The Perfected Shamrock Shake


Kelly Horan and Jane McGuiggin

Every March, McDonald’s releases their limited edition St. Patrick’s Day specialty drink—the Shamrock Shake. As one of the only Irish-themed drinks or treats in the fast food industry, the Shamrock Shake receives a lot of hype. This vanilla milkshake dyed green with mint flavoring and topped with whipped cream and a cherry is an ideal treat for the St. Patrick’s Day season. 

An ice cream shake may seem like an easy dessert to create; however, many things could go wrong in the process. First off, there needs to be a perfect ice cream to milk ratio—too much ice cream makes it impossible to sip with a straw, and too much milk makes you wonder if you were better off staying home and not wasting your money on a “shake.” The whipped cream also plays a pivotal role: Too light and fluffy is an issue, but if it’s too thick, it’s a waste of space. The mint flavor itself is also a gamble to work with, especially figuring out how much to add to avoid overpowering the drink with mint flavor but ensuring that it’s identifiable as a mint drink.

Even with all of these potential obstacles, McDonald’s has managed to make the perfect ice cream shake. 

The Shamrock Shake boasts a delicious balance of ice cream and milk—enough ice cream to make it an actual dessert, but enough milk to allow you to use a straw. The shake is both smooth and sweet, and it leaves you wanting more. One factor that you don’t have to worry about is the taste of dye in the shake. The mint flavoring is exceptional, as it doesn’t overpower the vanilla. In fact, we’d describe it as a “hint of mint.”

Most people agree March is a long month–there are no long weekends, and the weather can be miserable. But with the Shamrock Shake available during the St. Patrick’s Day season, it makes us wish March could last longer. 

Although neither of us typically enjoys minty flavored desserts, we both found ourselves repeatedly going back to McDonald’s for this fun shake. McDonald’s has very few competitors who capitalize on St. Patrick’s Day, which may be why we await this drink every year. In our opinion, the Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s is the perfect way to celebrate the Irish holiday.