Before the internet, children had to exchange Shirley Temple reviews through word of mouth. It was a primitive time—an age where the finer points of non-alcoholic cocktail flavor profiles were ephemeral, the hard-won knowledge of kids everywhere lost to time soon after its owners grew up. Now, in 2020, we have The Shirley Temple King, a boy who’s been steadily reviewing every one of the fizzy red drinks he can find and committing them to posterity on his Instagram.
Under a page description that reads “Rating Shirley Temples (non alcoholic duhh) across all sorts of establishments,” we’re greeted with row after row of the King himself smiling into the camera, almost always next to a glass of the beverage to which he’s devoted his early critical work.
Through one recent video, we see the cornerstones of his review style all in one place. The King introduces himself, proclaiming his love of both Shirley Temples and Super Mario, then takes a sip. “Well, I don’t really like the cup ‘cause it’s plastic,” he says, getting the words out before the immediate first impression of taste can leave his mind. “But also, it’s kinda like ... they got one cherry, but they did a bit too much grenadine. So I’m gonna give it a flat seven.”
The King doesn’t mince words. Watch him in an earlier video, dissecting a sip that, while “pretty good,” has “too much 7-Up, too much Sprite,” and awarding it a measly 6.2.
A home video sees him choosing between two bottled options. One is “too tangy,” eliciting the disgusted expression that beverage makers see in their nightmares, knowing it can sink their product as soon as it wrinkles the kid’s face. The other is “too sweet,” but wins based on its “bubbly-ness.”
In others, we see just how far presentation goes in the King’s books. Providing a “fancy glass” or filling up an enormous one seems to lead to a gain in points capable of overwhelming other important criteria like cherry amounts.
The second of these videos makes clear just how serious the King is about his judgments. Even with a server checking in on his table—prodded, no doubt, by a manager desperate for a good review—he continues, awarding a disappointed five as staff lingers nearby.
Not even the presence of an adult—the group of people who furnish him with the Shirley Temples he needs in order to do his work—is enough to sway the King’s opinions. This is reassuring. His reviews are of the highest ethical standing and obviously a reputable guide to the sometimes confusing world of mocktails that his fellow baby diners require. All hail the King.
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