How to Make a Dirty Shirley Drink

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The dirty Shirley cocktail is the drink of the summer! This vodka cocktail is a twist on the classic Shirley temple and is made with just 3 simple ingredients. It’s an easy mixed drink that’s refreshing for the summertime. So don’t wait any longer, mix up a dirty Shirley temple to enjoy the season!

The Dirty Shirley is a cocktail that has been around for many years, but it seems to be having a resurgence in popularity lately. This is likely due to the fact that it is an easy drink to make and it tastes great.

We’re sharing everything you need to know about how to make take this classic Shirley Temple up a notch and make a boozy shirley temple. With the addition of vodka, the result is a delicious and easy cocktail that is perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.

Dirty Shirley Drink in a tall glass

The best part was that it tasted just like the classic Shirley Temple you loved as a kid, but with an extra kick.

What is a dirty Shirley?

A dirty Shirley is simply a Shirley Temple with vodka added to it. This gives the drink a bit of a kick and makes it more suitable for adults. It has been popularized in the United States and consists of lemon-lime soda, grenadine, and vodka.

The drink is named after the original Shirley Temple, a popular children’s drink. The Dirty Shirley became popular in the 1980s and has made a comeback in recent years. The drink is easy to make and nostalgic for those who grew up enjoying the mocktail version.

History of a Shirley Temple

The Shirley Temple is a drink that was created in the 1930s and it was named after the famous child actress, Shirley Temple. The original recipe for the drink called for ginger ale, grenadine, and a maraschino cherry.

3 Reasons Why You’ll Love This Drink

  • Easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.
  • A perfect summer cocktail because it’s refreshing and has a fun, festive vibe. But can also be great for the holidays with its bright red color.
  • It’s a great drink to make if you’re entertaining because it can be easily scaled up or down depending on how many people you’re serving.
ingredients to make a dirty Shirley drink

How to make a Dirty Shirley

Ingredients

Lemon-Lime Soda – There are many options for lemon-lime soda. You can use a healthy version, no sugar version, or the classic old-fashioned kind. We prefer using healthier soda options. See our recommendations below.

Grenadine – There are many types of grenadine, but we recommend using one that gives the Dirty Shirley its characteristic pink color. You can buy grenadine syrup at most grocery stores.

Vodka – There are many types of vodka and it can be confusing to choose the right one for a recipe. In general, you want to use vodka that is neutral in flavor. This means that it won’t add any additional flavors to the drink. You want good quality without paying too much.

pouring grenadine over a glass filled with ice

Directions

The full recipe is in the recipe card below.

Fill a tall glass or highball glass with ice.

Add in a shot of vodka.

Pour the grenadine into the glass.

Top it off with lemon-lime soda.

Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Dirty Shirley Punch

This Dirty Shirley temple punch recipe is perfect for a party!

32 oz lemon-lime soda

16 oz grenadine

16 oz vodka

Simply combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and serve over ice!

healthy versions of lemon-lime sodas

Healthy Lemon-Lime Sodas

Gone are the days of sugary sodas being our only option. Now there are multiple brands that make “healthy” lemon-lime sodas. Most of them are very low in sugar, have zero artificial colors or flavors, and are non-GMO.

Some of them even have added health benefits like probiotics and antioxidants! If you’re looking for a healthy option, we recommend trying any of these brands:

best substitute grenadine

Tasty Grenadines

Grenadine is a sweet and tart syrup that is typically made from pomegranates. It can also be made from other fruits like cherries, cranberries, or raspberries.

Grenadine is what gives the Dirty Shirley its characteristic pink color. You can buy grenadine syrup at most grocery stores.

cocktail cherries

Cherries

There are many different types of cocktail cherries, but the most popular are maraschino cherries and Luxardo cherries.

Maraschino cherries are typically used in Shirley Temples and other non-alcoholic drinks.

Luxardo cherries are typically used in cocktails and are known for their dark color and intense flavor. They are candied cherries soaked in Luxardo cherry syrup.

We prefer using Luxardo cherries, but it’s your preference.

healthy version of a dirty Shirley

How to Make a Healthy Dirty Shirley

If you want to make this drink, but don’t want all of the extra ingredients and sugar, make a healthy version. Here’s how:

To make a dirty Shirley healthier, use lemon-lime sparkling water instead of lemon-lime soda.

Use a homemade grenadine or one without artificial color. The color will change when you use a more natural grenadine.

You can use organic vodka when making this drink too.

Add a squeeze of lime juice.

Garnish with luxardo cherries that are made with real cherries.

Tips and Variations for Making the Best Dirty Shirley

There are many ways that you can change up the Dirty Shirley recipe to make it your own. Here are a few tips and ideas:

  • Use good quality vodka to get the best flavor.
  • If you want a sweeter drink, use more grenadine. If you want it less sweet, use less.
  • Feel free to experiment with different types of soda. We like using healthy options, but you can use whatever you like.
  • This recipe can easily be scaled up or down depending on how many people you’re serving.
  • Add a maraschino cherry or slice of lime for garnish. A maraschino cherry is a must, but lime is optional.
  • Add a splash of ginger ale or ginger beer for a classic twist.
  • Give it an extra citrus flavor with fresh lemon juice or lime juice.
  • Add a shot of rum or tequila instead of vodka.
  • Use dark cherry vodka to make this drink.
pink vodka cocktail made with grenadine

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Dirty Shirley made of?

A Dirty Shirley is made of lemon-lime soda, grenadine, and vodka. This drink is easy to make and it is perfect for summer. The Dirty Shirley is a great option for adults who are looking for a refreshing and tasty drink.

Is Dirty Shirley the drink of summer?

The Dirty Shirley is a great summer drink because it is refreshing and easy to make. This drink is perfect for adults who are looking for a tasty and easy way to beat the heat.

Why do they call the drink the Shirley Temple?

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy summer drink, we recommend trying a Dirty Shirley!

Is grenadine alcohol?

No, grenadine is not alcohol. Grenadine is a sweet and tart syrup that is typically made from pomegranates.

dirty Shirley

Can Dirty Shirley be made without alcohol?

Yes, Dirty Shirley can be made without alcohol. Simply omit the vodka from the recipe and you will have a non-alcoholic Shirley Temple.

Is grenadine cherry or pomegranate flavored?

Grenadine is red like cherry, but it is actually made from pomegranates. Many people think grenadine is cherry flavored because of its color. However, grenadine is actually a sweet and tart syrup with a flavor that is similar to pomegranates.

What can I substitute for grenadine?

If you do not have grenadine, you can use any of these grenadine substitutes. You can also use hibiscus simple syrup.

dirty Shirley with Luxardo cherries

When to serve a dirty Shirley

A dirty Shirley is a great summer drink because it is refreshing and easy to make. This drink is perfect for adults who are looking for a tasty and easy way to beat the heat.

This cocktail can be served at any party or gathering. It is also a great drink to make for yourself on a hot summer day. Here are some occasions when to serve this easy cocktail:

Backyard Barbecue

Summer Pool Party

Garden Party

Beach Day

Birthday Party

Happy Hour

What Food to Pair with a Dirty Shirley

A dirty Shirley pairs well with most food. However, we think it goes especially well with BBQ or grilled food. This drink would be great with any of these fun party appetizers:

An Epic Cheese Board

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Fruit and Cheese Platter

Easy Salmon Skewers

More Easy Cocktail Recipes

Here are more of our favorite, easy cocktails to make at home:

Vodka Soda

Orange Juice Cocktails

Vodka and Orange Juice

Pineapple and Vodka Cocktail

How to Make a Classic Mocktail

The Best Dirty Martini

Sea Breeze Cocktail

Wine and Coke

how to make a dirty Shirley

Now that you know how to make this fun boozy version of a dirty Shirley temple, we can’t wait to hear what you think! Leave a comment and review below!

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dirty Shirley

Dirty Shirley Drink

The dirty Shirley cocktail is the drink of the summer! This vodka cocktail is a twist on the classic Shirley temple and is made with just 3 simple ingredients. It’s an easy mixed drink that’s refreshing for the summertime. So don’t wait any longer, mix up a dirty Shirley temple and enjoy the season!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • 5 ounces lemon-lime soda
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Instructions

  • Fill a tall glass or highball glass with ice.
    tall glass filled with ice
  • Add in a shot of vodka.
    pouring vodka into a glass
  • Pour the grenadine into the glass.
    pouring grenadine over a glass filled with ice
  • Top it off with lemon-lime soda.
    topping off a cocktail with lemon-lime soda
  • Garnish with maraschino cherries.
    Dirty Shirley Drink in a tall glass

Notes

Make this drink the way you like! Add more or less vodka and grenadine. 
You can also add more lemon-lime soda. 
Make a healthy version using homemade grenadine and healthy lemon-lime sparkling waters or low sugar soda. 

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 0.1g | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 10mg | Sugar: 28g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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3 thoughts on “How to Make a Dirty Shirley Drink”

  1. 5 stars
    We make a non-alcoholic version of this drink & enjoy it all summer long!! Love this little history you gave! It’s fun to learn where recipes came from!

    Reply
5 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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