Roy Rogers Drinks Are Like Shirley Temples For Cherry Coke Lovers

As far as non-alcoholic drinks go, the Shirley Temple and the Roy Rogers are two of the most well-known. Considered to be the world's first mocktail, the Shirley Temple's soda plus sweet syrup formula is shared by the Roy Rogers. The main difference between them is the type of sodas with which they are made. Both also share the distinction of being named for popular celebrities from the 1930s as well as being geared toward children.

These drinks stem from an era when children's clothing, toys, entertainment, and even beverages were more gendered than today. Shirley Temple was a child star most recognizable for her cute curls and sweet demeanor, so perhaps it's not surprising that her drink was sometimes considered a girl's drink. Roy Rogers was famous for starring in Westerns and was nicknamed "The King of the Cowboys," so the drink with his namesake was often marketed as an alternative for boys.

Shirley Temple's were originally made with ginger ale sweetened with grenadine and garnished with a maraschino cherry. Later, they came to be made with lemon-lime soda such as 7Up or Sprite. The Roy Rogers, on the other hand, is essentially the same, only made with cola (traditionally Coca-Cola) instead of ginger ale or lemon-lime. Sometimes also referred to as a cherry cola, the beverage's distinct taste doesn't actually come from cherries at all, as the main flavor in grenadine is pomegranate juice. Even so, it's perfect for Cherry Coke lovers thanks to that maraschino garnish.

How to make an exceptional Roy Rogers

Widely available at bars and restaurants and enjoyed by adults as much as they are by children, you can easily make your own Roy Rogers at home. While the basic method is simple enough, there are some tips for elevating the drink into something that's customized to your individual palate. For starters, try swapping out the cola and playing with subtle differences. Coke has that classic soda taste, but many people prefer the sweetness of Pepsi. You can branch out away from the big two and go for a natural cola that includes real kola nut — these are often a touch less sweet and offer a more balanced drink.

Using real grenadine will also make for a much better drink. Many commercial grenadine syrups sold today are made without actual pomegranate, with added food dyes to give them that bright red color. Real grenadine doesn't need much more than pomegranate juice and sugar, and any color gets lost anyhow when dissolved into dark cola, so the red dye isn't necessary either. If you can't find any genuine grenadine syrup, try making your own using fresh pomegranates when in season, or from their pure juice, which can be purchased bottled. When assembling your Roy Rogers, mix well, and be sure to taste-test and adjust the ratio of syrup to soda to get it just right. A twist of lime will also work wonders for balancing the sweetness with a pleasant sour note.

Take your Roy Rogers from temperance to tipple

For those who partake, there's no reason not to turn your mocktail into a delicious cocktail. While the exact origin of the Roy Rogers is unknown, one version of the story is that Rogers himself did not drink alcohol, and perhaps even enjoyed this mixed beverage himself, thus eventually earning it his name.

Nonetheless, another version of the drink not meant for children goes by the moniker of a Dirty Roy Rogers due to being made with liquor. You can make it using your preference from vodka, bourbon, or whiskey, and Coke always pairs nicely with rum as well. This is not to be confused with the term dirty as when used with a Dirty Martini where it means that olive brine is added to the mix. That would decidedly not work here.

Likewise, the Dirty Shirley Fizz recipe takes the non-alcoholic drink into adult territory with the addition of vodka, but it would go equally well with gin, considering a classic Gin Fizz is usually made with gin and lemon with club soda. Pour either of these drinks into a tall tumbler, such as a Collins or highball glass, and serve over ice. Just don't forget the maraschino cherries to get that cherry cola kick.