A Dirty Shirley Float is a fun way to transform the traditional Shirley Temple into an adult boozy cocktail. This grown-up version of the kiddie cocktail is so easy to make with only 4 ingredients, requires no special equipment (no shakers or blenders in this recipe!), and in mere minutes you can be sipping a deliciously sweet, spiked dessert drink.

Dirty Shirley Float hero image
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Dirty Shirley Cocktail

This Dirty Shirley Float recipe turns a favorite childhood mocktail into an adult boozy float simply by spiking it with vodka. While a classic Shirley Temple is a favorite for kids, it’s always fun to make it dirty for the over 21 crowds. With its pretty pink grenadine and bubbly lemon-lime soda, this boozy milkshake is the perfect sweet and refreshing sip for the kid at heart, but with a kick! Plus, it makes a delicious Valentine’s Day dessert drink.

It is so easy to make this adult bubbly beverage simply by pouring vodka, soda, and grenadine over scoops of vanilla ice cream. The creaminess of the ice cream pairs perfectly with the combination of fruity pomegranate flavor and sparkling soda. This festive float cocktail makes life a bit less about the kids and a lot more adult-like!

Still thirsty for more grown-up beverages? My Boozy Hot Chocolate, Drunken Dalgona, and Grinch Cocktail recipes have a boozy boost of alcohol with a recipe twist that tastes a little less innocent than the traditional versions!

Why We Love This Dirty Shirley Float Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make with 4 only ingredients.
  • Adult cocktail version of a favorite kids’ mocktail.
  • Ice cream float twist on the traditional Shirley Temple.
  • Simple to make it a kid-friendly float if you leave out the vodka.
  • Delicious drink that’s sweet, creamy, and bubbly but spiked for grown-ups.
  • Fun to serve for brunch, a holiday party, after dinner for dessert, or on Valentine’s Day.
Dirty Shirley Float


  • Lemon-lime soda
  • Vodka
  • Grenadine
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Maraschino cherries (for garnish)
  • Lime slices (for garnish)

Substitutions and Additions

  • Soda Swaps: Clear sodas work best in my opinion because they allow the pink color of the cherries and grenadine to show and make it look pretty! Sprite, 7-Up, ginger ale, flavored sparkling water, lemon (Limonata) San Pellegrino, or a combination of ginger ale and lemon-lime soda will taste great in this recipe. You can even use a cherry-flavored soda to put an extra cherry on top! Or, use cola to make it a Roy Rogers Float (the male version of Shirley).
  • Tasty Toppings and Garnishes: Whipped cream, extra maraschino cherries, and slices of lime are terrific toppings and garnishes.
  • Vary The Vodka: For extra sweet flavor, you can use pomegranate vodka or cherry vodka.
Dirty Shirley Float ingredients
  • Pitcher
  • Measuring tools
  • Serving glasses
  • Drinking straws


How to Make a Dirty Shiley Float

It is so easy to make a Dirty Shirley Float simply by mixing together 3 liquids and pouring it over ice cream. It’s simply a spiked version of a classic kiddie cocktail that creates a boozy bubbly beverage. 

  1. Stir together the lemon-lime soda, vodka, and grenadine in a pitcher.
    stir in ingredients
  2. Add 2 scoops of ice cream to each glass.
  3. Top the ice cream with the dirty Shirley mixture.
    make the Dirty Shirley Float
  4. Add cherries and lime slices for optional garnishes and serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!
    Dirty Shirley Float


  • The serving size and number of ice cream scoops will depend on the size of the glass used. 
  • This is an extremely refreshing drink! You can taste the vodka but it is not overwhelming. Feel free to add more or less vodka to taste.
  • You can add 2 tablespoons of a pre-made sweetened lime juice, like Rose’s, to make the drink a little more on the citrus side. 
  • Another fun twist is using half ginger ale and half lemon-lime soda.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: These need to be served immediately since it is an ice cream forward drink.
top view dirty shirley float

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Shirley Temple?

A Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic drink named after iconic child actress, Shirley Temple. It is rumored that when she was out to dinner at a nice restaurant with her parents, the bartender made her a special nonalcoholic drink so she could feel fancy too.

Can I make a kids’ version of this Dirty Shirley Float?

Yes, you can leave out the vodka entirely for a kid-friendly float and just use more lemon-lime soda in its place.

Can I make my own grenadine instead of using a store-bought bottle?

Yes, you can absolutely make a homemade grenadine–it’s an easy mixture of pomegranate juice and water.

Dirty Shirley Float

Other Easy Adult Cocktail Recipes

5 from 6 votes
Dirty Shirley Float featured image

Dirty Shirley Float

Serves — 4
A Dirty Shirley Float is a fun way to spike a classic mocktail and make it a grown-up cocktail. This adult boozy beverage is perfectly pink and makes a delicious Valentine's Day dessert.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 3 cups lemon lime soda
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 2 tbsp grenadine
  • 6 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • maraschino cherries for garnish
  • lime slices for garnish


  • In a pitcher, stir together the lemon-lime soda, vodka, and grenadine.
  • Add 2 scoops of ice cream to your glass. Top with the dirty Shirley mixture. Add cherries and lime slices for optional garnishes and serve immediately.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage :
  • To Store: These need to be served immediately since it is an ice cream forward drink.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 420mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 452IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. 5 stars
    Looks so delicious 🤤 I can’t wait to try this out.. Have to go get me some Ice Cream 🍨. Yummmm