If you’ve ever wondered just how powerful the combination of the right social media platform and the right influencer can be, consider the latest national craze: dirty soda. Last December, Grammy Award-winning, pop phenomenon Olivia Rodrigo posted a photo of herself on Instagram. She was holding a cup from a Utah-based drive-by drink shop chain called Swig. That post is being cited as the catalyst for making dirty sodas popular. Now, hashtags like #dirtysoda and #utahsoda are trending on TikTok, making the unconventional beverage hugely popular across the nation.

What is a dirty soda?

A brief history of dirty soda

Dirty soda isn’t new. It has been around in Utah for over a decade. Because of the large population of members belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, the state has developed a fascination for soda. Members of the church are under guidelines to abstain from “strong drinks,” including coffee, tea and alcohol. This relationship with the carbonated beverage intensified a decade ago when the church clarified its position on caffeinated soft drinks, stating that caffeinated soda was fine. It was just coffee, tea and alcohol that were prohibited.

In an effort to find a wider variety of palate-pleasing beverages that fell within the church’s guidelines, nonalcoholic, chilled mixed drinks became popular. This led to the rise of chains that specialized in sweet, refreshing beverages, such as Swig, Sodalicious and Fiiz.

Ingredients found in a dirty soda

With alcoholic beverages, “dirty” refers to any drink that contains olive juice or brine. This adds a cloudy appearance to the cocktail and disrupts the “clean” taste, giving it an intriguing characteristic.

Dirty soda is similar. Ingredients are added to the drink that make it cloudy and give it a whole new flavor facet. In some ways, it is like adding creamer to your coffee. To make a dirty soda, adults add ingredients like creamers, syrups, fruits and juices. For kids, the soda is dirtied mostly by adding milk, whipped cream, candy and sprinkles.

Arguably, the most popular dirty soda at the moment is a dirty Coke. While the recipes vary slightly, you typically start with 12 ounces of Coke or Diet Coke and add crushed ice, two tablespoons of coconut syrup and two slices of lime. To create a little more cloudiness, some individuals also add one or two tablespoons of half and half, but this is optional.

Can I make my own dirty soda?

While dirty sodas might be a craze that is sweeping the nation, there is one tiny problem: The bulk of the chains that specialize in this flavorful refresher are located in a relatively small region of the U.S. The best place to get these thirst-quenching treats is Utah and other western states. While it is possible to find chains in Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio, most of the country might have a hard time finding authentic dirty sodas.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the flavorful phenomenon. Dirty sodas are made with common ingredients that are found in most households. While you might have a little more trouble procuring flavored syrups, thanks to online shopping, you can order them today and have them shipped directly to your door in just a few days. This means anyone can make their own dirty soda at home.

What you need to make a dirty soda

SodaStream Terra Sparkling Water Maker Bundle

SodaStream Terra Sparkling Water Maker Bundle

If you want to start making your dirty soda from scratch, this bundle lets you carbonate water to your liking. It comes with everything you need, including the sparkling water maker, two carbon dioxide cylinders, three reusable carbonation bottles and flavoring. 

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Coca-Cola Original Cola

Coca-Cola Original Cola

This is the soda you need to make the most popular recipe: dirty Coke. This 24-pack of 12-ounce cans is perfect for making a single serving of your new favorite beverage.

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Coca-Cola Diet Coke Original Caffeine-Free Soda

Coca-Cola Diet Coke Original Caffeine-Free Soda

If you prefer a caffeine-free diet option, this may be a better fit for you. It comes in a 24-pack of 12-ounce cans.

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Jordan's Skinny Syrups Sugar-Free Coconut

Jordan’s Skinny Syrups (Sugar-Free Coconut)

Jordan’s popular sugar-free syrups let you add your favorite flavor with no guilt. This 25.4-ounce bottle comes with a pump so you can add the perfect amount of flavoring to your soda.

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365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Half And Half

365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Half And Half

Half and half is the ingredient that gives a dirty soda its cloudiness. This organic offering from Whole Foods has no added sugars.

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Coffee Mate Liquid Creamers

Coffee Mate Liquid Creamers

If you want to make your dirty soda a little more interesting, try these flavored coffee creamers. This pack of 36 single-serve containers includes French Vanilla, Original, Hazelnut, Italian Sweet Cream, Snickers, Cafe Mocha, Vanilla Caramel, Irish Creme and Cinnamon Vanilla Creme — availability may affect the flavors you receive. They are shelf stable, so no refrigeration is needed.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 
 

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