Dirty Shirley

Remember Shirley Temples, the drink we all used to order as kids? This Dirty Shirley cocktail is an adult version with vodka that’s sure to become a favorite at happy hour! For more retro cocktail recipes check out this chic Aperol Sprtiz or this classic Tom Collins cocktail!

a dirty shirley cocktail with cherries on top

A Grown Up Version Of A Classic Drink Recipe

I used to LOVE going out to restaurants when I was a kid and ordering a Shirley Temple. I felt so grown up when it came to the table, a little kid version of the cocktails that my parents ordered…

But, man I really loved how they tasted, too! That sweet, cherry flavor mixed with 7 UP or Ginger Ale was literally the best thing ever when I was a kid. So we thought that we’d recreate this famous drink recipe and give it an adult kick with this Dirty Shirley cocktail.

There’s nothing to say that we can’t enjoy flavors from our childhood even as adults!

A cocktail in a highball glass garnished with cherries

Ingredients For A Dirty Shirley

We like to give you options, especially when you’re mixing up your own cocktails at home!

  • Vodka: Regular vodka is great, vanilla vodka adds a lot more flavor to this drink than regular vodka. It’s pretty widely available at your liquor store.
  • 7UP, Sprite or Ginger Ale: Any brand of lemon lime soda or Ginger Ale will do, or if you like your cocktail less sweet just use plain seltzer.
  • Maraschino Cherries: The classic flavor of maraschino cherries are a must for this drink!
  • Grenadine: You can use the grenadine right from your bottle of maraschino cherries, but you can also buy a whole bottle of it. You can grab grenadine at the liquor store and the grocery store.

How Do You Make A Dirty Shirley Drink?

Making these Dirty Shirley cocktails is really so easy to do. All you need to do is gather up your ingredients and as many cherries for garnish as you like!

Grenadine being poured into a highball glass

Start by adding ice to a high ball glass. Any tall drinking glass will do, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Add the grenadine first so that it sits on the bottom of the glass for that first, sweet sip!

Vodka being poured into a high ball glass with grenadine

Now it’s time for the good stuff! Add vodka, your favorite brand, as the second layer of ingredients. You can also swap out gin for a slightly different, but still delicious flavor!

Lime soda bring poured into a high ball glass with vodka and grenadine

Now it’s time for the bubbles. Classic Shirley Temples were made with ginger ale, so that is an excellent choice for these cocktails. But you can also use 7UP, Sprite or even a flavored or plain seltzer if you want to make these drinks a little less sweet.

Cherries on a Dirty Shirley cocktail

Let’s Talk About The Garnish!

Remember ordering Shirley Temples as kids and the bartender would give you like ONE cherry??? Like ONE??? Come on guys, you know that the cherries are the best part about ordering these kiddie cocktails. Give us a few.

So as adults, you can garnish these drinks with as many cherries as you like, and we like a lot!

Dirty Shirley cocktail close up with cherries


Dare we say that this grown up version is better? Well, for adults I guess, yes. Hands down. But back in the day when it was still ok for kids to belly up to the bar with their parents while they have their happy hour, these drinks made it seem ok.

Because we were bored. They were living it up and us kids had to sit there for what it seemed like forever until we got to sit down and eat. Ordering a kiddie cocktail (AKA Shirley Temple) was one of the only things that got us through!

Looking For More Fun Cocktail Recipes?

a dirty shirley cocktail with cherries on top

Dirty Shirley

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Serving 1x

Make this fun Dirty Shirley cocktail for happy hour tonight! Just like the classic drink we all ordered as kids, but with a splash of vodka!



  • 2 ounces vodka (can also use vanilla or cherry vodka for a twist!)
  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • Sprite, 7UP or Ginger Ale for topping
  • 34 maraschino cherries for garnish


  1. Add grenadine to a high ball glass with ice, then pour in the vodka.
  2. Top with your soda of choice and then garnish with cherries. If you like a drink that’s less sweet you can use plain or cherry flavored seltzer.

Recipe Notes

You can also use diet soda to lessen the sugar content of the drink!

  • Category: Cocktails
  • Method: Stir
  • Cuisine: American

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