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An ode to the classic cocktail (and the movie Airplane!), this super simple twist on a (Dirty) Shirley Temple combines gin, grenadine, grapefruit and ginger beer for a quick and refreshing cocktail that’s ready in a flash!


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A simple cocktail named for one of my favorite movies of all time, the Don’t Call Me Shirley is a boozy riff on a classic Shirley Temple. Made simply with some good gin, a bit of grenadine, some fresh grapefruit juice and a bit of ice cold ginger beer- this cocktail is ready to sip in a matter of minutes.

shirley temple with gin

What’s in the name- Don’t Call Me Shirley?

Pulled from arguably one of the most quotable movies ever made- the cocktail’s name comes from this classic scene from Airplane!

When Ted Striker (Robert Hays) tells Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), “Surely you can’t be serious,” about the idea of him flying the plane to landing, Rumack replies, “I am serious — and don’t call me Shirley.”

So many of the lines from this movie, including this one, have stuck with me over the years. So when the opportunity to name a cocktail after it arose, I of course went for it.

What’s in the cocktail?

A simple twist on a classic drink, this cocktail combines grenadine, gin, grapefruit juice and ginger beer for a refreshingly simple cocktail with a crisp and slightly sweet taste, and a very vibrant color.

Shirley temple cocktail with ginger beer

Great for stressful weeks, or if you “picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!”

One of my favorite lines from airplane comes from Lloyd Bridges’ character, Steve McCroskey. In one of my favorite scenes, he goes on to say he “picked the wrong week to stop sniffling glue” among other things. The scene slays me every time. We can all relate to feeling like we picked the wrong week, albeit not in as ridiculous a manner. And for those weeks, these drinks go down smooth and are ready in a flash!

Want to give this recipe a try?

If you make my Don’t Call Me Shirley cocktail, please be sure to leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you, and value your feedback! Lastly, if you make the recipe and love it, please tag me on Instagram! I love to see your photos!

Looking for more cocktail ideas? Why not try my Fennel Grapefruit Vodka FizzAñejo Apple Cider MargaritasPumpkin Spice Martinis, or Spiced Bourbon Vanilla Slammers!

adult Shirley Temple

Don’t Call Me Shirley

Total Time5 mins
Course: cocktail
Keyword: cocktail, gin, grapefruit, grenadine
Servings: 2


  • 3 oz gin
  • 2.5 oz grenadine
  • ginger beer
  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish


  • To a cocktail shaker or mason jar, add gin, grenadine and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Shake well.
    2. Fill 2 highball glasses with ice. Divide between 2 glasses.
    3. Top each cocktail with chilled ginger beer.
    4. Garnish with maraschino cherries and serve.

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