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16 Fun Ways To Upgrade Your Shirley Temple Drink

ways to upgrade Shirley Temple
ways to upgrade Shirley Temple - Static Media / Shutterstock

We've all likely tried a Shirley Temple drink at some point in our lives. Perhaps you tried it for the first time as a kid, feeling fancy as you ordered it at a restaurant. Maybe you sampled it as an adult and loved the bubbly, sweet concoction. It's not a basic soda, but it's not too complicated, either. The Shirley Temple drink combines ginger ale, ginger beer, or a lemon-lime soda with grenadine, Maraschino cherries, and sometimes lemon or lime. The story goes that the non-alcoholic beverage was created for child star Shirley Temple to drink while she was at a restaurant.

While its complete history is unclear and unsubstantiated, it's safe to say that the Shirley Temple became the grandmother of all mocktails thanks to its popularity, long existence, and ease of making. It doesn't inherently involve any complicated steps like blending or muddling, but you can do certainly so to mix things up. Whether you want to cool off on a sweltering day with a blended iced drink or you want to spend your afternoon crafting every component from scratch, we have a lot of fun ways to upgrade a Shirley Temple drink.

Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have

Squeeze In Some Fresh Fruit Juice

lineup of fresh fruit juices
lineup of fresh fruit juices - Mtreasure/Getty Images

If there's a fruit, there's likely a juice for it. There are many types of juices on the market, but you can squeeze it yourself if it's not ready and available to purchase at the store. Use classic orange juice or make a grown-up Shirley Temple mocktail with citrus such as Cara Cara oranges. Buy or squeeze grapefruit juice for an invigorating tartness that goes with grenadine. Lean into the sweetness with a splash of apple juice that balances the bite of ginger beer.

Cranberry juice is a flavorsome option because it fits with the usual Shirley Temple color and it also has a notable tanginess without being terribly sour. You can even come up with your concoction by mixing juice combinations like cranberry and apple juice. Pick your juice or juice blend for taste purposes or if you're a visual person, choose the juice based on the color that you want your drink to be. Pomegranate juice is a no-brainer since it matches perfectly with grenadine, which is also pomegranate-based, but you'll also get the pinkish-red hue of a standard Shirley Temple.

Swap Or Add Another Syrup

making strawberry syrup
making strawberry syrup - Pinkybird/Getty Images

Grenadine is a popular syrup for many drinks from the tequila sunrise to a rum punch. It might be obvious to some, but grenadine is a pomegranate-based syrup that is often confused with cherry. Since cherries are part of a Shirley Temple, you could try cherry syrup as a simple alternative. Swap grenadine with strawberry syrup to keep the classic rosy color combo or try a blueberry syrup to give it a stunning blue-purple hue.

Make syrup from scratch or integrate your favorite premade one like blue raspberry, lime, or watermelon. If you have extra time to make fresh syrup, you might be impressed with how rich and potent the flavors are. But there's nothing wrong with using premade syrups, especially because they come in a wide range of flavors. As nice as it is to craft passionfruit syrup yourself unless you plan to finish the entire thing within a few days, it's better to use a readymade syrup with a longer shelf life.

Goodbye Maraschino Cherry, Use A Different Cherry

red maraschino cherries with stems
red maraschino cherries with stems - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Known for its (artificial) vivid red shade and candy-like syrupy sweetness, the Maraschino cherry is often used in drinks and desserts like hot fudge sundaes. The Maraschino cherry may be the standard for the Shirley Temple drink, but you can choose from any of the other types of cherries out there. If you want a sugary flavor similar to Maraschino, then go for the Amarena cherry. This Italian variety is soaked in syrup and can be found in jars or cans in certain grocery stores.

The Montmorency cherry has scarlet skin and a tart taste that makes a good option for Shirley Temple, particularly if you want something to cut the sweetness. If you're seeking looks alone, Queen Anne Cherry's yellow, red, and light orange exterior makes an alluring choice. When you're struggling to find certain cherries at your farmers market, just opt for a Bing cherry. It'll be easy to locate since it's one of the most popular types of cherries available in the United States.

Enhance The Taste With Fresh Herbs

rosemary and sage herbs
rosemary and sage herbs - Stock_colors/Getty Images

We're not talking about putting parsley in your mocktail. Rosemary, mint, lemongrass, and lemon verbena are among the best herbs to add to your cocktails. Herbs like fresh sage can enhance your drink and give it levels of flavor you wouldn't see at your average restaurant. Fresh sage has notes of pine, pepper, and mint that go well with lemon or lime soda.

Mint is always a good choice, especially if you want a refreshing taste. You can go for peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, or any of the mint varieties. Thyme provides a minty, citrusy, woody combination that can be a mix of peppery and sweet. This correlates with the verve of a ginger beer. Tarragon has a light licorice taste, so while it might not be for everyone, it can give you a Shirley Temple some unexpected depth. If you're skeptical about some of these herbal elements, start with one leaf at a time or a small sprig to see how you like it.

Freeze It To Make An Ice Pop

frozen ice pops
frozen ice pops - Janecocoa/Getty Images

Pick your favorite ice pop mold to create a frozen version of the Shirley Temple drink. There are a range of shapes and sizes — some are round, square, or triangular while others are thin, thick, or miniature-sized. You might be able to acquire other novelty shapes like dinosaurs or certain movie characters. This is the ideal treat to bring out of the freezer on a hot day when nothing seems to hit the spot.

Pop out your homemade summer ice pops from the freezer and enjoy them in the shade. Don't forget those classic wooden ice cream sticks for a nostalgic experience. Make a Shirley Temple as usual and then add them into your molds, place the stick in, and then freeze. You could keep it simple or you can freeze them into layers. Try a layer of the grenadine and lemon line soda mixture, freeze, a layer of chopped cherries, freeze, a layer of soda, and continue layering until filled. There's a lot of wiggle room with ice pops.

Have Some Fun With The Garnish

various forms of garnish
various forms of garnish - Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

There are many creative, colorful, and appetizing garnish options out there that can enhance the look and taste of your beverages. Whether you're into fruits, edible glitter, or little umbrellas, there are plenty of garnishes to pick from. Garnish with a cinnamon stick for a spiced addition to your Shirley Temple. This goes particularly together if you use ginger ale or an apple or orange component in your revamped Shirley Temple. Similarly, whole black peppercorns or whole star anise can make a Shirley Temple look like the most sophisticated of drinks.

For edible garnishes like fruit, use a cookie cutter to get uniform shapes such as a star, heart, or classic circle. Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and cucumber cutouts would be colorful and tasty. Rather than the standard one Maraschino cherry, stack a few cherries onto a skewer for an elevated look. Sprinkle edible glitter or edible confetti on the top of your Shirley Temple for a whimsical garnish, particularly great if you're celebrating something. Non-edible garnishes could be adorable cocktail umbrellas, mini flags, or an interesting whirly twirly colorful straw.

Put An Adult Spin On It With Alcohol

dirty Shirley cocktail with vodka
dirty Shirley cocktail with vodka - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

The Shirley Temple drink is one of the most popular mocktails out there, but you can make it into a 21-and-up version with a boozy twist. The alcohol alternative, called the Dirty Shirley, usually calls for vodka but plenty of alcohols go with ginger beer or lemon-lime soda. Try it with spiced rum for a smooth, complex addition to your cocktail no matter which soda base you use. Gin provides botanical notes that would complement the spiciness of a ginger beer or ginger ale.

Keep things sparkling with alcohol such as champagne, rosé, or your favorite sparkling wine. These options intensify the fizziness of the lemon-lime soda for an extra bubbly beverage, making it a delightful choice for carbonation fans. Since it often accompanies soda anyway, whiskey works well with ginger ale or your lemony soda of choice. When using a citrus soda like Sprite or 7UP, try tequila, particularly if you also add in fresh lime juice. Tequila and lime are a superior duo.

Punch Things Up With Freshly Grated Ginger

freshly grated ginger
freshly grated ginger - LN team/Shutterstock

Fans of ginger should consider adding it fresh to their drink. The Shirley Temple wavers between a ginger-based mixer or lemon-lime soda, but ginger aficionados often prefer the potency of ginger beer over ginger ale. The difference between ginger ale and ginger beer boils down to the spice level. Ginger ale is sweeter and lighter in its ginger taste, while ginger beer is a brewed and fermented beverage. If you find yourself always yearning for more ginger, you should also include freshly grated ginger in your Shirley Temple.

The fresh inclusion has a memorable spice to it that gives you a nice kick on the tongue. First, peel your ginger so you don't get any skins in your drink. Finely grate or microplane the root as the simplest way to add fresh ginger to your drink. If you have a four-sided grater, use the fine side so you don't get large pieces. You want it to practically be a pulp. Mix it into your beverage. It not only enhances the ginger taste but will give it a pulp like you'd find in an orange juice with pulp or a fresh lemonade. Give your Shirley Temple a peppy improvement with fresh ginger.

Make It Colorful With Flavored Ice Cubes

wine in ice cube tray
wine in ice cube tray - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

Freeze a batch of flavored ice cubes to use in your mocktails. And here's the kicker: They don't have to be cube-shaped at all. Check out enticing molds to create ice shapes like hearts, skulls, spheres, and more. Keep things simple by freezing ginger beer or the lemon-lime soda so it's a perfect pairing for the Shirley Temple. Mix a little bit of grenadine with your preferred soda base to make it an exact color match. Upgrade your drink by freezing up a batch of cherry ice cubes; Put a Maraschino cherry in each ice cube along with ginger ale or ginger liqueur and then freeze.

Pour in your favorite rosé wine to add an adult spin with a pleasant pink hue. Create ice cubes that incorporate different flavors, colors, and textures. Make infused ice cubes with simple syrup and a lemon peel strip for a lemon-centric Shirley Temple. Place blueberries or pomegranate seeds with your soda for a sweet and tart combination that'll slowly transform the color of your drink as it melts. Making interesting ice cubes comes as one of the simplest ways to upgrade your Shirley Temple drink.

Lighten Things Up With Sparkling Water

sparkling water close up
sparkling water close up - New Africa/Shutterstock

Pop open a can of sparkling water to give your Shirley Temple a lighter taste. Try using plain sparkling water and then squeezing in some fresh lime or lemon juice. For convenience, you can use a lemon or lime-flavored sparkling water. This version of the drink will have less sugar than it would with lemon-lime soda, so it's a handy option if you want to lower the sugar content of your mocktail.

It still has a refreshing crispness since it's cold and bubbly. Try a mixture of lemon sparkling water and pomegranate sparkling water to keep in the fresh flavor profile of the original Shirley Temple. And you can even throw in some freshly grated ginger to give it that gingery edge. If you have the technology, make your own sparkling water and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and a handful of pomegranate arils.

Give It A Floral Twist

close-up of lavender
close-up of lavender - Borchee/Getty Images

Try incorporating edible flowers or floral infusions into your beverage. Muddle lavender flowers in with your grenadine and then strain. This can provide a floral element without any clumps. Avoid mixing or straining with the carbonated component like your ginger ale otherwise, the muddling and straining will remove the carbonation. On the other hand, this is a simple way to get rid of some of those bubbles if you don't love carbonation.

Edible flowers like chamomile, lilac, and nasturtium offer a colorful pop, while a splash of floral water such as rose water or orange blossom water can enhance the aromatics of your beverage. The floral waters can complement the flavors of the grenadine and soda for a refreshing twist. Place one or two hibiscus flowers into each beverage to allow it time to steep. Better yet, if you're making larger batches of Shirley Temple, place a few flowers into the soda bottle itself. Close the lid and then allow it time to steep before you add it to your drinks. Give your Shirley Temple a floral profile that will entice your senses.

Blend It With Ice For A Cold Treat

blended red drink in cup
blended red drink in cup - Boontoom Sae-Kor/Shutterstock

Frosés and blended drinks are all the rage during summertime. From White Claw slushies to frozen Negronis to piña coladas, these blended drinks are a welcome refreshment on a hot day. Why not do the same with your Shirley Temple? Whether you make a standard Shirley or a Dirty Shirley, gather all the usual components and then add them to a blender. The only extra ingredient is a bunch of ice or flavored ice.

Blend thoroughly and serve with a spoon or a large straw. Granted, this will remove most of the carbonation, but it will offer a unique way to indulge in your drink. It's an impeccable mocktail to serve poolside or at a BBQ amongst friends. For extra flavor and texture, toss in a couple of Maraschino cherries for each drink serving. It'll give it a glint of red and a touch of sweetness to each sip.

Skip The Soda And Use Homemade Lemonade Or Limeade

fresh lemonade with mint
fresh lemonade with mint - Chas53/Getty Images

Lemon lime soda is crisp and rejuvenating, but sometimes you want a little upgrade. Consider making classic lemonade or limeade by hand to pour into your drink. It's pretty easy to make at home as long as you have a decent amount of either fruit. You could make it more on the sweet side with additional sugar or keep it tart and fruity with more fresh-squeezed juice.

Whether you make limeade or lemonade, you'll want to begin by dissolving the sugar into the water to get rid of those sugar granules and fully incorporate it into your drink. Rather than using regular granulated sugar, give it a spin by using brown sugar, coconut sugar, honey, or agave for additional depth and slight color changes. Use a lemon squeezer to get out all the juices. For a lemon-lime vibe, opt for half lemon, half lime. Combine everything, allow time to chill, and then you can use it for your Shirley Temple. Homemade lemonade and limeade is a fresh, zesty, and sweet addition to your mocktail.

Throw In Something Creamy

cherry ice cream with cone
cherry ice cream with cone - Wirestock/Getty Images

Discover inspiration from cream sodas or floats for your next Shirley Temple by adding a creamy element. The carbonation and cream work together in harmony to create a song for your taste buds. Plop a dollop of coconut cream in your bevy for a rich, distinct coconut flavor that won't alter the sweetness. Opt for an unsweetened coconut cream or try coconut milk if you prefer something lighter.

Half and half provides a neutrality that coconut milk doesn't have, but it's equally as decadent. Add a tablespoon to each beverage serving to give it a milky look. Gather inspiration from root beer floats by using cherry ice cream in your Shirley Temple. Grab a spoon and dig in as the ice cream slowly melts into the drink. When it comes to creating ice cream cocktails, go for complementary flavor pairings. Vanilla ice cream is a classic choice, particularly if it has those beautiful vanilla bean flecks in it. Coconut ice cream goes deliciously with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.

Got Extra Time? Make Everything From Scratch

homemade pomegranate syrup in jars
homemade pomegranate syrup in jars - Alexander Donin/Getty Images

When you've got some time to kill, you want to sharpen your skills in the kitchen, or you simply to impress yourself, make a Shirley Temple entirely from scratch. We're talking about brewing ginger beer, making grenadine, the whole nine yards. We don't particularly recommend making your own Maraschino cherries, so instead, just buy Luxardo brand Maraschino cherries or make brandied cherries.

When you make your components at home, you'll notice the quality change. Rather than a generic premade ginger ale, a homemade version will have a lot more sting to it. Homemade grenadine syrup is uncomplicated but flavorful and you can store leftovers in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Now everything is fresh, potent, and delicious. Plus, you get the satisfaction of doing something yourself, so you can give yourself an accomplished pat on the back once you take that first sip.

Bring Out The Sweetness With Candied Fruit

candied ginger pieces
candied ginger pieces - Drbouz/Getty Images

Candied fruit might elevate your Shirley Temple to delightful heights. It's chewy, sweet, and totally satisfactory. Candied ginger is an ideal choice for a Shirley Temple made with ginger ale or ginger beer and it's easy to create. It has the signature sharpness but with the sweet crunch of crystallized sugar. You only need ginger, water, and sugar. It's a spicy and sweet addition to your mocktail, but you might just end up eating it on its own. Place a few small pieces on a skewer and add them to your cup.

Candied lemon or lime wheels work with a lemon-lime soda-based version of the drink, whereas candied orange peel could be a solid choice no matter what drink base you use. Cut a slice in the candied citrus and place on the rim of your cup. When seeking fun ways to upgrade your Shirley Temple drink, candied fruit can transform a standard mocktail into an exciting one.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.