The Dirty Shirley

Today, we have a two for one at Liam’s request. He asked for a cocktail of his own for his birthday and being a responsible parent, I said, “Of course.” I’ve never given kiddie cocktails much thought, because the obvious choice is the Shirley Temple and we will get to that one in a moment, but first we are gonna make the “adult” version of this kid’s classic, the Dirty Shirley. 

This is super simple, so we are going to run through it fast. Grab your tins and add 2.5 ounces of vodka, I chose some stuff in a monkey head, 1 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, 1/4 ounce of grenadine and 2 stabs of 18-21 Japanese Chili Lime bitters inside and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and top with ginger beer, I went with Goslings, cause I had it. Garnish with one of this fancy luxardo cherries on a cocktail pick and set aside while you mix a standard Shirley Temple for the kid.

The Shirley Temple

As it turns out, I’d never had the real Shirley Temple recipe before, just the Red Lobster in the 70’s version. For the real one, put four ounces of ginger ale and 4 ounces of sprite into a glass over rocks and pour in 1/4 ounce of grenadine. Garnish with another of those fancy cherries and serve. I’d always had them with just sprite or 7-up, but the legend says that this ginger ale recipe is the original created for Shirley Temple herself, so she would have something fancy to drink at all of the adult parties she was taken to as a star of the times.

So grab your drink and have a toast with a kid. Trying not to make a weird face as you drink down this kinda refreshing but entirely too sweet regression into childhood. Do it…for the children. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.

Addendum: On further reflection, the Dirty Shirley is not a good drink. It isn’t its fault, I think it is a flawed concept. Childhood things, don’t need adult versions. Just let them stay in the past, as a special treat for the youngsters. Quit trying to recapture that moment, cause it’s gone, baby. We don’t need hopscotch, but with audits; Merry go rounds, but with fiduciary responsibilities; tire swings but with sex, well maybe that one, but you get the point. The thing is, this adult version is not better than the non-alcoholic one and maybe it is worse, cause it’s trying too hard to not only be something it is not, but something we don’t even need. So have a Shirley Temple or have a cocktail, but don’t cross those streams.