Homemade Shirley Temples (aka Kiddie Cocktails) with DIY Grenadine and Maraschino Cherries

Homemade ADHD friendly Shirley Temples - Kiddie Cocktails made with only 5 ingredients, low in sugar and no added colors.  Recipe for grenadine and maraschino cherries.  Uses pomegranate juice, sucanat, pitted cherries, lemon juice and lemon-lime Zevia
Unlike mainstream kiddie drink ingredients, this one isn’t made of just sugar-flavored sugar and DayGlo color additives.


This is by far the easiest copycat recipe I’ve ever created.  And it side-steps all the high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors of store-bought grenadine and maraschino cherries.  The ingredients were tailored to accommodate my son’s ADHD diet, so there is an emphasis on natural ingredients and reduced sugars.

The GRENADINE:  True to its roots, this syrup has a pomegranate juice base (grenade is French for pomegranate).   The HFCS that is found in most store-bought varieties has been replaced with Sucanat (sugar cane natural).  This sugar has a complex flavor because it is unrefined (the molasses was not processed out of the sugar crystals), making it a superior choice among sugars.  But I just like how it tastes :-).

The CHERRIES:  Unlike real maraschino cherries (which have been soaked in Maraschino Liqueur), these mock the non-alcoholic store-bought variety with a few notable exceptions – no bleaching, food dyes or HFCS.  They will NOT taste exactly like the additive-bombed variety.  The flavor comes from the cherries themselves and the grenadine.

The METHOD:  When I researched grenadine and maraschino cherries, the recipes were separate.  That is mostly because authentic maraschino cherry recipes are alcoholic.  When the maraschino cherries become kid-friendly, the “soak” is practically the same as grenadine recipes.  So this version combines the two, which is a lot simpler.  I’ve also decided it’s more convenient.  The only inconvenient thing is that you have to wait for the cherries to soak so you can’t enjoy them right away :-).

The SODA:  The grenadine and cherries will have sugar, but the soda doesn’t have to.  Replace regular soda with lemon-lime or ginger ale Zevia – an excellent product that is sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.  Stevia is an herb, not a sugar or artificial sweetener, and it has no affect on blood sugars.  Zevia can be found in the natural food section of grocery stores or in health food stores.  Another option, which is a lot less sweet tasting, is mineral water.

Homemade ADHD friendly Shirley Temples - Kiddie Cocktails made with only 5 ingredients, low in sugar and no added colors.  Recipe for grenadine and maraschino cherries.  Uses pomegranate juice, sucanat, pitted cherries, lemon juice and lemon-lime Zevia
5 ingredients: pomegranate juice, sucanat, pitted cherries, lemon juice and lemon-lime (or ginger ale) Zevia

GRENADINE / CHERRY RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz 100% pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 16 oz any type of fresh cherry, pitted with stems on (about 50 cherries)

Directions:

  1. Pit the cherries, keeping the stems on.  You will need to have the cherries handy immediately when the syrup is done cooking.
  2. In a large pan, combine the pomegranate juice and sucanat, set to high heat until boiling and stir to make sure the sucanat has dissolved.
  3. Let the mixture boil on high for 5-7 minutes or until it has thickened.  Stir occasionally if it makes you feel better.
  4. Remove the syrup from heat.  Stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Stir in and coat the cherries while the syrup is still hot – this heats them just enough to soften a touch, but not enough to cook them.
  6. Transfer into a resealable glass container and store in the fridge for three days before use.

SHIRLEY TEMPLE / KIDDIE COCKTAIL INSTRUCTIONS:  Pour lemon-lime or ginger ale Zevia into an 8oz glass with ice and add 1 Tbsp grenadine.  Serve with one of those fancy skinny red straws for stirring.  Don’t forget to top it off with cherries!  Kids love them on pics – especially sword-shaped ones :-).

Storage:  If you don’t envision yourself using up the grenadine/cherries in about 1.5 weeks, you could put them in the freezer for later use.  If you use up the grenadine before the cherries you could save those cherries to use on top a restrictive diet soft serve, like yonanas.

 

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