Review: Boylan Shirley Temple Soda

The nice thing about sampling something from Boylan Bottling Co. is that you can expect a high quality taste experience. With the use of glass bottles, cane sugar, and a refined product line that doesn’t overextend itself, a Boylan product is a great example of a premium soft drink. We’ve seen that time and time again while sampling their Black Cherry, Ginger Ale, Lemon, Root Beer, Birch Beer, and Red Birch Beer beverages. I’m happy to see that trend continuing with their latest flavor, the “seasonal release” of Boylan Shirley Temple Soda.

Boylan Shirley Temple Soda

Boylan Shirley Temple Soda

For those curious, a Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic mixed drink, typically made by combining ginger ale and grenadine syrup, which in effect produces something to the effect of a cherry/pomegranate ginger ale. Consulting the trusty Wikipedia world of knowledge, the drink’s origins may have been designed to serve then-child actress Shirley Temple. But of course, this is disputed. Boylan has their own story to share…

The Boylan Shirley Temple is our tribute to the earliest versions of this non-alcoholic “cocktail” created in the 1930s. We started with Ginger Ale (is there any other way to make a Shirley Temple?”, dressed her up with some dark sweet cherry and other secret ingredients, evenly sweetened with pure cane sugar, of course.

Our Shirley Temple is a trip down memory lane for all who remember how it felt to “fit in” at the grown-up table, or to sit with Grandpa at the bar and sip a fizzy drink served up on the while cocktail napkin, and how empowered we felt as we asked the bartender for more cherries, another slice of orange and a couple more plastic monkeys to hang from our glass. And for any kid today who doesn’t know what a Shirley Temple is, well isn’t it about time they learned?

Boylan’s take on the Shirley Temple arrives in their traditional 12 oz clear glass bottles, with a pink/yellow color scheme adorning the label. It should be noted that this is a “Seasonal Release,” one of the first we’ve seen from the brand, indicating limited availability and duration. The color of the drink is translucent pink/red, with a slight cherry scent that tickles the nose with carbonation.

This drink is quite sweet, but also very clean starting from the initial sip well onto the aftertaste. There’s a crispness that comes from a limited ingredient list that includes cane sugar, dark sweet cherry flavor, and coloring derived from fruits and vegetables. As expected, the flavor reminded me of other drinks of a similar nature, including Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale, Pomegranate 7Up, Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, and Cherry 7Up before it was ruined with pointless antioxidants.

The flavor itself isn’t quite cherry; like its origins, I’d say it has a bit of pomegranate in there as well. Boylan notes that it contains “a secret ingredient or two” along with the ginger ale and dark sweet cherry flavors. This beverage is light, refreshing, and quenches thirst well.

While I’m still a little annoyed with Boylan for phasing out their Lemon flavor, I can’t be mad at them long after experiencing Shirley Temple. It’s not an overtly complicated concept or drink to explain, and I think that is why it succeeds. With a winning combination of light cherry and pomegranate ginger ale, cane sugar sweetener, and great mouthfeel, this “Seasonal Release” is a “Fulltime Win” in our book!

Boylan Shirley Temple Soda
Carbonated water, cane sugar, natural dark sweet cherry flavor with other natural flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), fruit and vegetable juice for color.

A 12 oz bottle contains 150 calories, 30 mg sodium, and 36 g carbs (35 g sugars). Caffeine free.

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Full Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of Boylan Bottling Co.