The pint-sized Internet star warms hearts and offers seriously good advice for this non-alcoholic sipper.
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In a day and age where every news cycle seems determined to plunge me into a pit of despair, there is one thing that is giving me life.

Leo Kelly, the six-year-old Shirley Temple King, who is reviewing Shirley Temples on Instagram in the most adorable videos. What I love about Leo, in addition to his next-level cuteness, is that he takes his job very seriously. There is a definite scale to how he grades a Shirley Temple, and he isn 't afraid to be honest with us, his viewers.

Whether it is giving the “secret menu” Starbucks ST a perfectly not good zero for tasting disgusting, to giving extra points for a hotel ST in stemware, because he never gets to drink out of a “grown-up glass,” this is some of the most succinct and thoughtful criticism to come into the food sphere in ages.

So, what have we learned from Leo? Some key elements to a perfect Shirley Temple, and maybe even some life secrets.

How to Make the Perfect Shirley Temple, According to Leo

1. You have to use glass.

Leo will consistently take points off of a Shirley Temple if it's served in plastic or paper cups. He does appreciate a glass that has a fitted lid, but that doesn't seem to affect ratings at all. It seems to be more of a taste preference than any devotion to the planet, but regardless, I love that he will give a special glass some extra love. The takeaway? You deserve nice things. Drink out of the fancy glasses.

2. There has to be a straw.

This is an interesting preference in light of the no-plastic cup part, but Leo is a young man of deep complexities ,and we are not here to judge; we are here to learn at his tiny feet. Straws serve to both appropriately deliver the drink into his face and keep things stirred up in proper suspension — ergo, straws are necessary. Lesson here? Don 't overthink the things that make your life easier. If there is a way to streamline something for yourself, embrace it.

3. Ice is essential, but not too much or too little.

He gives some extra points for the giant single ice ball his uncle broke out for him for the Super Bowl, so I anticipate some craft ice discussions are headed our way in future videos. What do we learn? Balance matters. You don 't want to overdo it or underdo it; keep this in mind in life. Like Goldilocks, you want it just right.

4. Brand loyalty means something.

You like your martinis made with Plymouth gin and your Old Fashioned with Maker's Mark? Leo likes his Shirley Temple made with Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Rose's Grenadine, and Reese's maraschino cherries, and he will call them out. He definitely gives more points to ginger ale-based STs over ones made with 7up or Sprite. Lesson? Loyalty is an important quality, but not to the exclusion of all things. Keep an open mind. You can have your favorites and still enjoy a break from the usual now and again.

5. He likes them RED.

And by red, I mean a LOT of grenadine. He graciously takes us through the preparation of a proper Shirley Temple in his own home, and you might be shocked at the staggering ratio of grenadine to ginger ale. So, when he is out and critiquing in the wild, you can see him checking the color of the drink with a gimlet eye. What does this teach us? Generosity is a virtue. In the scheme of things, err on the side of a little too much than too little.

6. The perfect number of cherries is three.

Three cherries is generous without being insane; you don 't need a whole jar in there, after all. Three cherries is enough to have a three-act ST, one little snack to awaken the palate, one midway through to remind you why you love them, and that last little treat at the end as a perfect closer. Fewer is parsimonious, more is overkill, and none is a fatal flaw. Anyone who has ever studied anything from interior design to Wiccan tenets knows the law of three. Things are more pleasing in triplicate, and if you look up the law or rule of three, you can go down a rabbit hole for hours. But you will also be guaranteed to find one rule of three that fits your life. For Leo, it is the rule of three cherries, and we are here for that.

7. Always say something nice.

One of the most endearing qualities about Leo is the fact he will always find something nice to say, even if it isn't about the Shirley Temple. Whether it is praising the smell in the barbecue place, calling out the quality of the pizza, thanking a brand for sending him a gift, or facing right into the camera and telling us how excited he is to have so many new followers, Leo is a gracious kid. We can all be reminded that there is a lot to be grateful for, even if it is just good smells in a local BBQ joint — and when someone does something nice for us, a genuine thank you goes a long way.

I cannot recommend strongly enough that you head over to Instagram and follow young Leo, as an antidote to all that is distressing at this time. And while his recipe for a classic Shirley Temple is pretty flawless, and a great bit of nostalgia for your palate, you can also have a much more grown-up version. I make mine with half a glass of clear ice which melts slower, ginger beer, for a bit more bite, pomegranate molasses for a less sweet and more complex syrup, a hit of orange bitters to help balance, and Luxardo cherries for a little bit of what Leo might call “bougie.” Three of them, naturally.

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