A Dirty Shirley Drink (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 more grown up! All you need to do is gather a handful of good ingredients, pour them into a glass, and start sipping on this Dirty Shirley cocktail. They're guaranteed crowd pleasers for the adults and kids-at-heart (but not the actual kids, naturally).
Looking for more drinks made with vodka? Check out my Vodka Collins and Vodka Sour!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
It's delicious. It tastes great. It's as simple as that.
It's easy to make. This drink is also SO easy to make! You can do this!
It will invoke some nostalgia. This drink takes a childhood favorite and turns it into something that the adults will love, too.
💭 What is a Dirty Shirley Drink?
What is a Shirley Temple?
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!
What is a Dirty Shirley?
But anyway, to make a Dirty Shirley Temple, or just Dirty Shirley, you simply add a couple of ounces of vodka to the drink. That's it!
📝 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 an Alcoholic Shirley Temple
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 Shirley Temple with alcohol.
🔗 Other cocktail recipes
Looking for more vodka cocktail recipes? Of course you are! Check out the photos below to find some new favorites. Cheers!
❓ 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.
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Dirty Shirley Drink
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce grenadine
- 4 ounces 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 a maraschino cherry and lime wheel, if desired.
- Use store bought or homemade grenadine syrup.
- Use your favorite lemon lime soda; I used Sprite.
- Not a fan of vodka? Substitute some light rum for a different spin on this cocktail.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information is a generated estimate and is not guaranteed to be accurate.
Tracy L Shearer
Sounds refreshing can't wait to try this one
Thanks, Tracy! I hope you love it!
shirley temple should be with Sprite or 7 Up. not ginger ale.
Hi Thomas. The recipe calls for a lemon lime soda (I used Sprite). Though it's less common, you can use ginger ale in place of the lemon lime soda, if that's your preference.