Thirsty Thursdays: Shirley you could use a drink

cold alcohol bar party
The Shirley Temple, a virgin cocktail made with Sprite, grenadine, and maraschino cherries can be transformed into a Temple Grandin with a shot of vodka. Photo by Alena Darmel on

The Shirley Temple, a drink based on America’s Little Darling, is a staple virgin cocktail for children across the U.S. It’s delicious, sweet, bubbly and easy to make. And, just tasting one today can bring a full-grown adult back to their happy and innocent youth. But unfortunately, it isn’t exactly the hippest drink to order at the bar. Luckily for us, Jessica Day from “New Girl” changed all that. 

Dubbed either Dirty Shirley, Shirley on Vacation or — as Day prefers it — Temple Grandin, this alcoholic version of a childhood favorite is a revelation to the taste buds. It is still remarkably sweet, but made more tropical with the addition of coconut rum. So, how exactly do you make it? 

The virgin Shirley Temple is made with Sprite, grenadine and maraschino cherries. Depending on how much flavor you want, you can add a shot-equivalent or more of the grenadine, and fill the glass the rest of the way with Sprite. Obviously, the Sprite can be exchanged for any lemon lime soda if any isn’t on hand. And honestly, the maraschino cherries — like any garnish — are superfluous to the flavor and integrity of the drink. 

For Temple Grandin, you use all of the traditional ingredients, but add in one shot of vodka — ideally, but unrealistically, top shelf — and one shot of coconut rum. That’s really all there is to it. If you want to, you can zing it up by throwing in some edible glitter to make it sparkle or by filling it up with extra garnish such as lemon or lime slices. 

When I first tried this drink, I was astonished by the very fact that I hadn’t had it before. It should be a staple for everyone to drink at the bar. It should even replace the jungle juice at frat parties! I say we should normalize making alcoholic twists of childhood beverages, because let’s face it: Everything was a lot sweeter when we were kids.  

So pour white wine into your glass of lemonade! Mix fireball into your apple juice! Mix vodka into your grape juice! Chase a shot with a nice full pouch of Capri Sun. Why should we keep drinking beer and White Claw and shots, pretending that they’re delicious? I’m going to say it right now: Wine is not as tasty as juice. So thank you “New Girl” for introducing the world to a truly delicious cocktail.  

And dear reader, I hope that this weekend you find the time to treat yourself right and mix up a nice tall glass of Shirley on Vacation. Because I don’t know about you, but at this point in the semester, I definitely need a vacation. 

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