Meet the Dirty Shirley, the Official Drink of This Summer

POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger
POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger

Who else remembers the illicit joy of ordering a Shirley Temple or a kiddie cocktail at a dinner out? I grew up in a low-sugar household, so Shirley Temples at restaurants were always a treat reserved for special outings, like our birthdays. My infrequent ability to indulge did nothing to stop my love for them, and now that the Dirty Shirley has basically been declared the drink of the summer, who am I to say no?

A Dirty Shirley is exactly what it sounds like: a Shirley Temple that's been adultified and spiked with vodka or gin. You still get all the fruity sweetness of grenadine and lemon-lime soda, but with a nice bite as it goes down — plus refreshing fizz. If you love Aperol spritzes but have been looking to change things up, the Dirty Shirley is the summer cocktail for you — and it has the vibrant color to rival the spritz.

This cocktail essentially tastes like nostalgia with a kick. It's cool, refreshing, sweet, and not too heavy, which makes it perfect for those long summer nights of patio sipping. What I love about this recipe is its versatility; you can use vodka or gin, whatever you prefer. (I'm a gin gal, but I tested it with vodka, and it still tasted great, if a little stronger — the floral flavors help mask the gin.) Between the Sprite and the grenadine, it does come out pretty sweet, so the ice helps dilute it and keep it cool. Here are the four simple ingredients you need to make this delicious cocktail.

POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger
POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger
POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger
POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger
POPSUGAR Photography | Kaley Rohlinger

Dirty Shirley

Prep Time5 minutes
Yield1 drink

Original Recipe


    • 2 ounces vodka or gin
    • 1 ounce grenadine
    • 8 ounces Sprite
    • 1 maraschino cherry, as garnish
    • Ice


    1. Add ice to a highball glass and pour the vodka or gin and grenadine over it. Give the mixture a quick stir.

    2. Pour in the Sprite, and add more ice if desired.

    3. Top with a maraschino cherry — or two! — and serve.