The childhood star grew up and so can the drink! A Dirty Shirley is the classic Shirley Temple drink with added vodka for adults. This easy cocktail is sweet, a little tart, refreshing, and so delicious. Whip up one drink, a couple, or make a big batch for a group!
Dirty Shirley Temple Cocktail
The classic kid-friendly Shirley Temple Drink was born when the famous actress was young and couldn’t have the boozy drinks being offered at all the celebrity parties she attended. The mocktail is made up of common items typically found behind the bar appropriate for a kid – grenadine, soda, and maraschino cherries.
But Shirley Temple grew up and the drink did, too! No, a Dirty Shirley is not the actress covered in mud. It’s referencing the addition of alcohol in this cold pink bubbly drink. Typically made with plain vodka, but we use cherry vodka for even more flavor.
It’s a sweet, slightly tart, refreshing and delicious well balanced drink made in minutes.
Dirty Shirley Ingredients
Just four simple ingredients, plus ice and an optional garnish, is what you need to make a Dirty Shirley Cocktail – vodka, grenadine, lemon-lime soda, and lime juice.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for all the measurements and details.)
- Vodka – Plain vodka is traditionally used. We bump up the flavor even more with cherry vodka (see more variations below.)
- Grenadine – This is reduced sweetened pomegranate juice, so basically pomegranate syrup. Even though grenadine is non-alcoholic, it’s usually located in the liquor aisle or near the club soda and typically comes in a 12 ounce bottle.
- Lime Juice – For optimal flavor, use freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Lemon-lime soda – Either 7Up, Sprite, or Sierra Mist.
- Flavored vodka – Replace the plain vodka with cherry vodka, vanilla vodka, or whipped vodka for added flavor.
- Torani syrup – The Torani brand has a pomegranate flavored syrup that can be used instead of grenadine.
- Maraschino cherry juice – Since you’ll already be buying a jar of Maraschino cherries for a garnish, you could use the juice in place of the grenadine for more of a sweet cherry taste, if preferred.
- Ginger ale – Swap out the lemon-lime soda with some ginger ale, or do a 50/50 combo. It’s so good.
- Triple sec – For more of an alcohol kick, use triple sec in place of the lime juice.
How to Make a Dirty Shirley
A Dirty Shirley Temple is one of the easiest and most refreshing cocktails around. Here’s how to make one:
(Don’t miss the variations above and the printable recipe card below.)
- Pour in 2 ounces of vodka over ice in a tall glass.
- Drizzle 1 ounce grenadine and 1/2 ounce lime juice over the cocktail.
- Top the glass off with 4 ounces lemon-lime soda (or a combination of 2 ounces lemon lime soda and 2 ounces ginger ale.)
- Give everything a good stir, then garnish with a maraschino cherry (or two!) and a lime wedge.
This drink is ideally served in tall, narrow collins or highball glasses and gently stirred to incorporate all the ingredients. You could also choose not to stir and maintain that beautiful layered looking effect.
If you’re having a big party, especially outdoors in the summertime, SOLO cups also work great. Depending on your guests and how strong you like the drink to be, feel free to adjust the ratios. If you are planning on increasing all the amounts for a group, we recommend a few things:
- Chill all the liquids first.
- Make the ice cubes with lemon-lime soda, instead of water – no watered down punch from melting (water) ice cubes!
- Wait until just before serving to add in the soda, since it will go flat within a couple hours.
Another option is to doctor up our Shirley Temple Party Punch with some alcohol.
More Easy Cocktails
- Crushed ice
- 2 ounces cherry vodka
- 1 ounce grenadine
- 1/2 ounce lime juice , fresh squeezed
- 4 ounces lemon-lime soda
- Maraschino cherries and lime wedges , for garnish
- Pour vodka over ice in a tall glass.
- Drizzle the grenadine and lime juice over the cocktail.
- Top the glass off with the lemon-lime soda.
- Give everything a good stir.
- Garnish with a maraschino cherry (or two!) and a lime wedge.