How Did Shirley Temple Get A Drink Named After Her?

Like most food lore, there are conflicting accounts of the drink's origin.
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by Kimberly Kohatsu, Managing Editor for the Menuism Restaurant Blog

I've often wondered how one goes about becoming the name of a drink. I fantasize about the day someone orders a Kim Kohatsu, though I haven't given much thought to what would go in the glass. If history is any indication, that step may not be as important.

Child actress Shirley Temple began her career in 1932, at the age of three. On her 10th birthday, a bartender at Beverly Hills restaurant Chasen's is said to have created a non-alcoholic cocktail to serve to her while she dined with her parents and older celebrities. The Shirley Temple consists of ginger ale and a splash of grenadine, topped with maraschino cherries. But, like most food lore, there are conflicting accounts of the drink's origin. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki also claims to have invented the drink, since Shirley Temple was a frequent guest there. In addition, the Brown Derby in Hollywood marketed drinks with celebrity names, and also may have originated the Shirley Temple. Oddly enough, the actress herself said she actually never liked the drink, and opposes the concept of cocktails (even non-alcoholic) for children. She has fought several attempts to use her name in unauthorized bottled sodas, saying "All a celebrity has is their name."

Roy Rogers, the teetotaler actor and singer, also has a non-alcoholic drink named for him. His consists of cola and grenadine, topped with maraschino cherries. This mocktail is sometimes also called the Shirley Temple Black, which is Shirley Temple's married name. Less is known about the origin of the Roy Rogers, though some accounts simply chalk it up to being the boy's version of the Shirley Temple. The cowboy is perhaps better known for the small chain of fried chicken restaurants that bear his name that are found up and down the mid-Atlantic.

One star has capitalized on his eponymous drink: Arnold Palmer. The half-lemonade, half-iced tea concoction is embraced by the golf legend. According to him, he would make this drink at home, and in the late 1960s, while at a bar in Palm Springs, he ordered it. A woman nearby overheard him, and asked the bartender for "that Palmer drink." The golfer has since lent his name to a mass-produced version of the drink, bottled by the Arizona Beverage Company.

So, it seems, the first step in having a drink named after you is to be famous for something else. Then begin ordering your unique drink somewhere in California, at a volume loud enough to be heard by those around you. Then wait for your order to popularize, and voilà! Instant beverage fame.

Kimberly Kohatsu is the Managing Editor of the Menuism Dining Blog, the educational arm of, a popular website where a passionate community of foodies rate their favorite dishes and comment on restaurants they've visited. Kim is also a freelance writer and marketing consultant, whose recent dining adventures revolve around ramen, cheeseburgers, and fried chicken.

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