Shamrock Shake

Shamrock Shake

When the Ides of March approach, we can look forward to corned beef, mischievous leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and a sublime green confection from McDonald’s called the Shamrock Shake. They’ve gone through many changes over the years, but one thing is clear – it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without them.

The world was introduced to the Shamrock Shock in 1970, although it bore little resemblance to what you probably remembered from your youth. The original McDonald’s concoction was a blend of vanilla ice cream and lemon-lime sherbet, without even the slightest hint of mint. McDonald’s removed the fruit flavors in 1973, offering a boring vanilla shake, albeit with festive green food coloring. The company introduced the character “Uncle O’Grimacey” to hawk the dessert to youngsters in television ads.

It wasn’t until the early 80s that McDonald’s decided to add mint flavoring to the mix. First they offered the Shamrock Sundae, a cup of vanilla ice cream doused with a day-glo mint syrup. Sales weren’t particularly strong so they discontinued the dessert and refocused their efforts on the shake, adding the mint syrup and putting some flavor behind that green hue.

Shamrock Shakes have always enjoyed a loyal following, but they haven’t always been available at all locations until recent years. Today’s version is sold in a clear plastic cup, complete with whipped cream and a cherry. But while many view these added accoutrements as progress, loyalists know that it’s really all about the shake, a seasonal favorite that hopefully won’t be taken away again any time soon.

When March rolls around, do you find yourself hunting down a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake? We’d love to hear all of your memories of this green delicacy in our comments section below.

6 Responses to “Shamrock Shake”

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  1. princessdiana says:

    I love Shamrock Shakes! I have printed out a recipe of it. It is my favorite McDonalds Shake.

    • I love them too–actually went to a local McDonald’s AFTER St. Patrick’s Day (late summer) and asked them if they were still making them…they said no, so I patiently waited until the following year….

      If it’s not to much to ask, how about a copy of the recipe (unless it’s secret)? If not, it’s OK. I’ll enjoy them seasonally as I have for the last 35 years!

  2. D. Strong says:

    I LOVE Shamrock shakes. Its a shame McDonald’s only has them once a year. I lived in Texas for a few years and was shocked to find out they dont serve them on St. Paddie’s out there.

  3. DL says:

    Love the Shamrock Shake & the minty flavour. Am waiting for them to come out with a Peppermint Chocolate one for the Christmas season. Yum!

  4. flaka225 says:

    i remember getting the shamrock shakes every year when I was a the 70’s..but i don’t remember them tasting like mint…they were green, yes, but i remember the ones we got tasted more like the green pistachio icecream…maybe they used a different recipe in SW Georgia…lol

  5. Emily says:

    I’ve never had one–I was never able to make it in to a McDonald’s that had them, in time for St. Patrick’s Day, except in 2008, when they ran out partway through the day. Anyway, I went vegan at the beginning of last year, so I’ll probably never get to try them, except for whatever homemade vegan versions the Internet has to offer. As for the Shamrock Sundaes, I agree, they do look pretty gross. They remind me of vanilla ice cream with mouthwash on top.

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