The Biggest Difference Between Dirty Sodas And Italian Sodas

Few things are as refreshing as an icy Italian soda on a warm summer's day. Not only do they quench your thirst, but they come in oh so many flavors, not to mention a whole rainbow of vivid, colorful hues. Enter their not-so-pretty cousin, the "dirty soda." A rebel that doesn't care how dazzling it looks. It's there simply to get the job done — satiate a bone-dry mouth and taste good while doing it. Yes, that's right. Move over, Italian soda. There's a new drink in town, and it hails from Utah. 

(Insert record scratch here.) You read that correctly: Utah is more that just the state that eats the most Jell-O. Indeed, the place that brought you the wholesome Osmond clan, the electric traffic light, all things Mormon, and some of the nation's strictest alcohol rules is actually responsible for this beverage with the throw-caution-to-the-wind persona. And the thirsty, fun-loving inhabitants of America's other 49 states are forever indebted to this canyon-filled Western one. 

The dirty soda has a lot in common with a cocktail

While the Italian soda consists of club soda and a flavored syrup, the dirty soda tends to be much more customizable. Today says the base is any soda or "pop" (depending on what part of the country you're from) with cream, fruit or a fruit purée, and/or a syrup thrown in. Basically, you are the author of your own beverage, creating whatever combination you crave. A "Franken-soda" of sorts.  

Why has this beverage taken Utah by storm? Culinary author and TV host Kelsey Nixon, who hails from the state, told the Washington Post that the appeal may be due to the fact that it has a lot in common with alcoholic drinks — something Mormons are forbidden to consume. She goes on to explain that like a cocktail, they can be made with many ingredients, often have fun names, and are perfect for socializing, which helps church adherents feel like they aren't missing out on all the fun of a happy hour. 

While songstress Olivia Rodrigo was filming "High School Musical" in Utah, she came across the dirty soda (via Teal Mango). One viral Instagram post later, and this regional beverage had piqued the interest of Americans everywhere. And now, this liquid fun is working its way into the plastic cups (and hearts) of customers across the country. 

The dirty soda offers endless flavor possibilities

Not sure what flavors you'd like to try for your first dive into the dirty soda realm? Today offers that at dirty soda bar Swig, you could opt for "The Founder," which combines a Diet Coke base with some fresh lime, a dash of sugar-free coconut, and some coconut cream for an extra coconutty rush. Sodalicious, another Utah soda spot, serves a thirst-quencher humorously named "2nd Wife," a blend of fruit syrups and some half-and-half added to Mountain Dew. TikTok even provides instructions for ordering a dirty soda from Sonic — just ask for "large Dr. Pepper with raspberry and sweet cream." With so many flavor possibilities, it seems that the only limits for dirty sodas are the ones set by your taste buds and imagination. 

If you'd like to indulge in one for yourself, you may be able to find a dirty soda at a restaurant near you. If not, Google is filled with homemade recipes. So what are you waiting for? It's time to get creative and very, very dirty.