The Dirty Shirley is a delightful adult twist on the classic Shirley Temple. This enchanting concoction, laced with vodka and grenadine, takes you on a sweet journey down memory lane, perfectly complemented by the playful addition of a maraschino cherry. Crafted for those moments when you crave a refreshing escape, this cocktail is a symphony of flavors, harmoniously blending the syrupy-sweet nostalgia of childhood with the exhilarating kick of adulthood.
Creating this delightful potion is a cinch: simply mix vodka and grenadine in a highball glass filled with ice, top it off with lemon-lime soda, and gently stir. Elevate the visual appeal and flavor profile by garnishing it with a maraschino cherry, adding a burst of color and an extra layer of sweetness. With every sip, the Dirty Shirley enchants the senses, offering a perfect balance of fruity zest and subtle booziness.
The Dirty Shirley is a popular cocktail that has its roots in the classic Shirley Temple mocktail. The Shirley Temple was named after the child actress of the early 1900s and was created when the star desired an upscale non-alcoholic drink. The drink became popular among children and adults alike, and it was often served at special events and parties.
The Dirty Shirley, on the other hand, is an adult version of the Shirley Temple. It was invented by adding a shot of vodka to the original recipe. The drink has multiple origin stories but likely debuted in the 1930s or ’40s when its red-headed namesake was gracing black-and-white screens. The Dirty Shirley became an instant hit and has since become a staple on cocktail menus around the world.
Shirley Temple Black, the actress who inspired the original Shirley Temple, was not a fan of the Dirty Shirley. In a 1988 interview with The New York Times, she expressed her disapproval of the drink, saying, “If they want to drink, let them drink, but why do they have to use my name to do it?”
Despite her disapproval, the Dirty Shirley has remained a popular drink. It is often served at parties, bars, and restaurants, and is a favorite among those who enjoy sweet, fruity cocktails. The drink is sometimes confused with the Roy Rogers, which is a similar cocktail made with cola instead of ginger ale.
How to Make It
- 1/2 oz grenadine syrup
- 1.5 oz vodka
- Lemon-lime soda (such as 7-Up or Sprite)
- Maraschino cherries for garnish
- Fill a highball glass with ice.
- Add grenadine syrup, vodka, then fill to top with lemon-lime soda.
- Stir the ingredients gently to combine.
- If you like a tangy taste, add a splash of lime juice to the cocktail.
- Finally, garnish the cocktail with a maraschino cherry. You can also add a lime wedge or a slice of lime for an extra touch of flavor.
The Dirty Shirley is a versatile drink that can be adapted to suit different tastes and preferences. Here are some variations you can try:
Classic Shirley Temple
To make a non-alcoholic version of this drink, simply omit the vodka. Use lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, grenadine, and maraschino cherries. This is a great option for those who want to enjoy the sweet and tangy flavors without the alcohol.
Pomegranate Dirty Shirley
Replace the grenadine with pomegranate syrup or juice for a twist on this classic cocktail. This variation adds a slightly tart and fruity flavor to the drink.
Ginger Beer Dirty Shirley
For a spicier version of this drink, use ginger beer instead of soda. This variation adds a subtle ginger flavor that complements the sweetness of the grenadine.
Skinny Dirty Shirley
To make a lighter version of this drink, use diet lemon-lime soda in place of regular soda. This reduces the calorie count without compromising on flavor.