Oh, the Shamrock Shake. Invented right here in the 1970s, and symbolically dumped into the Chicago River for the past few years, the Shamrock Shake and Chicago have a long history together. But relationships change. Luckily, you don't have to go this whole week without trying one from McDonald's. Here are a few restaurants that are make their own versions.
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People go gaga over this drink: each Shamrock season, blogs (like, well, us) and news sites around the country hail its return to the McDonald's menu, and there's even an entire website, shamrockshake.com, devoted to tracking down the milkshake (which, presumably, will be a lot easier to do this year, but that hasn't stopped users from breathlessly posting local "sightings"). What is it about this soft-serve creation that gets people so fired up?
Difficult and sometimes impossible to find in New York City, McDonald's Shamrock Shake inspires a peculiar cult following. These days, when people finally do get their hands on one they often find it to be more of a sham than anything else. In reality, it's just a vanilla milkshake blended (incompletely) with DayGlo-colored mint syrup. Decidedly artificial, the mint flavor has shades of low-quality, grainy mint chocolate chip ice cream. Still, this limited-time offering gets people excited.
My favorite ice cream of all time is Mint Chocolate Chip—it always has been, always will be. And when blended into a shake with a heavy-handed dash of malt powder, I'm in heaven. It's my version of a gourmet Shamrock Shake, that amazing blend of frozen vanilla soft serve, peppermint flavoring, and green dye at select McDonald's during St. Patty's time. So when I recently stumbled upon a tin of bright green Mint Chip Maltballs at Dean & Deluca, I was ecstatic.
You may notice the seasonal McDonald's menu addition popping up at select locations again this year: the almighty Shamrock Shake. The St. Patrick's Day promotion is just a green, minty shake, but has inspired a cultish following. This year's version has so far been a big disappointment: less minty and topped with a mound of whipped cream and cherry.
I approached the counter and excitedly said, "One Shamrock Shake, please!" The cashier replied, "What?" I thought today was going to be a good day. I really did. Boosted by lard chips and Valrhona chocolate at Serious Eats HQ,...