Last Updated on August 6, 2021 by laurenpacek
A Dirty Shirley (or Dirty Shirley Temple) is a grown up version of the classic mocktail, the Shirley Temple. All you have to do is add some vodka to the usual grenadine, lemon lime soda, and maraschino cherry.
It's still the same pretty, sweet drink you remember from childhood, just a bit grown up!
Table of contents
What makes a Dirty Shirley Temple, well, dirty?
You're probably all familiar with the classic mocktail the Shirley Temple, right? It's the drink that's made with lemon lime soda (or ginger ale), grenadine, and a maraschino cherry for garnish.
One origin story purports that the Shirley Temple was invented in a Hollywood bar so that the bartender could serve the child actress Shirley Temple a non-alcoholic drink. According to what I read on Wikipedia, Shirley Temple denies this story, and in fact, hates the drink! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
But anyway, to make a Dirty Shirley Temple, or just Dirty Shirley, you simply add a couple of ounces of vodka to the drink.
What is in a Dirty Shirley?
Just a handful of simple, readily available ingredients. Check 'em out in the photo and the list below.
- Vodka: This recipe calls for plain, unflavored vodka. Since it's a mixed drink, there's no need to go too crazy in terms of quality (don't break out the Belvedere for this one). BUT do make sure that you're using something that's good. Think... Smirnoff or Pinnacle. Something in that range.
- Grenadine: Grenadine is a non-alcoholic bar syrup. It is a deep red color, and is sweet and a bit tart. It's traditionally made from pomegranates. Fun fact: The French word for pomegranate is grenade! Grenade --> grenadine.
- Lemon lime soda: I usually use Sprite, but have used generic, store brand sodas without noticing any difference.
- Garnishes: Though garnishes are technically optional, I think that you are basically obligated to toss a maraschino cherry into a Dirty Shirley. Add a lime wheel for good measure, too.
How to make a Dirty Shirley
Honestly, I'm not sure that it could be much simpler. This cocktail is built entirely in the glass from which you'll drink it, meaning that there's no shaking involved.
You'll start by adding your vodka and grenadine to a tall glass (lots of ice, please). Top that off with soda and some garnishes, and voila!
Sip away and enjoy this sweet and fun cocktail.
Looking for other cocktail recipes?
Because I've got a few. 😉
Frequently asked questions
They use the same ingredients EXCEPT a Dirty Shirley has a couple of ounces of vodka.
The original recipe calls for plain vodka, but sure! If you go that route, I'd recommend maybe using a cherry flavored vodka.
Yeah! Take all of the ingredients (minus the soda), multiply it out by however many servings you want to make, and put them in a pitcher. Stir to combine, and add the corresponding amount of lemon lime soda just before serving.
I know, I have a whole post on Homemade Luxardo Cherries. And I routinely advocate for using those in cocktails instead of the ones you commonly find in stores. HOWEVER, for this drink, I definitely recommend seeking out the neon colored Marashino cherries. It's traditional, and no other option would work as well here.
- 2 oz vodka
- 1 oz grenadine
- 4 oz lemon lime soda
- maraschino cherries and lime wheel, for garnish
- Add the vodka and grenadine to a tall glass with ice.
- Top with lemon lime soda.
- Garnish with maraschino cherries and a lime wheel, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 1g