Dirty Shirley Cocktail Recipe

Teddy Francisco
Last Updated on
by Teddy Francisco

From your favorite childhood mocktail, Shirley Temples, comes the adult version – the Dirty Shirley cocktail. Although it’s made with similar ingredients, a shot of vodka makes all the difference. Keep reading to find expert tips for making the dirty version of this nostalgic drink.

Dirty Shirley Cocktail Recipe

Dirty Shirley Recipe Info and Ingredients

The Dirty Shirley cocktail recipe contains a lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, but most people prefer using popular brands like 7 Up, Sprite, or Sierra Mist. Also, there’s the signature grenadine that lends its deep red color to the mix; it’s made from pomegranate juice. You can make homemade grenadine if you don’t fancy the one sold in stores.

Dirty Shirley Cocktail

The most important ingredient in this cocktail recipe is vodka. It adds a touch of adult flair and gives a strong character to the classic Shirley Temple drink. And don’t forget the maraschino cherries for toppings.

Also, we’re adding fresh lime juice to the Dirty Shirley recipe to balance the sweet taste of the grenadine or homemade pomegranate-flavored syrup. You can garnish the sweet drink with lime wedges.

Here’s our list of ingredients for the Dirty Shirley Temple cocktail:

Servings: 1

  • 2 ounces cherry vodka
  • 8 ounces chilled Sprite (or your preferred lemon-lime soda)
  • 1 ounce grenadine syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Mixing Instructions

Here’s how you make Dirty Shirley Temple:

  1. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, then add cherry vodka and lime juice.
  2. Add the grenadine to create another layer.
  3. Add the Sprite and stir with a bar spoon.
  4. Garnish with 1 or 2 maraschino cherries and lime slices.

Calories and Nutritional Facts

Below is a breakdown of Dirty Shirley’s nutrition per serving.

Total fat0.07g

Alcohol Content

Since the only alcohol in the Dirty Shirley recipe is vodka, the alcohol content will depend on the brand and quantity used.

In the US, vodka has a standard concentration of 40% ABV. So, if you mix it with the other ingredients that make up the drink volume, you should have approximately 7% ABV, which is similar to a bottle of beer.

Best Time to Serve

Dirty Shirley Cocktail

Although the New York Times endorsed the Dirty Shirley Temple as the drink of the summer, its colorful appearance makes it ideal for celebrations and girls’ nights. Also, its sweet taste is befitting for a backyard barbecue, casual dinner, or happy hour with colleagues or friends.

Tips and Recipe Variations

You’re free to customize your Dirty Shirley cocktails, but before then, here are some expert tips and recipe variations to consider.

Tips for Elevating Your Dirty Shirley Experience

  • Use quality flavored vodka like Rekya, Skyy, or Tito’s handmade vodka.
  • Instead of using Sprite, you should try some craft lemon and lime soda.
  • Always add the ingredients in layers and stir properly. Otherwise, the vodka would act like a lone ranger, sitting on its own in the glass.

Dirty Shirley Variations

  • Use plain vodka or other flavors like citrus or vanilla vodka.
  • Add maraschino cherry juice to get a pink, sweeter version.
  • To reduce the sweetness, you should try cutting down the volume of the lemon-lime soda by half.
  • Replace lemon-lime soda with ginger ale or ginger beer.
  • Use lemon juice and muddle in some fresh mint leaves with the grenadine.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can substitute vodka for gin or white rum to get a different flavor profile.

Also, if you want a fruity taste, you can swap lime juice with orange juice and add other colorful fruits as toppings. These include raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

Food Pairing Ideas

The Dirty Shirley drink  goes with a variety of foods. They include finger foods, seafood, charcuterie boards, desserts, tacos, and salads.


With endless opportunities to create this drink, the Dirty Shirley has proven itself worth sharing in lively celebrations and casual gatherings. So, we invite you to try out our recipe and then experiment with different ingredients measurements, garnishings, and substitutions to create a custom drink.

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Teddy Francisco
Teddy Francisco
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