Updated at: 16-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Ever wondered where the classic non-alcoholic drink, Shirley Temple, originated?

This sweet and fizzy mocktail was actually named after one of Hollywood’s most famous child stars.

In this blog post, we’ll take an exciting trip back in time to uncover the history, origin, and recipe of this popular drink.

Dive in and discover why the Shirley Temple has stood the test of time!

History of the Shirley Temple Drink

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Origins at Chasen’s restaurant

Chasen’s restaurant in West Hollywood, California, plays a pivotal role in the origin story of the Shirley Temple drink. The establishment claims to have invented this iconic mocktail during the mid-1930s.

According to popular lore, a bartender concocted it specifically for then child actress, Shirley Temple, who often dined at Chasen’s with her parents.

Wanting to join in on adult cocktail fun but restricted by age consideration, she found delight as they replaced alcohol with non-alcoholic ginger ale and a dash of grenadine topped with a cherry.

This whimsical combination quickly became an instant hit and would eventually gain recognition far beyond Chasen’s doors.

Today, we know this effervescent beverage by its star namesake – the Shirley Temple Drink.

Alternative claims to its invention

Other claims have been made regarding the invention of the Shirley Temple drink. Some argue that it was created at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Hawaii, while others claim it originated at a different Hollywood restaurant.

Despite these alternative theories, Chasen’s restaurant still holds the most widely accepted claim to its invention.

The role of the Brown Derby restaurant

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The Brown Derby restaurant played a significant role in the history of the Shirley Temple drink. Located in Hollywood, California, it was at this iconic establishment that the mocktail gained popularity and became synonymous with child actress Shirley Temple.

The Brown Derby’s bartenders perfected the recipe by combining ginger ale and grenadine to create this delightful nonalcoholic beverage.

With its association to both Hollywood and the charming young star, the Brown Derby cemented itself as a pivotal player in bringing the Shirley Temple drink into cocktail culture.

Recipe and Ingredients of the Shirley Temple Drink

Non-alcoholic components

The Shirley Temple drink is made with several non-alcoholic components. Here are the key ingredients that make up this famous mocktail:

  1. Ginger ale: This carbonated beverage forms the base of the Shirley Temple drink, providing a refreshing and fizzy element.
  2. Grenadine: A sweet and fruity syrup made from pomegranates, grenadine adds a vibrant red color to the drink and lends it a signature flavor.
  3. Maraschino cherries: These bright red cherries serve as a garnish for the Shirley Temple drink, adding sweetness and visual appeal.
  4. Orange juice: While not always included in every recipe, some variations of the Shirley Temple drink call for a splash of orange juice to enhance the taste and add a citrusy twist.
  5. Lemon-lime soda: In some versions, lemon-lime soda is used instead of ginger ale to give the drink an extra tangy flavor profile.

Variations and additions

Restaurants and bars have put their own spin on the classic Shirley Temple drink, creating variations and additions to suit different tastes. Here are some popular variations you may come across:

  1. Virgin Colada: This tropical twist on the Shirley Temple replaces the ginger ale with pineapple juice and coconut cream, giving it a refreshing pina colada flavor.
  2. Cherry Limeade: Adding a splash of lime juice to the traditional ginger ale and grenadine combo gives the Shirley Temple a tangy kick. It’s perfect for those who prefer a slightly more zesty taste.
  3. Blue Hawaiian: For a fun and colorful twist, some bartenders add blue curacao to create a Blue Hawaiian Shirley Temple. The vibrant blue color is sure to catch your eye!
  4. Sparkling Lemonade: If you’re looking for a lighter option, try swapping out the ginger ale for sparkling lemonade. It adds a fresh citrusy taste that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of grenadine.
  5. Fruit Punch: To make a fruity Shirley Temple, mix in some fruit punch along with the classic ginger ale and grenadine combination. It adds extra flavors like pineapple, orange, and cherry for a more complex taste.
  6. Floats and Milkshakes: Some places take things up a notch by turning the Shirley Temple into an indulgent dessert drink. They add scoops of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a creamy float or blend it all together for a delicious milkshake.
  7. Adult Versions: While traditionally non-alcoholic, some bartenders have created adult versions of the Shirley Temple by adding spirits like vodka or rum. These boozy twists give the drink an added kick but should be enjoyed responsibly.

Popularity and Legacy of the Shirley Temple Drink

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Appeal to children and young adults

Children and young adults are particularly drawn to the Shirley Temple drink for its sweet and fun flavors.

With its vibrant colors and fruity taste, it’s no wonder why this mocktail has become a favorite among younger audiences.

The combination of ginger ale, grenadine, and a maraschino cherry garnish creates an irresistible treat that appeals to their taste buds.

Whether they’re celebrating a special occasion or just enjoying a night out with family or friends, children and young adults can enjoy the Shirley Temple in both kid-friendly restaurants and establishments that cater to all ages.

The non-alcoholic nature of the Shirley Temple drink also adds to its appeal for children and young adults. Parents can feel comfortable allowing their kids to partake in this delightful beverage without worry.

Continued presence in cocktail culture

The Shirley Temple drink has maintained its presence in cocktail culture, even though it is a non-alcoholic beverage.

It continues to be popular at bars and restaurants as a refreshing option for those who prefer not to consume alcohol.

Many places offer their own variations of the Shirley Temple, adding different flavors or garnishes to make it unique. People of all ages still enjoy this iconic mocktail, making it a timeless choice for any occasion.

In addition, the name “Shirley Temple” has become synonymous with any nonalcoholic cocktail made with ginger ale and grenadine. This shows how influential the drink has been in shaping cocktail culture.


The origins of the Shirley Temple drink can be traced back to Chasen’s restaurant in California. Despite alternative claims to its invention, it is undeniably linked with child actress Shirley Temple.

The popularity and legacy of this mocktail continue to thrive, appealing to both children and young adults alike.