American Classics: How to Make a Homemade "Shamrock Shake"

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

I first heard about Shamrock Shakes my freshman year of college. Mint chocolate chip ice cream had always ranked in my top 3 flavors as a kid, and I was immediately intrigued. When St. Patty’s Day rolled around my Texan roommate suggested we hunt for one. Artificial mint flavoring? Green food coloring? Frozen milky-like substance? Yes, please!

Alas, for years New York was a dry Shamrock Shake town. Apparently the New York regional franchisees voted to not carry the shake. It wasn’t until I took a business trip to Utah during Shamrock Shake shoulder season that I finally got to sample the big green. Unfortunately my expectations were not in line with reality. The mint flavoring was mild at best and a bit too toothpaste-y for my liking. And as a New Englander, I’m always disappointed when shakes aren’t double or triple thick (frappe anyone?). Shamrock Shakes couldn’t hold a candle to my beloved Mint Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

These days Shamrock Shakes are available nationally, but after that Utah experience you won’t find me at Mickey D’s any time soon. Still, something about Shamrock Shakes captivate me—perhaps I’m just sucker for marketing and/or alliteration—which is why I wanted to make a Shamrock Shake that would live up to the minty goodness I had built up in my mind.

This homemade recipe uses few ingredients and comes together without the corn syrup (high fructose or otherwise) and additives and preservatives included in the real deal. Pleasantly minty and thick enough for quality slurping/straw cloggage, this is a shake that goes down easy.

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Homemade Shamrock Shake »

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About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she’s the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of the forthcoming book New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.