An adult twist on a childhood favourite, the Shirley Temple cocktail, or Dirty Shirley, is a refreshing cocktail any time of the year. Made with grenadine syrup, vodka and lemon-lime soda this fizzy cocktail is simple to make and delightful to drink.
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What is a Shirley Temple Cocktail?
A Shirley Temple Cocktail is the grown-up version of the popular Shirley Temple.
The traditional Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic drink made with grenadine syrup and ginger ale. It is almost always garnished with a maraschino cherry.
The drink has evolved a bit and sometimes it is made with lemon-lime soda instead of ginger ale, and sometimes a 50/50 blend of the two.
A Shirley Temple cocktail, or Dirty Shirley, is made exactly like the childhood version, but it has the added ingredient of vodka to make it a bit more grown-up.
It is a refreshing drink that is sweet, light and fizzy. It is great any time of year, but especially refreshing on a hot day. Because it is a cocktail that is made with soda, you can make it as strong or weak as you like simply by adding a higher ratio of soda to alcohol.
It is easy to customize with different sodas or vodka flavours and can be served in almost any size or shape glass you like, simple mason jars are one of my favourite ways to serve cocktails.
To make this cocktail you will need:
- Grenadine syrup – Grenadine is a sweet pomegranate syrup. It is a popular ingredient in cocktails. You should be able to purchase it in any supermarket. If you don’t like pomegranate or can’t find grenadine you can replace this with cherry syrup.
- Vodka – Because this is a mixed cocktail you don’t have to use top-shelf vodka, so just choose your favourite. You can use regular vodka, or try a flavoured one such as cherry, lime or lemon.
- Lemon-lime soda – Sprite, 7-up or any other brand is fine. You can use regular or diet depending on your prefrence. If you like your cocktail less sweet, lime sparkling water is a great option, and my favourite way to make it. You can also replace this with ginger ale.
- Ice – You will want lots of ice. I like to fill the glass right up which will help keep the drink extra cold.
You may also want to garnish your cocktail. We suggest:
- Cocktail cherries, stem on or off
- Lime slices or wedges
For a full list of ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This cocktail is simple to make as there is no special equipment, such as a cocktail shaker needed.
Begin by filling the glasses with ice, then add the grenadine syrup.
Next, add the vodka, then fill the remainder of the glass with lemon-lime soda.
Garnish with lime wedges, cocktail cherries and a straw. Stir and enjoy.
I like to stir my cocktail as I drink it, but you can give it a good stir before drinking if you prefer. I like to see the pretty layers in the cocktail, stirring it well will blend the grenadine with the soda giving you a more uniform coloured drink.
Variations & Substitutions
The Shirley Temple is a simple drink that is very easy to customize depending on your preference or what you have on hand.
- If you don’t have grenadine, you can use cherry syrup. The flavour won’t be quite the same, but it will be similar.
- Try using a 50/50 ratio of lemon-lime soda and ginger ale instead of just the lemon-lime soda.
- You can replace all of the lemon-lime soda with ginger ale for a different flavour.
- If you prefer your cocktails less sweet, try using club soda or lime flavoured sparkling water instead of the soda.
- Gin can be replaced for the Vodka for a slighly different flavour.
- Try using flavoured vodka, cherry, lemon or lime vodkas will all work well.
If you want to make this for the kids, simply leave the alcohol out of the recipe and you have a traditional Shirley Temple.
You can. Simply multiply the ingredient quantities by how many servings you want to serve and mix it in a punch bowl.
I don’t recommend making Shirley Temples ahead of time as the soda will lose its fizz if it is left in an open pitcher in the fridge.
More Drink Recipes
Shirley Temple Cocktail (Dirty Shirley)
- 2 oz grenadine
- 4 oz vodka
- 12 oz lemon-lime soda
- Lime wedge or slice optional garnish
- Cocktail cherries optional garnish
- Fill two glasses with ice.
- Add 1 oz of grenadine to each glass along with 2 oz of vodka.
- Top each glass with lemon-lime soda.
- Garnish with a lime slice and cocktail cherry. Add a straw and serve.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.