A Dirty Shirley Is the 'Drink of the Summer': Here's How to Make It

Your favorite childhood drink is all grown up.

Delicious and Refreshing Summer dirty-shirley Cocktail
Photo: Dudits/Getty Images

Nostalgia alert! Your favorite childhood drink is back, only this time it's got an alcoholic add-on. If you downed quite a few Shirley Temples as a kid, now is your chance to sip on them as an adult, courtesy of an added kick that only the 21-and-over crowd can legally enjoy. Dubbed the Dirty Shirley, summer's "it" drink is the original version, plus a shot of vodka.

In case you need a refresher on what comprises the kid-friendly take on the beverage, it's typically made with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda and a splash of grenadine, which gives it both its sweet taste and youthful pink hue. The maraschino cherry garnish is the child-approved final touch that makes Shirley Temples irresistible to kids who are desperate to emulate adults.

Though the origin of the alcohol-free beverage, named after the cute-as-a-button child star, is unclear, the pink drink was (and continues to be) typically served to children dining with adults in lieu of a real cocktail. With a Dirty Shirley, however, there's no need to pretend. The vodka easily transforms the concoction into an adults-only beverage that has both its fair share of alcohol and sweet notes of nostalgia throughout.

Given that we're a society that rejoiced in the return of Dunkaroos and can't get enough of a TV show set in the '80s, it should come as no surprise that this year's answer to the espresso martini and Aperol spritz is a spiked trip down memory lane. Even a quick peek on TikTok makes it clear that Gen Z and Millennials are, at the very least, intrigued by the Dirty Shirley.

Ready to whip up your own Dirty Shirley? Check out the easy recipe below:

Dirty Shirley Recipe

If you're not a vodka fan, substitute tequila, rum, or gin instead. And if the drink is too sugary for you, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice to cut the sweetness.

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • 8 ounces lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite or 7Up)
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  1. Fill a tall glass with ice.
  2. Add vodka, soda, grenadine, and stir.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
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