Why Shirley Temple Didn't Like The Drink That Was Named After Her

Shirley Temple drinks in glasses with straws
Shirley Temple drinks in glasses with straws - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

An effective diplomat needs to possess myriad social skills, including the ability to remain neutral during tense negotiations. So it may come as a surprise that a longtime U.S. ambassador made no bones about her dislike for an iconic beverage. Even more surprising: The mocktail in question was named for her. That's right. Shirley Temple, the child star who wooed audiences on stage and screen in the early 20th century — the same Shirley Temple who, as an adult, held key diplomatic posts under four U.S. presidents — couldn't stand the Shirley Temple beverage. During an interview in the mid-1980s, NPR's Scott Simon asked the late actor-turned-diplomat about her namesake drink.

The former child star, who married her husband, Charles Black, in 1950, unabashedly separated herself from the genesis of the sugary drink, telling Simon, "The Shirley Temple? Those saccharine, icky drinks ... Those were created in probably the middle 1930s in Hollywood and I had nothing to do with it." Temple Black went on to reveal how the iconic faux-cocktail continued to haunt her long after she had left Hollywood. Throughout her diplomatic career, Temple Black said bartenders and fans who recognized her around the world would always insist on treating her to, what else, a Shirley Temple. And while Temple Black professed a strong dislike for her namesake mocktail, she reportedly drew on her diplomatic skills time and time again, never letting well-meaning fans in on her secret. At least not until she fessed up to NPR in the '80s.

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Where Did It All Begin?

Shirley Temple child star
Shirley Temple child star - John Springer Collection/Getty Images

While fans of the iconic mocktail will forever associate it with the little girl who sang about life "On the Good Ship Lollipop", grown-up Shirley Temple Black was not nearly as enamored with sugary sweets. So why does it bear her name? Unfortunately, there's no clear answer. By some accounts, a bartender at The Brown Derby in Hollywood created the mocktail for the young starlet so she'd have something to sip during long cocktail-infused dinner meetings with her adult representatives. Another story traces the origin of the Shirley Temple to Chasen's in Los Angeles. Then there's the claim that it all began The Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Oahu.

Whatever its origin, and despite her reported disdain for the sugary concoction, Temple Black was fiercely protective of her namesake cocktail — or perhaps more accurately, her name. In 1988 she took legal action to stop Soda Pop Kids, a California company, from selling Shirley T soda and marketing it as "The Shirley Temple Soft Drink." At the time, Temple Black told the Los Angeles Times, "I have always been very cautious all of my life to make sure any items are licensed. My lawyers will go after anyone who is using my name on a product without my permission." Previously, Temple Black had sued a carnival, accusing it of misleading the public by suggesting she would be making a personal appearance when, in fact, the star of the show was a bull elephant named Shirley Temple.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.