TikTok Wants You to Try a 'Dirty Soda'—But What Is It?
You've heard of adding flavor to soda, like Cherry Coke, or adding ice cream to root beer to get a root beer float, but TikTok users have taken soda recipes to a whole new level with "dirty sodas." This viral trend has people combining soda, flavoring, and some sort of milk base. Now, PepsiCo is capitalizing on this trend, teaming up with Lindsay Lohan for their own version of a dirty soda: pilk—as in "Pepsi" plus "milk."
In PepsiCo's new ad campaign shared via the @lindsaylohan TikTok account, Lohan is seen walking down the stairs of her home on Christmas Eve and notices that Santa has left a glass full of milk next to a plate of cookies. However, this milk contains a secret ingredient: Pepsi. As she sips the beverage, Lohan's eyes light up with satisfaction.
"That is one dirty soda, Santa," Lohan says, which is shortly followed by sounds of Santa's signature "ho, ho, ho!" in the background. "Ahh, pilk and cookies!" she adds.
This entire campaign may seem strange to some (not to mention, exciting for diehard LiLo fans). But the concept of a "dirty soda" has taken the internet by storm, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
According to Desert News, the concept of a dirty soda can be traced back to Utah during the early 2010s, where the fast-food restaurant Swig was founded. Swig, who considers itself to be the "Home of the Original Dirty Soda," is in good company with places like Sonic and Sodalicious, as each of these chains specialize in adding flavors and other fun ingredients to their fountain drinks.
In a TikTok video from Swig, the company explains that a dirty soda originally began with just a splash of coconut flavor in your soda, but has since evolved into adding creams, flavors, and even fruit.
Vice previously reported on the "dirty soda" phenomenon back in 2016, attributing the drink's popularity among Utah's Mormon community because of the shift in policy on drinking caffeine the religion mandated for LDS members in 2012.
"In 2012, however, the Church of Latter-day Saints clarified in an explicit statement that church doctrine did not prohibit caffeine, but only drinks that were actually hot. Coke products were officially welcomed into LDS," the Vice article reads.
But how did the dirty soda concept sustain its popularity to the point where it reportedly achieved viral status on TikTok in 2022?
Some people attribute its viral attention to Olivia Rodrigo, who posted a picture of herself holding a dirty soda in a Swig cup on Instagram in December 2021. According to People, Rodrigo spent a good amount of time in Utah filming the first two seasons of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. From there, TikTok users rushed to their kitchens to attempt their own versions of a dirty soda, and the video platform couldn't get enough of these deliciously strange drinks.
While I have to admit that I haven't tried a dirty soda yet, some of the recipes on TikTok are certainly peaking my curiosity. Here are a few examples of popular dirty soda recipes:
Swig's dirty soda: The Waikiki
Originator of the dirty soda, Swig, posted their recipe for what's known as the "Waikiki." According to the post from TikTok user @swigdrinks, you can combine Coca-Cola, pineapple syrup, and coconut cream for a caffeinated piña colada bevvy that will have you yearning for the nearest beach.
Diet Coke with coconut syrup and coconut cream
Inspired by Swig's line of dirty sodas, TikTok user @brockandboston made an iteration of the soda shop's signature beverage at home using Diet Coke, coconut syrup, coconut cream, and ice.
Dr. Pepper with raspberry and sweet cream
TikTok user @kourtneyandkarlee get their dirty soda fix from Sonic, using this of bold, fruity Dr. Pepper with a shot of raspberry syrup and sweet cream.
As you can see, dirty soda seems to be a trend that we'll likely continue to see in the future—and I'm sure there will be plenty of other big name brands who will leverage this TikTok sensation to market their products.