Dirty Shirley

Dirty Shirley with cherries for garnish

No, this is not a reference to Dirty Harry’s sister. Although, I do think there should be some kind of Dirty Harry fanfiction where he has an older sister who also has a knack for not respecting authority and taught him everything he knows about police work… But that’s for someone else to write. This is, in fact, a post on a drink named after one of America’s first child actors. The Dirty Shirley is a Shirley Temple with a little bit of vodka thrown in.

The Shirley Temple has a long history in my life. Growing up my parents would take my sister and I to a local Chinese restaurant where my sister and I would share an order of the best dang chow mein I’ll probably ever have. My Dad would order Sake, my mom a glass of wine, me a Roy Rogers, and my sister a Shirley Temple. The drinks were always delivered by the same person, who my sister and I named The Drink Lady (it wasn’t until I was an adult I found out her name was actually Rikki).

Now, as an adult, I find myself frequently the diner of another type of noodle house, The Old Spaghetti Factory. My dining partner and I will sit in the bar, carefully studying the menu as if we have no idea what is actually offered, sipping on our drinks and waiting for our warm sourdough loaf to be delivered. I go with my go-to cocktail, a bourbon and coke, and she goes with a Shirley Temple. Almost like clock work, our drinks hit the table, we each take a sip or two, then the request is made… “Hey maybe you can make this for me at home?”

She knows I enjoy making drinks.

So here it is, my version of a Shirley Temple. I’m sure it’s not original and I’m sure whoever made it before me also named it a Dirty Shirley, but this is my blog so I can claim it as my own.

How to Make a Dirty Shirley

Start with a highball glass with ice. Pour 1.5 ounces of vodka over the ice. Pour lemon lime soda over until the glass is almost filled, then add 1.5 tablespoons of grenadine syrup. Garnish with a cherry.

I love simple cocktails, and this one shouldn’t require an extra trip to the store, as most well stocked bars will have all the ingredients. Use any kind of lemon lime soda you want, I used Sprite but traditionally it’s mixed with 7-Up (sorry, we have 11 more cans of Sprite left!). You can also substitute the lemon lime for other sodas such as ginger ale or Coke/Pepsi (aka a Roy Rogers, mentioned earlier).

Dirty Shirley with cherries for garnish

Dirty Shirley

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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, Happy Hour
Keyword: Happy hour
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail


  • 1.5 ounces Vodka
  • 1.5 tablespoons Grenadine
  • Lemon Lime soda
  • Cherries for garnish


  • Pour 1.5 ounces of vodka over ice
  • Pour in Lemon Lime soda until glass is almost full
  • Top with 1.5 tablespoons of Grenadine
  • Garnish with cherries

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