Icy, fizzy, and creamy, dirty soda is the perfect sweet treat to sip on this summer.
If you’re not from Utah, you’re probably thinking, what the heck is “dirty soda” and why would I ever want to drink it. But, if you’ve ever stoped by a Swig or Sodalicious, you know. Oh, you know. Dirty soda is seeing a surge in popularity thanks to Tiktok and Olivia Rodrigo and I am here for it.
What is dirty soda?
Dirty soda is fountain soda mixed with flavored syrups and cream, all served up over nugget ice. There are literally millions of recipes you can make and you can definitely find a flavor catered to you. The original version is: Diet Coke over ice, with coconut syrup, lime juice, and half and half. It’s creamy and refreshing all at the same time. Think of dirty soda as a customizable non-alcoholic fizzy cocktail.
Where did dirty sodas come from?
Dirty sodas are from Utah, where there’s a large Mormon population. Because Mormons don’t drink alcohol (or coffee!), dirty sodas came about as a fun way to enjoy non-alcoholic mixed drinks.
What makes it “dirty”?
It’s the cream! I am not sure why – if you know, let me know in the comments – but adding the cream is what makes it dirty. Maybe it’s because cream and soda doesn’t go together smoothly until you mix it?
Wait, aren’t these just melted floats?
Remember floats? Soda topped off with a perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream? I LOVE floats, especially root beer floats. Essentially, dirty sodas are a variation of a ice cream float, but with heavy cream instead of ice cream.
Can I make dirty soda at home?
Yes! It’s super easy to make dirty soda and it just takes regular grocery store ingredients. In fact, hold a dirty soda party and have a bunch of sodas and mix ins and customized to your heart’s galore. There are bunch of flavored coffee creamers these days and they work perfectly if you don’t want to buy coffee syrups.
How to make dirty soda
- Ice: First, start off with a large glass of ice. Nugget ice is preferable (more on that below) but obviously most people don’t have $700 nugget ice machines at home so go with whatever ice you have.
- Syrups: To the ice, add your syrups of choice. For the classic dirty soda, we’re going to add 2 pumps of coconut syrup (1 tbsp) and 1 tbsp of fresh lime juice.
- Soda: Next, we’re going to top it off with Diet Coke.
- Cream: The cream is what makes it dirty! Pour on the heavy cream and watch as it swirls in prettily.
- Stir and enjoy. Give everything a stir and sip!
What is nugget ice?
If you’ve ever had the ice at Sonic, you’ve experienced the joy of nugget ice. I am truly obsessed with nugget ice. So much so that Mike seriously thought about buying me a nugget ice maker for me for my birthday. I love that squishy, crunchy, chewable ice. I’m not alone in my love either, nugget ice has a cult following. Sadly, I don’t have a nugget ice maker, but loads of ice is key in dirty sodas: it keeps them ice cold and also waters down the drinks to a perfect drinkable sweetness level.
Above: sadly, not true nugget ice.
What else can you use coconut syrup for?
If you’re a coconut lover like me, you probably won’t have an issue using up a bottle of coconut syrup, but if you need some ideas, here’s what you can do:
- coconut lattes: make a regular latte and sweeten to taste with coconut syrup
- cold brew with coconut syrup: sweeten cold brew to taste with coconut syrup
- coconut lemonade: leave the sugar out of your favorite lemonade recipe and sweeten with coconut syrup to taste
- coconut banana smoothies: blend together 1 small frozen banans with 1/2 cup coconut milk and coconut syrup to taste
Dirty soda ideas
- DDD: Dr. Pepper + coconut syrup
- Malibu: Dr. Pepper + coconut syrup + vanilla syrup
- Naughty and Nice: Dr. Pepper + English toffee syrup + half and half
- Buttery Beer: Root beer + butterscotch syrup + vanilla cream
- Riptide: Sprite + cranberry + raspberry + fresh lime
Other fun drinks to try
Give it a try or let me know your favorite dirty soda recipes!
- 1 tbsp coconut syrup ~2 pumps, see notes
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 12 oz Diet Coke
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- ice as needed
In a large glass filled with ice, layer on the coconut syrup, lime juice, Coke, and heavy cream. Stir well and enjoy!
You can sub the coconut syrup and heavy cream for 2 tbsp of coconut creamer.
Dirty Soda Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 101
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6.9g43%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.