While food shopping at Polpette (254 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, 718-399-8800) recently, we chanced upon a soda we’d never seen before: Saranac’s Shirley Temple. Having drunk many a Shirley Temple in our youth (gotta train for cocktail consumption early in life!) we were excited to see the beverage in bottle form. So we took it for a test drive. However, after tasting it, we’ve concluded that some beverages are better left to bartenders. Er, mocktail makers.
The classic Shirley Temple is made by combining grenadine with either ginger ale or lemon-lime soda (Sprite or 7-Up) or a mixture of the two, all topped with a maraschino cherry. It’s the ideal beverage for those aged seven to 13 — that is, until beer is discovered.
Saranac soda is produced by the Matt Brewing company in Utica, New York, which also produces beer. The bright-red Shirley Temple looks the part, but falls flat when it comes to flavor. While nicely fizzy, it tastes especially corn syrupy and has too much fake grenadine flavor. Then again, it’s probably the kind of thing a child would enjoy because it is sweet like cotton candy. Buy it for your child, then buy yourself some booze and make yourself a Singapore Sling. It tastes the same, but you’ll end up a lot happier.