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 floating root beer, but TikTok users have taken soda recipes to a whole new level with the “dirty drinks”. This viral trend has people combining soda, flavoring, and some sort of milk base. Now, PepsiCo is capitalizing on that trend, teaming up with Lindsay Lohan for their own take on a dirty soda: pile— as in “Pepsi” plus “milk”.

In PepsiCo’s new ad campaign shared via TikTok account @lindsaylohan, Lohan is seen walking down the stairs of her house on Christmas Eve and notices that Santa has left a full glass of milk next to a plate of cookies. However, this latte contains a secret ingredient: Pepsi. As she sips the drink, Lohan’s eyes light up with satisfaction.

“That’s a dirty soda, Santa,” Lohan says, which is quickly followed by the sounds of Santa’s signature “ho, ho, ho!” on background. “Ahh, pilk and cookies!” she adds.

The entire campaign may seem strange to some (not to mention, exciting to diehard LiLo fans). But the concept of “dirty soda” has taken the internet by storm, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

According to Desert News, the dirty soda concept can be traced back to Utah in the early 2010s, where fast-food restaurant Swig was founded. Swig, which bills itself as the “home of the original Dirty Soda,” is in good company with places like Sonic and Sodalicious, as each of these chains specializes 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 started with just a splash of coconut flavor in your soda, but has since evolved to add creamers, flavors, and even fruit.

Vice previously reported on the “dirty soda” phenomenon in 2016, attributing the drink’s popularity among Utah’s Mormon community due to the change in the caffeine consumption policy, the religion imposed on Church members in 2012.

“In 2012, however, the Church of Latter-day Saints made it clear in an explicit statement that church doctrine did not prohibit caffeine, only beverages that were actually hot. Coke products were officially welcomed into the Church”, the Vice law article.

But how did the dirty soda concept maintain its popularity to the point of reaching viral status on TikTok in 2022?

Some people attribute her viral attention to Olivia Rodrigo, who posted a photo of herself holding a dirty soda in a Swig cup on Instagram in December 2021. According to PeopleRodrigo spent a lot of time in Utah filming the first two seasons of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. From there, TikTok users have rushed to their kitchens to try their own versions of a dirty soda, and the video platform just can’t get enough of these deliciously weird drinks.

While I must admit I haven’t tried a dirty soda yet, some of the recipes on TikTok are definitely piquing my curiosity. Here are some examples of popular dirty soda recipes:

Swig’s dirty soda: the Waikiki

The maker of dirty soda, Swig, has released his own recipe for what’s known as “Waikiki.” According to the post by TikTok user @swigdrinks, you can combine Coke, pineapple syrup, and coconut cream for a caffeinated piña colada bevvy that’ll have you craving the closest beach.

Diet Coke with Coconut Syrup and Cream of Coconut

Inspired by Swig’s line of dirty sodas, TikTok user @brockandboston made an iteration of the soda shop’s signature drink at home using Diet Coke, coconut syrup, coconut cream, and ice.

Dr. Pepper with raspberry and sweet cream

TikTok user @kourtneyandkarlee gets her fix of dirty soda from Sonic, using this bold and 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 will probably continue to see in the future and I’m sure there will be many other big brands that will capitalize on this TikTok sensation to market their products.

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