Summer Guide 2018 | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly

May 23, 2018 News » Cover Story

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    Dirty Drinking
    How to navigate Utah's dirty soda scene.

    By Amanda Rock

    It's gonna get hot this summer. Like sweltering, sweaty, stick-to-your-car-seat kinda hot. Your cool-down solution is just a drive-thru away if you hit up your local dirty soda joint for a cold beverage to defeat the heat. For the uninitiated, they're made with pebble ice and served in a giant Styrofoam cup, so they stay nice and cold.

    Don't roll your eyes at me. I know there are two distinct groups of people in Salt Lake City: dirty soda devotees and the rest of us. Sure, pop with added sugary syrup is mostly popular with those who abstain from coffee and alcohol for religious reasons, but after a week-long sugar binge (aka "research"), I'm convinced there is a dirty soda for everyone. After all, it's way cheaper than your Starbucks addiction (and it's not like you can drive around drinking a cold beer). So let's get dirty.

    Swig 'n' Sweets
    Swig is Utah's premier dirty soda franchise—a logical place to wrap my head around the soda sensation that's taken over across the land in the past few years. My first trip through the drive-thru left me dizzy with indecision; there are so many options! I cleared my head and settled on the Missionary, a Sprite with coconut milk and Tiger's Blood syrup. The flavor was fruity sweet, but I didn't like how the drink coagulated into bright pink chunks. I had better luck with Big Al, a simple, tasty concoction of Diet Coke, coconut and lime syrup. On my third trip, I asked for their most popular drink and ended up with a Raspberry Dream in my eager hands. It's made with Dr. Pepper, raspberry and coconut syrup. Smooth and sweet, it left me beginning to like it dirty.
    Various locations,

    Feeling like I had a handle on this dirty soda business, I visited Fiiz' Taylorsville location. I was overjoyed to spot Lime Rickey on the menu as it was my childhood favorite from Arctic Circle. I'm happy to report that the combination of Sprite, grape syrup and fresh lime is still delicious. Another Sprite-based beverage I enjoyed was the Scotch and Soda with vanilla, lemon and lime syrup—a simple and refreshing combination. Ready for the big guns, it was the Threat Level Midnight that blew my mind. It's made with Coke and a luscious medley of raspberry puree and blackberry syrup. Real fruit purée in a soda, it turns out, is a delight. I'll be back to try this again.
    Various locations,

    Perhaps it's the free popcorn with each order, but I enjoyed visiting the pictured Thirst most of all. The menu is concise and simple to navigate, which I really appreciated. I ordered the Yer Killin' Me Smalls—made with root beer, marshmallow syrup and vanilla creme. It was too saccharine for me, but pleasant enough. Toppling all other drinks I tried during the week was the Fresh Prince, a thirst-quenching combination of tart lemonade, strawberry- and raspberry-flavored syrup, huge wedges of fresh lemon, lime and a few fresh, ripe berries. This was the only dirty soda I regretted getting the small 16-ounce size as I could drink it all day. Also, I would like to take it home to add a glug of gin or vodka. With this Fresh Prince by my side, it's going to be a good (and dirty) summer.
    38 E. 1300 South, SLC, 385-229-4359,

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