For the longest time (okay, years), all of us—or at least all of us that aren’t from Utah—lived in ignorance (and possibly bliss) of a thing called “dirty soda.” That is, until a few months ago, when pop star and national treasure Olivia Rodrigo posed for a photo holding a foam cup of dirty soda, showing us yet another thing you can access once you have a driver’s license.
What is dirty soda?
“Dirty soda” is a combination of pebble ice, soda, syrups, and sometimes fruit, topped with cream, creating swirl effects in the cup. Utahans have been indulging in the drink for over a decade now, where drive-thru chains like Swig have popularized the drink. Almost 69% of Utah residents are Mormon, making it the state with the highest Mormon population in the country. The LDS Church prohibits its members to drink hot caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, but cold beverages, even caffeinated ones, are okay.
Nicole Tanner, co-founder of Swig—which claims to be the home of the dirty soda, though there’s dispute—told The New York Times that the idea for Swig was inspired by Sonic drive-thrus, where “they had the good pebble ice, and the good foam cup.” The names of the drinks though seem inspired by Utah culture, and are great for patrons who are begging to say, “I’d like the Founder” out loud to another person.
The drink’s popularity was relatively contained to Utah. Then, last December, Olivia Rodrigo posed with a Swig cup, and a couple million #dirtysoda TikTok views later, the rest of us found out about it. But as of now Swig only has locations in Utah and Oklahoma, so only a select few are able to give the original a try.
According to Today, Utahans also call them “sodies,” which means that it’s important for you to imagine every Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cast member saying “sodies.” Sodies! What if Lisa Barlow is getting a sodie right now?