The history of the Shirley Temple, how to make a gobsmackingly thirst-quenching one, and how to make Shirley Temple’s evil twin

So I’d just arrived in Lisbon and it was hot, and I was tired. I’d just traipsed around the Lisbon Time Out food market and I felt underwhelmed and disenchanted. But the sun had a long way to go until it was under the yardarm.

I wandered along the quay until I found a comfortable looking hostelry – squashy leather sofas, some shade, and an interesting menu. And it was here that I found something that I wasn’t expecting, a mocktail with possibilities as it were.

The Shirley Temple is basically a ginger ale, blushed pink with grenadine. A maraschino cherry should feature.

History of the Shirley Temple

The theory is that the drink was concocted in the 1930s for the child star, Shirley Temple by a barman in Beverley Hills. But Shirley Temple herself was not a fan, “I hate them. Too sweet!”, she is reported as saying. You just need to take a look at her performing in the clip at the bottom of this post to see why she might have been allergic to ‘sweet’.

How to make a not-too-sweet Shirley Temple

In any case, she’s right – it is a bit sweet – which is a reason for not substituting lemonade for the ginger ale, either in part, or completely. A few drops of lemon juice wouldn’t go amiss either….

That would mean that to make one you would put two teaspoons of grenadine into a chilled glass, and top it up with 160 ml/⅔ cup ginger ale, a few drops of lemon juice, and lots of ice.

If you are being purist you should garnish with a maraschino cherry, but in Lisbon they skipped this frippery, and at The Leopard Bar in London, they served the drink with a slice of lemon instead, and it was none the worse for it.

Shirley Temple at The Leopard Bar – dashingly served with a slice of lemon instead of the mandatory maraschino

How to turn Shirley alcaholic – into either a Dirty Shirley… or Shirley Temple’s Evil Twin

If you add vodka or rum to a Shirley Temple, you get a Dirty Shirley.

Alternatively, In a nifty little volume by Karen Brooks et al, entitled Highballs High Heels, I found a recipe for Shirley Temple’s Evil Twin. The authors promise:

“The bubbly-pink soda sipped by a million 10-year-old princesses since the ‘50s has grown up and become a lot more interesting…one of these and you’ll want to throw Leo overboard for Tony Soprano.”

This concoction uses 1 part Kirschwasser or cherry brandy to 3 parts ginger ale, and the splash of grenadine. Each person gets no less than SIX cherry ice cubes (tinned cherries which have been frozen in ice).

If Shirley Temple thought the traditional mocktail was too sweet, I think she would be turning in her grave thinking of this cloying variation!

Music to ponder as you sip

If you haven’t had enough of sugar yet, watch Shirley Temple’s most famous turn… On The Good Ship Lollipop.

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