Dirty Shirley Cocktail Jello Shots

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Dirty Shirley Cocktail jello shots have got it all figured out: sweet, fruity, and just a tad tart. Not to mention, boozy! They’re the perfect start to any party. 

titled collage for dirty shirley cocktail jello shots


Creative and customizable, you can control the flavors in this jello shots recipe. Use your favorite flavor of red gelatin, your preferred brand of lemon lime soda, and switch up the garnishes as you see fit. 

Vodka is one of my favorite liquors to use in mixed drinks. It pairs well with almost any flavor. It’s not just for Bloody Marys and martinis! Though, I do love those too!

Jello shots can be deceptive. They’re sugary and smooth, but don’t forget about the alcohol. Prepare, serve, and enjoy responsibly!

ingredients for dirty shirley jello shots recipe

Dirty Shirley Cocktail

The classic Dirty Shirley cocktail has been around since the 1930s, but this recipe adds a little bit of fun to it!

The Jell-O makes it sweet and plays well with the vodka. It may bring out your inner child, but this sure isn’t your kid’s Shirley Temple!

I bet you never thought red gelatin could be so versatile in the kitchen! If you grabbed too many packets at the store, use them to make my Mimosa Jello Shots, Tequila Sunrise Jello Shots or Red White and Blue Jello Shots recipe!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Red Gelatin Mix – I like to use strawberry, but you can use any flavor you want — as long as it’s red! Cherry, cranberry, fruit punch… You name it!
  • Lemon Lime Soda – Name brand soda will generally give you the best flavor and go best with the vodka. At the end of the day, though, any brand will do!
  • Vodka – I always recommend using good, high quality vodka. Cheap alcohol and Jell-O are a pretty bad combo. Splurge on the Tito’s or Grey Goose this time around!
  • Whipped Cream and Limes – Dollop and drop these garnishes on top for the cutest presentation you’ve ever seen! 
pouring vodka into jello mix

Jello Shot Recipe Tips

  1. Minimize the mess.

If you love making vodka jello shots, then you simply must invest in an injector or pourable measuring cup (check out my recommendations in the recipe card. 

Using a food-safe shot injector is fast, easy, and not at all messy. And since red gelatin stains clothing and countertops, using the least messy option is the best bet!

  1. Play with the flavors. 

Using a flavored vodka is a fun way to add even more dimension to the Dirty Shirley Cocktail shots! Anything fruity or herbal (or both!) works well in this recipe.

  1. Go garnish crazy

Mix things up with your toppers: maraschino cherries, strawberry slices, even some popping bubbles are yummy and adorable! Of course, don’t forget to remove the garnishes before downing the jello shot. 

bowl of jello shot mix

Making Vodka Jello Shots Ahead

Trying to save some time? You can make this recipe up to 2 weeks before the big day — without the garnishes. Save those for last! Otherwise, they get mushy and melty and all around unappetizing. Also, be sure to get jello shot cups with lids, because you’ll want to keep the lids on until you’re ready to add the garnishes.

One more thing: never ever freeze homemade jello shots. I can’t say this enough! You can slide them into the freezer to help them set faster, but not for long term storage. The texture is totally lost, and that ruins the most fun thing about the recipe!

cups full of jello shots recipe

Dirty Shirley Cocktail FAQ

What is a Dirty Shirley made of?

Your traditional Dirty Shirley cocktail contains grenadine, lemon lime soda, and vodka.

When making these jello shots, however, we’re skipping the grenadine and going with gelatin instead! Along with the lime juice on top from the garnish, you get the same fruity tart flavor that you’d find in the original cocktail.

Can you make a Dirty Shirley cocktail without alcohol?

Absolutely — that’s a Shirley Temple! Just take out the alcohol and compensate with the same amount of your soda of choice.

How much alcohol can you put in a jello shot?

You can use between ½ to ⅔ cups of alcohol in your average jello shots recipe. Any more alcohol could prevent the gelatin from setting properly, so don’t go with more than that!

dirty shirley jello shots on wood board with lime slice

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dirty shirley vodka jello shots with whipped cream

Other Easy Jello Shot Cocktail Recipes

dirty shirley cocktail jello shot closeup

Dirty Shirley Cocktail Jello Shots

Donna Elick
Dirty Shirley Cocktail Jello Shots are a tipsy treat your friends will love. Make this fruity vodka Jello shots recipe for your next party!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
chill time 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Drink
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 15


  • 3 ounces red gelatin mix
  • 3/4 cup lemon lime soda
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vodka

Optional Garnishes


  • Add the jello mix and boiling water to a medium mixing bowl; stir until dissolved.
  • Add lemon lime soda and vodka and stir again.
  • Line 15 shot cups on a rimmed baking sheet or flat surface that you can easily move.
  • Using an injector or pourable measuring cup, fill each shot cup about ¾ of the way full. Do not fill to the top.
  • Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours, or until set.
  • Just before serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream and a lime slice, if desired. Enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

I used strawberry gelatin for this recipe, but you can use any other red flavor that you like.
For the best flavor, use a name brand lemon lime soda. However, any lemon lime soda will do the trick.
I definitely suggest using a higher quality vodka. Cheaper vodkas give the Jello an unappealing, chemical flavor.
If you don’t plan on serving these as soon as they set up, don’t add any garnishes. Just put the lids on them and leave as-is. Add the garnishes right before serving.
Ungarnished shots can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge if stored with lids on. Don’t store them without lids or they will dry up and get leathery. Don’t freeze.
I use an injector, because it guarantees less mess and makes the process quicker. A pourable measuring cup also works pretty well.
To make these virgin, replace the vodka with more lemon lime soda or cold water. Both will work well.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 45cal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.5g | Sodium: 28mg | Sugar: 6g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.01mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for dirty shirley cocktail jello shots

Originally published July 2022

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