirley Temple Cocktail, Mocktail Recipe, Best Shirley Temple

Great bubbly cocktails

Like cocktails, not just mocktails? Here are a few great cocktails that are bubbly and refreshing:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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