“A drink from the summer?” Of course, I would like one. Wait, wait. Before you get into trouble, Whatexactly ?! “

Dirty Shirley may have the best name of any viral summer drink in recent memory, but that’s the end of the recognition. It’s as simple as cocktails. Oh, and did I mention it’s too sweet? Well, it’s too sweet. Too sweet.

What is dirty Shirley?

If you haven’t been informed, the Dirty Shirley virus – Shirley Temple spikes (Sprite, Grenadine and vodka or other Maraschino cherry drink) – is taking over social media with a storm, similar to broken lemonade and Aperol Spritzes from past seasons. But, my God, why? This year the drink is incredibly sweet (Sprite box has 52 grams of sugar) and has very few nuances.

In short, it is not good. But the basic tastes are not bad; the recipe needs only a little refinement. Okay, a lot of refinement.

@ alexa99 “Surely there’s a drink from the summer?” Yes, there is and don’t call me Shirley. # dirt dirty#cocktail# get drunk# cocktails# vodka# alexa99# drinks# drink#cocktailtok♬ Aesthetics – Tolan Kim

In an attempt to change the course of history – or at least the terrible trend for drinks this summer – I put on my best mix apron and scaly hat to come up with something just as simple to make and with similar flavors, but more sophisticated and far more -a little sugar.

Dirty Shirley Diet

The first and most obvious version of the original was to be replaced by Diet Sprite. I tried this, but I’m just not a person with aspartame, so “Diet Dirty Shirley” went straight into the trash, as I predicted it could.

Sparkling water to help?

Then I tried half Sprite and half sparkling water with a drop of cherry syrup. It was less sweet, of course, and a little better, but still boring, and I wouldn’t want to take more than a few sips.

Finally, I called for large arms in the form of two excellent brands of alternative soda that have recently hit the market. Olipop and United Sodas of America make less sweet, crowded and mostly natural versions of classic fizzy drinks. While none of them offer the taste of lemon-lime, Olipop makes a Tonic with lemon and ginger ($ 38 for a pack of 12) and United Sodas, a Cherry Pop ($ 35 for a pack of 12).

I’ve tried both before and decided that one or both could lead to something better.

Dirty Shirley Spinning Recipe # 1

For the first Dirty Shirley I called Olipop Lemon Ginger Tonic which has only 30 calories (Sprite box has 140) and 2 grams of sugar, thanks to a cassava-based sweetener.

I filled a cocktail glass with crushed ice, added an ounce of vodka, and then filled the glass to the brim with lemon soda and ginger. Instead of grenadine, which is mostly corn syrup, I dropped a teaspoon of jar juice Dirty Italian cherries soaked in Amerena ($ 20 on Amazon) and moved it.

A few changes and the viral drink this summer is getting a serious effect.

David Watsky / CNET

It was much better than the main Dirty Shirley. There were citrus fruits, cherry juice, and a dazzling bunch of ginger. I tried the same recipe with whiskey (also amazing) and tequila (good, but not as good as the first two).

Dirty Shirley Spinning Recipe # 2

The second iteration of Dirty Shirley is used United States of Soda’s Cherry Pop. Since the soda already tasted like cherries, I had to pour the drink with lemon and lime.

As before, I filled a glass with ice, an ounce of vodka and cherry soda. Then add the juice of one slice of lime and one slice of lemon. This drink also turned out to be excellent and another significant improvement over the original. Without ginger, this version tastes more like a classic Shirley Temple, but less sweet and without irritating artificial flavors.

cocktail box and cherry soda

David Watsky / CNET

While Dirty Shirley may have caught the attention of both thirsty scrollers on social media and cocktail bloggers, I think we can certainly do better, and these recipes prove it.


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