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How to Make the Dirty Shirley Drink

Shirley Temple was bound to grow up and when she did, I truly believe she was keen to add a little something stronger to her namesake cocktail! The Dirty Shirley cocktail takes the classic drink made with grenadine and a lemon-lime soda and makes it a slightly more adult version by adding in a splash of vodka!

dirty shirley drink

I, like loads of American kids, spent my childhood drinking Shirley Temples named after the child star. Every birthday party or restaurant outing the Shirley Temple drink was the cocktail that was deemed acceptable to order, while my folks were busy with Martinis and Old Fashioneds.

I never thought about about its provenance until writing this post. The story goes that as a child, Shirley Temple, was unable to join the same cocktails the adults around her were. One of the many bartenders at Chasen’s, the celebrity hub at the time, threw some grenadine into Sprite and the Shirley Temple cocktail was born!

As an adult, even Shirley herself wanted to a less sweet cocktail and thus, the Dirty Shirley was born!

What goes into a Dirty Shirley

One of the easier drink recipes, you only need four simple, and readily available from any grocery store, ingredients. You certainly don’t need a special occasion and you can enjoy a Dirty Shirley whenever you want. Here is what you will need:

  • Vodka: Vodka is just the alcohol ingredient that we need to make this Dirty Shirley Temple “dirty.”. I have used plain vodka for this recipe. You can use flavored vodka, if you want to add another dimension to the cocktail.
  • Grenadine syrup: If you want more info on Grenadine, you can check out my Lush Guide to Grenadine! This syrup is widely used in making drinks and cocktails. It is a thick syrup made from pomegranates or pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and sugar. It is sweet and has a prominent pomegranate flavor and a beautiful vibrant red color. You can buy it or it’s super easy to make homemade grenadine with Lynnette Marrero’s recipe!
  • 7 Up / Sprite / Lemonade / Ginger Ale / Ginger Beer: Any lemon lime soda or ginger soda on the market is fine. It all depends on your taste! It’s quite a sweet drink so ginger ale can cut that sweetness.
  • Garnish: Garnish the drink with a fresh lime slice or wedges, maraschino cherries, or raspberries.

What tools you need to make Dirty Shirley

You won’t be needing a cocktail shaker for this one! Grab a jigger, a bar spoon, and a rocks glass or highball glass or any tall glass for Shirley temples recipes. You can even batch make them in a punch bowl if you are having guests!

It’s so easy! Firstly, select your glass. I prefer using a highball glass. Fill it with ice cubes or crushed ice. Pour the vodka on the ice. Top up with the club soda, then Next, pour sprite or 7-up. Now slowly drizzle with a splash of grenadine. Wait until it sinks at the bottom and stir gently. Then garnish with raspberries, a maraschino cherry, lime wedges and stick a paper straw in it. Serve!

  • 🍸Top Tip(le): It’s best if you put the Vodka in the freezer to get it really cold beforehand.
    • Make it a non-alcoholic drink: You can skip the vodka and turn it into the original recipe.
    • Cherry juice: You can use cherry juice instead of grenadine. You get a different, but still sweet flavor and vibrant color, but it adds more of a cherry flavor of course!
    • Flavored Spirits – You don’t always need to use regular vodka, go all out with cherry and add cherry vodka, vanilla vodka or even Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

Where to find more lemonade/7UP/Sprite recipes

Here are a few of my favorites:

 Plus more grenadine recipes here

Disclaimer: Some of these posts contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means that I may receive compensation if you click on these links and buy something, but, don’t worry, it won’t cost you a dime!

Where to find ingredients for grenadine cocktails

You can find all the ingredients at Spirits Kiosk (10% off the entire site by quoting this code: ALushLife10SK.) in the UK; or in the USA!

Here is the recipe!

dirty shirley drink

Dirty Shirley Drink

Sip into playful sophistication with the Dirty Shirley. A delightful twist on the classic Shirley Temple, combining grenadine, vodka, and a hint of mischief.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktails
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 293 kcal


  • 2.5 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Grenadine
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz Sprite or 7up
  • Garnish with lime cherries or raspberries


  • Fill a glass with ice
  • Add vodka
  • Top up with soda
  • Slowly drizzle the grenadine in so it sinks to the bottom
  • Add the lime, cherries or raspberries


Serving: 1gCalories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 20mgPotassium: 43mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 14IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword Dirty Shirley cocktail
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