Is it the drink of the summer, nostalgia gone wrong, or simply a recipe for the worst hangover of your life? Whatever you may think of the Dirty Shirley Temple, one thing is certain: it’s trending.
The viral cocktail is an alcoholic twist on the famous mocktail. “I think of it as the drink that makes you feel like a kid again,” says Sara Vincent, a bartender at Hero in Dallas, Texas. “It’s the same taste of the classic Shirley Temple we grew up with, and it gives you the sugar rush with the added bonus of alcohol.”
It may be tasty, but it comes – or should come – with a warning: “It is destined for a bad hangover the next day,” says Vincent. Now, we’ve never had a good hangover. But we’ll never stop trying.
What Is a Dirty Shirley Temple?
You’ve likely heard of the regular Shirley Temple – the pinkish-red beverage was basically the original Starbucks refresher.
“The Dirty Shirley is literally just a Shirley Temple with vodka in it,” says Cassie Rousseau, a bartender at The Avenue in Allston, Massachusetts. The cocktail is a mixture of vodka, grenadine, and Sprite. And plenty of bar mitzvah memories.
The drink has been gaining popularity recently, making us wonder who’s running it’s PR. It may have first re-appeared in our lives in TikTok posted by Courtney Shea in September 2021. Currently, that’s now been viewed over six million times.
“I’ve had a lot more people ordering it lately,” said Rousseau. “It’s like a fun adult twist on a nostalgic childhood drink.” We can only hope that spiked Yoo-hoo’s are next.
Where Did The Shirley Temple Come From?
The original mocktail, named after the iconic child star, was created when Temple was out to dinner with her parents. She felt left out, unable to sip on an Old Fashioned along with them. So the staff whipped up a non-alcoholic version, which, according to various reports, included grenadine and a maraschino cherry, and either ginger ale or lemon-lime soda as the base.
There was later some controversy around the use of the starlet’s name. The New York Times reported in 1988 that Temple filed civil lawsuits against her name being used on a bottled version of the drink. And then we added “dirty” to the name. Oops.
What Are Drinks Similar to the Dirty Shirley?
Okay, so you’re still not sold on the Dirty Shirley. We get it. The last time we had a hangover headache this bad, we swore off drinking for good. And then three days later we ordered another Dirty Shirley. What? They’re good!
Here are a few alternatives for you to order if your nostalgic days are behind you. Or, if a work day is in front of you.
- Sex on the Beach: To stay in the vodka theme, mix together vodka, peach Schnapps, and cranberry juice for this fruity cocktail. It’s “a little more heavy on the juice, but still in the same range [as the Dirty Shirley Temple],” says Rousseau.
- Aperol Spritz: This cocktail is “light and refreshing,” according to Rousseau. It combines Aperol (naturally), Prosecco, and club soda. It’s a less sweet, but still colorful and delicious alternative to the Dirty Shirley Temple.
- Tequila Sunrise: If you’re okay with switching out the vodka for tequila, this cocktail is a great option. Keep the grenadine, sub out the vodka, and add orange juice. Include the maraschino cherry for garnish, and to show off your mad tongue skills.
Dirty Shirley TemplePrint Recipe
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. grenadine
- 8 oz. Sprite (or ginger ale)
- Maraschino cherries (optional)
- Pour vodka, grenadine, and soda into a glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with cherries if desired.
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