Dirty Shirley Cocktail Drink

Dirty Shirley

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

If you’re craving a lively cocktail, this Dirty Shirley recipe has all the ingredients to make your drink a hit! It’s straightforward, tasty, and quick to make, ensuring a delightful experience with every sip.

Dirty Shirley Recipe

Indulge in this effortless Dirty Shirley recipe! Crafted with Vodka, lemon-lime soda, Grenadine, and a hint of garnish, this refreshing cocktail is a delightful sip for any occasion.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

165 kl

Ingredients

  • oz Vodka
  • 3 oz ginger ale
  • ½ oz grenadine
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice or cherry, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Vodka: Pour 1½ oz Vodka over the ice.
  • Add Grenadine: Drizzle ½ oz grenadine into the mix.
  • Add Ginger Ale: Measure and pour 3 oz ginger ale into the glass.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Garnish: Place a lemon slice or cherry into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Vodka: When I don't have Vodka, I often use gin; it gives the drink a different, more botanical flavor. Rum can also be a good substitute, adding a sweet and smooth taste.
  • Grenadine: In the absence of Grenadine, a mix of pomegranate juice and simple syrup can be a decent replacement. It brings a similar sweet and tart flavor profile.
  • Ginger Ale: Any clear soda or club soda with a splash of lemon and lime juice works well when I run out of ginger ale soda.

Making a Pitcher of Dirty Shirley:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 12 oz of Vodka, 24 oz of ginger ale soda, and 4 oz of Grenadine.
  • Mix: Combine the Vodka, ginger ale, and Grenadine in a large pitcher and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lemon slice or cherry, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Vodka Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic vodka substitute or skip it.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use the non-alcoholic substitute instead of the regular Vodka, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Check Ingredients: Ensure the Grenadine is vegan; some brands may use animal products. Opt for a brand that uses plant-based ingredients.
  • Proceed As Usual: Once you have a vegan grenadine, follow the original steps and enjoy a vegan alternative.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
165
% Daily Value*
Sodium
 
10
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
6
%
Sugar
 
14
g
16
%
Potassium
 
5
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
3
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.2
mg
1
%

 

Dirty Shirley Cocktail Drink

Dirty Shirley Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Indulge in this effortless Dirty Shirley recipe! Crafted with Vodka, lemon-lime soda, Grenadine, and a hint of garnish, this refreshing cocktail is a delightful sip for any occasion.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 165

Ingredients
 

  • oz Vodka
  • 3 oz ginger ale
  • ½ oz grenadine
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice or cherry - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Vodka: Pour 1½ oz Vodka over the ice.
  • Add Grenadine: Drizzle ½ oz grenadine into the mix.
  • Add Ginger Ale: Measure and pour 3 oz ginger ale into the glass.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Garnish: Place a lemon slice or cherry into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Vodka: When I don't have Vodka, I often use gin; it gives the drink a different, more botanical flavor. Rum can also be a good substitute, adding a sweet and smooth taste.
  • Grenadine: In the absence of Grenadine, a mix of pomegranate juice and simple syrup can be a decent replacement. It brings a similar sweet and tart flavor profile.
  • Ginger Ale: Any clear soda or club soda with a splash of lemon and lime juice works well when I run out of ginger ale soda.

Making a Pitcher of Dirty Shirley:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 12 oz of Vodka, 24 oz of ginger ale soda, and 4 oz of Grenadine.
  • Mix: Combine the Vodka, ginger ale, and Grenadine in a large pitcher and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lemon slice or cherry, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Vodka Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic vodka substitute or skip it.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use the non-alcoholic substitute instead of the regular Vodka, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Check Ingredients: Ensure the Grenadine is vegan; some brands may use animal products. Opt for a brand that uses plant-based ingredients.
  • Proceed As Usual: Once you have a vegan grenadine, follow the original steps and enjoy a vegan alternative.

What is a Dirty Shirley?

A Dirty Shirley cocktail combines Vodka, ginger ale, and Grenadine. People know this drink for its sweet and refreshing taste, making it a popular choice for many. The name “Dirty Shirley” adds a playful twist to the original “Shirley Temple” drink, introducing an alcoholic kick. A side shot of a Dirty Shirley cocktail in a highball glass with a cherry in front on a black stone plate placed on a white table, with a jigger and cubes behind and a pink wall on the background.

What is a Dirty Shirley made of – The ingredients

Prepare the following ingredients to make your Dirty Shirley:

  • Vodka: Provides the alcoholic base, adding a clean and clear flavor to the cocktail.
  • Ginger Ale: Infuses the drink with a bubbly, citrusy sweetness, enhancing its refreshing quality.
  • Grenadine: Contributes a deep, sweet, and tart flavor, enriching the overall taste of the drink.
  • Ice Cubes: Chill the cocktail, ensuring it’s served cold and refreshing.
  • Lemon slice or Cherry (optional): Acts as a garnish, adding a decorative touch and a hint of extra flavor.

Vodka, ginger ale, grenadine and cherry laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Dirty Shirley?

Learn to make a Dirty Shirley by following our step-by-step guide:

1
<p>Start by filling a highball glass with ice cubes. This ensures your cocktail is chilled and refreshing.</p>

Start by filling a highball glass with ice cubes. This ensures your cocktail is chilled and refreshing.

2
<p>Pour 1.5 oz of Vodka over the ice. This serves as the alcoholic base, giving the cocktail its characteristic kick.</p>

Pour 1.5 oz of Vodka over the ice. This serves as the alcoholic base, giving the cocktail its characteristic kick.

3
<p>Drizzle 0.5 oz of grenadine into the mix. Grenadine enriches the cocktail with its sweet and tart flavor.</p>

Drizzle 0.5 oz of grenadine into the mix. Grenadine enriches the cocktail with its sweet and tart flavor.

4
<p>Measure and add 3 oz of ginger ale to the glass. This soda infuses the drink with a bubbly and citrusy sweetness.</p>

Measure and add 3 oz of ginger ale to the glass. This soda infuses the drink with a bubbly and citrusy sweetness.

5
<p>Stir the ingredients gently with a bar spoon, combining the flavors without causing the soda to lose its fizz.</p>

Stir the ingredients gently with a bar spoon, combining the flavors without causing the soda to lose its fizz.

6
<p>Garnish the drink with a lemon slice or cherry (optional). This adds a decorative touch and a hint of extra flavor to your drink.</p>

Garnish the drink with a lemon slice or cherry (optional). This adds a decorative touch and a hint of extra flavor to your drink.

What is the best Vodka for a Dirty Shirley?

When making a Dirty Shirley, the choice of Vodka can be pivotal. Choosing a quality brand can elevate your beverage, ensuring a smooth and refined taste. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is a solid pick, renowned for its clean and crisp profile. It blends seamlessly with the sweet and citrusy components of the drink. Another commendable option is Grey Goose, known for its smoothness and versatility. It complements the grenadine and lemon-lime soda splendidly. Smirnoff No. 21 is a reliable choice if you’re on a budget, offering a balanced and robust flavor without breaking the bank. For those seeking an organic option, Prairie Organic Vodka stands out, delivering a pure and smooth taste from environmentally friendly ingredients. While the preference is subjective, starting with Tito’s can be wise for its impeccable balance and compatibility with the vibrant flavors of the drink.

Dirty Shirley Cans

In the canned Dirty Shirley scene, Black Infusions and Country Luau have garnered attention for their distinct takes on this classic. Black Infusions offers a version of the drink that’s notable for its emphasis on natural, high-quality ingredients, delivering a drink that’s both authentic and flavorful, a true reflection of the brand’s commitment to quality. On the other hand, Country Luau’s Dirty Shirley is a flavor-packed option with a vibrant and refreshing taste profile that makes it a hit at any gathering. It celebrates bold and exciting flavors, making each sip a delightful experience. Between the two, Black Infusions edges ahead with its dedication to natural flavors and quality, making it the preferred choice for those seeking the best canned Dirty Shirley experience.

What is a Dirty Shirley with Rum?

A Dirty Shirley with Rum is a variation of the classic cocktail, swapping out the traditional Vodka for rum. This change introduces a different flavor profile to the drink, with rum adding a sweet and smooth taste, often with hints of caramel or molasses, depending on the rum used. The combination of rum with the sweet and tart flavors of Grenadine and the citrusy fizz of lemon-lime soda makes this drink a unique and flavorful option for those looking to try something different.

A side shot of a Dirty Shirley cocktail in a highball glass on a black stone plate with three cherries on a cube and a jigger on the side placed on a white table and a pink wall on the background.

Dirty Shirley Variations

Want to spruce up the regular version? We warmly recommend that you try these two:

  • Shirley Temple Black: This version adds bourbon to the classic, non-alcoholic favorite, creating a deeper, smoother flavor. The bourbon brings a rich complexity that pairs well with the sweet and citrusy notes. I really like how the warmth of the bourbon contrasts with the original’s sweetness, offering a more grown-up and satisfying taste.
  • Ginger Shirley: The ginger version one swaps the usual lemon-lime soda for ginger ale, introducing a spicy and aromatic ginger flavor. The ginger ale adds a zesty twist, enhancing the drink with its spicy kick. I enjoy how the spiciness of the ginger ale mixes with the sweet flavors, making a refreshing and energizing combination perfect for any event.

History and Origins of the Dirty Shirley

The Dirty Shirley owes its name and origin to the non-alcoholic beverage, the Shirley Temple, created in the 1930s. The Shirley Temple, named after the child actress of the same name, was a sweet concoction designed to serve as a non-alcoholic alternative for the young star during her appearances at Hollywood events. It typically combined ginger ale, a splash of Grenadine, and a maraschino cherry.

The cocktail emerged as an adult adaptation of the Shirley Temple. The “dirty” in its name implies the addition of alcohol, usually Vodka, to the original recipe, transforming the innocent, child-friendly drink into a cocktail suitable for grown-ups. The exact origin and the creator of the cocktail remain unclear. Still, it likely gained popularity as people who enjoyed Shirley Temples as children sought a similar but alcoholic beverage in their adult years.

A side shot of a Dirty Shirley cocktail in a highball glass with a cherry in front on a black stone plate placed on a white table and a pink wall on the background.

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Dirty Shirley?
A standard version has approximately 120-150 calories, depending on the specific ingredients.
How strong is a Dirty Shirley?
The strength can vary, but it typically has an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of around 10% and is 20 proof, depending on the ratio of Vodka used.
What alcohol does a Dirty Shirley use?
A Dirty Shirley uses Vodka as its base alcohol, providing a clear and neutral flavor to the drink.
In which glass is a Dirty Shirley served?
The drink is usually served in a highball glass.
What does a Dirty Shirley taste like?
A Dirty Shirley tastes sweet and refreshing, with a citrusy flavor from the lemon-lime soda and a sweet and tart flavor from the Grenadine.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Dirty Shirley?
The typical ratio is 1.5 oz of Vodka, 3 oz of lemon-lime soda, and 0.5 oz of Grenadine.
How is a Dirty Shirley served regarding ice and presentation?
A Dirty Shirley is served over ice, ensuring it's chilled and refreshing when enjoyed.
Is Grenadine essential for a Dirty Shirley?
Yes, Grenadine is crucial as it provides the sweet and tart flavor characteristic of the drink.

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