Honestly, the drink really surprised me…and it came with a cherry on top!
The nostalgia and suburban charm of an adult, vodka-infused Shirley Temple is why the Dirty Shirley is having a moment, according to the New York Times.
It’s a very simple, easy drink to make. All you need is ice, vodka, grenadine, Sprite (or any lemon-lime soda), and a maraschino cherry on top — the best part!
Next, fill it to the top with ice. Cubed ice is preferred, but crushed ice works fine too.
Fill it with 2 ounces of vodka, whatever kind you’ve got. I just threw in a full shot glass. You can sub with tonic water if you don’t drink.
As you can see, a shot glass amount was plenty enough.
Then, you’ll add 1 ounce of grenadine. I added in just over half of a shot glass. This stuff is sweet!
Now, you should have a drink with a beautiful red color.
Next, add Sprite. You can add 8 ounces if you want to measure it out, but I just filled mine to the top.
Adding the Sprite gives it a nice touch.
And finally, my favorite part: drop in a single, ready-to-mingle maraschino cherry.
And voila! You’re done! That’s the whole recipe. It was such an easy and fun drink to make. Plus, if you already have vodka, the other ingredients don’t cost a lot at all.
So it’s fun to make…but how does it taste?
The subtle carbonated citrus from the lemon-lime soda and the sweet, tart, and fruity taste of the red grenadine syrup arrived at the same time on my tongue. My eyes lit up. I instantly reached my verdict: The Dirty Shirley is delightful and dangerous. It’s sweet, but not overpowering — I couldn’t even detect the vodka! These are the kinds of cocktails that will leave you with a headache the morning after. But in the moment, it tasted refreshing, fun, and sweet. Y’all…I found my summer cocktail.
I’ve been told my opinions are like tequila and are better taken with several grains of salt, SO I made the drink for 10 of my coworkers. I asked each of them, “Do you agree this is the drink of the summer?” Pink meant yes, yellow meant no.
There was an even split. Half were singing the Dirty Shirley’s praises. The other half? Done with her. Was it generational? All the folks who voted against the drink were at least 30 years old…but of the five people who agreed the Dirty Shirley is the drink of the summer, two were Gen Z and three were millennials. So, this drink isn’t just for younger folks — it’s for folks who know how to have fun, wherever they may be.
Since I’m the author, I’m going to lean on the scale. Y’all, whether you like it or not, the Dirty Shirley is arguably the drink of summer, or at least a drink of summer. She’s fun, affordable, quick, unpretentious, and a gorgeous shade of red. You even get a cherry! Stop hating and start sipping.
And if you’re looking to remix the drink a bit, try it out with vanilla-infused vodka if you like ice cream floats! Or if you’re sweet-conscious, use less grenadine, only a splash of Sprite, and top it off with soda water.
Here’s the recipe to make a Dirty Shirley again!
Try out the Dirty Shirley for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments. Also, shoutout any other cocktails you want me to “investigate.” Cheers, y’all!