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Our Shirley Temple recipe is a big hit with the littles. You can use our homemade sour cherry syrup or bottled grenadine, and make other customizations to suit your tastes. Here’s how to do it.

shirley temple recipe with sour cherries in a glass with a straw
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Why we love this recipe

My favorite thing about a Shirley Temple is the way it makes a kid’s eyes light up. With its sweet, fruity flavors and gorgeous jewel tones, this “special drink” is such an easy way to signal a special moment or a special occasion. Our version gives you the option of adding a bit of bright, seasonal nuance with fresh sour cherries.

I first published this recipe here back in 2018. I’ve updated the post for clarity and given you a few additional options in the recipe. You can learn more about the history of this drink here.

child standing outside smiling and holding a shirley temple

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • For the soda, you can use ginger ale (which is traditional) or a lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7UP (increasingly popular in modern incarnations of this drink). If you’re so inclined, feel free to use an all-natural version.
  • For the syrup, if you’re lucky enough to have sour cherries on hand, I highly recommend making homemade sour cherry syrup. It really levels up the flavor of this drink. If not, or if you’re serving very picky drinkers, good old grenadine (which is made from pomegranates) works great, too.
  • To garnish, you can use fresh sour cherries or jarred or homemade maraschinos.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a great Shirley Temple recipe. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Place plenty of ice into a tall, kid-friendly glass.
  2. Fill it almost to the top with soda.
  3. Pour in the syrup.
  4. Garnish with cherries, add a fun straw if you like, and serve.

Expert tips and FAQs

What is a Sour Shirley?

Our twist on the classic incorporates sour cherries to give the drink a dimension beyond sweetness. If you’re using grenadine, you can also give the drink a nice tart edge by adding a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

What is a Dirty Shirley?

This grownup-friendly version incorporates vodka. Use two ounces per drink.

What is a Shirley Temple Black?

It depends who you ask. One sure thing is that this version is also named after the actress/singer/dancer/diplomat/activist. And everyone seems to agree that this cocktail includes rum, though whether it’s light or dark varies by bartender.

Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Here’s one version, and here’s another.

Can I batch this drink?

Sure. If you like, you can mix a batch of Shirley Temples in a pitcher and pour into ice-filled glasses. For eight drinks, two liters (64 fl. ounces) soda and 2 cups (16 fl. ounces) syrup.

sour cherry shirley temple in someone's hand outdoors

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shirley temple recipe with sour cherries in a glass with a straw
5 from 3 votes

Sour Cherry Shirley Temple

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Our Shirley Temple recipe gives you plenty of options. Make it extra special with homemade sour cherry syrup, or go traditional with grenadine. Either way, it's always a big hit with the littles.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 1
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Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Place plenty of ice into a tall, kid-friendly glass.
  • Pour in the soda.
  • Stir in the syrup.
  • Garnish with cherries, add a fun straw if you like, and serve.

Notes

  1. Sour Shirley variation: Our twist on the classic incorporates sour cherries to give the drink a dimension beyond sweetness. If you’re using grenadine, you can also give the drink a nice tart edge by adding a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  2. Dirty Shirley variation: This grownup-friendly version incorporates vodka. Use two ounces per drink.
  3. Batch variation: If you like, you can mix a batch of Shirley Temples in a pitcher and pour into ice-filled glasses. For eight drinks, two liters (64 fl. ounces) soda and 2 cups (16 fl. ounces) syrup.

Nutrition

Calories: 120kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Virgin Drinks
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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