Shirley Temple Float

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A delicious ice cream float twist on the classic Shirley Temple drink.  The Shirley Temple Float is not only yummy to drink, it’s so pretty, too! Vanilla ice cream, lemon lime soda, grenadine, whipped cream and maraschino cherries, will bring a smile to kids of all ages!


When we go out to dinner our twins usually order a Shirley Temple. I loved having Shirley Temples at my grandparents as a kid, too.

We would go over their house on Saturday nights, the Lawrence Welk Show was always on tv when we arrived. My grandma always popped popcorn on the stove, us kids played pool or games in the basement while the adults drank Hi-Balls and played Pitch upstairs.

I have so many fond memories of their house. It was always so much fun!

There is something about a maraschino cherry in your glass that makes what your drinking feel special. Especially when you are a kid. My grandparents always made me feel that way when they fixed me a Shirley Temple.

Shirley Temple Float

A History Of The Shirley Temple

Sad to say, Shirley Temple, for whom the drink was named, hated it. File that under “celebrity problems”. Apparently the drink was invented by a bartender in Los Angeles California when Shirley Temple was a huge child movie star. As an adult, she went on to become a famous and notable ambassador.

But apparently, no one could ever let her grow up. Everywhere she went people thought it was hilarious to serve her a Shirley Temple. 

Unfortunately, she found them much too sweet. 

Is “too sweet” even a thing? We need more sweetness in this world! As a child star, Shirley Temple embodied the very essence of sweetness. She was a huge star because of it. 

Of course, a float of ice cream makes the Shirley Temple even sweeter. When you get right down to it…  if it brings a bigger smile, then that alone is pretty sweet. 


For as long as I can remember, rootbeer floats have been a favorite of mine that I passed onto my kiddos. The first time I made these Shirley Temple Ice Cream Floats, was when I surprised them after school on Valentine’s Day. 

These Shirley Temple Floats make a great Valentine treat, don’t you think?


Variations On Shirley Temple Floats

Truth be told, the original recipe for Shirley Temples called for Ginger Ale as the soda of choice. Since then, I think most recipes favor lemon-lime soda.

A couple of other types of soda work pretty well, too. Orange or grape soda, works well, and of course, any cherry-flavored soda will put an extra cherry on top.

If you use cola, it will be like a Cherry Cola Float, but you won’t call that a Shirley Temple Float. Then it will be a Roy Rogers Float, because a Roy Rogers is the male version of the Shirley Temple, only using cola instead of ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. 

The clear sodas work best in my opinion though, since they allow the color of the cherries and grenadine to do their magic. 




How to Make a  Shirley Temple Float

Begin by scooping vanilla ice cream into a glass.  Next, slowly pour the lemon-lime soda into the glass, over the ice cream. 

Drizzle the grenadine over the top, letting it slide down in the grooves of the ice cream and throughout the bubbly soda pop.

Finish it off with some whipped cream, and of course, you’ll need to add that maraschino cherry to the top!



Love them? Pin them!

If you love these Shirley Temple Floats, pin them to your favorite Pinterest board so you can find the recipe easily when you want it!

Printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.



Adult Version of the Shirley Temple – The Dirty Shirley

Ok, I know the Shirley Temple is a great “kids cocktail” (which doesn’t sound very politically correct… but it was invented in different times right?). However, if you want to do an adult version for the adults in the room, then go for it!

Ordering a Dirty Shirley, or the grown-up version of the Shirley Temple at a bar is a real thing. There are a couple of different versions, but they are both very similar.  

Clear soda, like lemon lime or ginger ale, or even ginger beer can be used.  Add in grenadine, and vodka, or really kick up the cherry with some cherry vodka! Garnish with limes and maraschino cherries, and toast to that childhood star, Shirley herself!


Dirty Shirley Float

Now, who says grown-ups can’t enjoy their ice cream and their cocktails, too? This Shirley Temple Float can easily be made into a blended ice cream cocktail, much like my Pink Squirrel or my Grown Up Orange Julius.

Simply pour the vodka, soda, grenadine and ice cream in your blender, give it a whir, and pour it into a glass.  Garnish with whipped cream and a cherry on top!


Pink Squirrel
Pink Squirrel Cocktail


Recipes that use Maraschino Cherries

Do you have other ways to use that jar of Maraschino cherries?  Absolutely! Unless you are eating them out of the jar itself, Maraschino cherries can last a long time.  I have some other fun and delicious ways to “add a cherry on top!” (or to the inside in some cases)




So give the kids a fun surprise, and make these soon! Heck – make yourself one, too! With or without alcohol… I am not here to judge!

Let’s get to the Shirley Temple Float Recipe!  M.



Shirley Temple Float cherry on top
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Recipe

Shirley Temple Float

A delicious ice cream float twist on the classic Shirley Temple drink.  The Shirley Temple Float is not only yummy to drink, it’s so pretty, too! Vanilla ice cream, lemon lime soda, grenadine, whipped cream and maraschino cherries, will bring a smile to kids of all ages!
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: float, grenadine, how to make a Shirley Temple with ice cream, ice cream, Maraschino cherries, Shirley Temple drink, Shirley Temple Float, whipped cream
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 598kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 1/2 can Lemon Lime Soda like Sprite or 7Up
  • 1-2 Maraschino Cherries
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Grenadine Syrup
  • 3 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Whipped Cream for garnish


  • Press ice cream into a pint-sized glass.
  • Pour soda over the ice cream.
  • Drizzle grenadine over the top.
  • Garnish with whipped cream and a cherry on top.


To make a Dirty Shirley Float: Blend ice cream, grenadine and soda in a blender with a shot of vodka or cherry vodka until smooth. Pour into a glass, garnish with whipped cream and a cherry on top!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 186mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 80g

This recipe was originally shared on February 2, 2015.  It’s been updated to improve user experience and reshared June 15, 2020.

shirley temple float c





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  1. This is such a fun idea! I always used to love ordering shirley temples at restaurants when I was a kid, but a float sounds so amazing!

  2. I just love those recipes that bring back wonderful childhood memories. It’s so cool how food can do that. I loved the history of the Shirley Temple name as well. So cool! This recipe looks amazing!

  3. Ooh love that swirl of color! Such a beautiful and fun drink. Sounds so refreshing for how hot it has been outside.

  4. I made this with my kids today! It was a HIT. This recipe is so easy, very kid friendly and so yummy!

  5. Oh, this ice cream float is perfect for hot summer days. I am checking the ingredients’ list to make it ASAP!

  6. My kiddos and I made this together! We have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately and its so fun. They really enjoyed making this recipe but they enjoyed eating it even more! Thanks for this delish creation, we are adding it to our “make again” list!!

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