If you thought Shirley Temple’s are just for kids this boozed-up Dirty Shirley cocktail will be a new favorite. A grown up version of the favorite mocktail has all the classic ingredients plus vodka! It’s a refreshing cocktail perfect for summer sipping. We’ve dressed it up for Halloween too!
Our spooky Shirley Temple drinks for Halloween have been a favorite for years. Now the adult version Dirty Shirley covers all the bases for cocktail drinkers who love the sweet cherry flavors of the childhood favorite.
In case you missed the classic Shirley Temple mocktail in your youth it’s a non-alcoholic drink that’s sweet, fizzy and served with maraschino cherries.
They were originally developed in the 1930’s to serve the then famous child actress, Shirley Temple Black.
The actual restaurant responsible for creating the drink is in dispute. It is believed to be either Chasen’s or the Brown Derby Restaurant, both in Hollywood. The Royal Hawaiian hotel in Hawaii has also said they are the creator of the original drink.
The child star shared in an NPR interview as an adult that she hated the drink because they were too sweet for her. We think the adult version of this classic mocktail, a boozy Shirley Temple, may have been more to her adult liking!
The origin stories of the first Dirty Shirley also vary but the genesis is believed to be be creating an adult Shirley Temple for the cocktail crowd. One of the two restaurants responsible for the version of the classic mocktail created the Dirty Shirley drink.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Vodka. Use regular unflavored vodka. If you are a cherry fan you can substitute cherry vodka if desired.
Lemon lime soda. The original mocktail and the alcoholic Shirley Temple both feature carbonated lemon lime soda like Sprite or 7-up. You can use any brand of lemon-lime soda. We suggest chilling the soda before making the cocktail to keep the drink cold longer.
Grenadine. Grenadine is a sweet red bar syrup used to give drinks a red or pink color. Grenadine syrup is actually made from pomegranate juice. It is traditional in the vodka-spiked Shirley Temple and in the mocktail.
Maraschino cherries. Maraschino cherry garnish is traditional for this drink. They soak up the liquid from the delicious cocktail and are delicious to eat.
How to make a Dirty Shirley
- Pour in the vodka and grenadine in an ice-filled glass (use a highball glass).
- Fill with chilled Sprite or 7-Up and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Follow the steps above to fill the glass partially full and add any regular ice last.
Adding dry ice to a drink will cause the drink to bubble vigorously. Do not fill the cocktail to the top of the glass if planning to use dry ice.
Add a very small piece (literally doesn’t need to be larger than a dime) of dry ice to the cocktail. The drink will begin to smoke and the smoking will subside after about 5 minutes– wait until the drink has finished smoking to enjoy.
Remove any remnant of the dry ice before drinking the cocktail.
Ginger ale. Some versions of the traditional Shirley Temple recipe swap in ginger ale instead of lemon lime soda. This keeps the fizz but adds some ginger flavor. For a stronger ginger flavor use ginger beer.
Add some fruit juice. In some variations a splash of fruit juice is added to the Dirty Shirley recipe. Some orange juice, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh lime juice, etc.
Using dry ice
Please read our Dry Ice Guide before using dry ice. It creates a ghostly fog effect but needs to be handled with care too. Some highlights:
- Always use caution when handling dry ice.
- Never touch dry ice with your bare hands.
- Never ingest dry ice.
- Keep dry ice in a well ventilated container.
- Store away from children and pets.
Adding it to a drink will cause the drink to bubble vigorously. Do not fill the cocktail to the top of the glass if planning to use dry ice. Remove any remnant of the dry ice before drinking the cocktail.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a reference to adding plain vodka to the well-known mocktail named after the famous actress Shirley Temple.
The New York Times published an article asking if it was the drink of the summer for 2022. I think you need to decide for yourself!
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Dirty Shirley cocktail
- 4 ounces vodka unflavored
- 1 1/2 ounces grenadine
- 6-8 ounces chilled lemon-lime soda Sprite, 7-Up or other brand
- Fill two highball glasses with ice. Add the vodka (2 ounces per glass) and grenadine (3/4 ounces per glass).
- Fill with lemon-lime soda and garnish with maraschino cherries.
- Add the vodka, grenadine and half the lemon lime soda to highball glasses without ice.
- Add a few cubes of regular ice and a very small piece of dry ice.
- The dry ice will make the cocktail bubble up and smoke. Wait for the dry ice to subside, remove any residual before drinking.
- Add more regular ice to fill glass as needed (the dry ice will chill the cocktail).
- Decide the number of servings needed.
- Multiple the ingredients needed for an individual cocktail times your serving number.
- In a punch bowl or food safe plastic cauldron add the vodka, grenadine and lemon lime soda (right before serving or the soda will go flat).
- Add a piece of dry ice and allow it to smoke (about 5-10 minutes). Scoop out servings ensuring none of the dry ice gets into the individual serving glasses.