KIMBERLY VOSS PhD, is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida. She blogs at womenspagehistory.com. She is the author of The Food Section (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and a co-author of Mad Men & Working Women (Peter Lang, 2014)
The death of Shirley Temple last month led to an interest in the history of the Shirley Temple cocktail. The drink is named, of course, for child actress Shirley Temple who began her Hollywood career at age three in 1932 and went on to be a U.S. diplomat as Shirley Temple Black.
Several restaurants claimed to be the first to create the sweet non-alcoholic beverage. It typically consists of ginger ale and a splash of grenadine, topped with maraschino cherries. One legend is that on Temple’s 10th birthday, a bartender at Beverly Hills restaurant Chasen’s first created the drink for Temple to drink when she dined there with other adults. Another tale is that the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii invented the drink because the child star with curly hair was a frequent guest. In addition, the Brown Derby in Hollywood marketed drinks with celebrity names, and also may have originated the Shirley Temple.
Temple said she actually never liked the drink but did protect her image in relation to the beverage. She sued and won when a soda company wanted to produce a drink called a Shirley T. She was quoted in the New York Times about it: “I will fight it like a tigress. All a celebrity has is their name.’” The drink continues to be popular and has inspired some adult versions with alcohol.
Here is a recipe for an adult version of the drink:
Ambassador Shirley Temple
- 4 oz Ginger Ale
- 2 oz Cherry Vodka
- Dash of Grenadine
- Maraschino cherry for garnish