The Best Liquors To Get Your Shamrock Shake A Little Tipsy

With every festive holiday comes an equally festive drink. Remember when Dunkin' released its Cookie Butter Cold Brew for Christmas or the Halloween-inspired Starbucks Zombie Frappuccino? While the latter only lasted for a limited time — hopefully, they will bring it back to life soon — other seasonal drinks have returned time and time again to heighten the holidays; one of the most popular being McDonald's Shamrock Shake.

This minty vanilla shake first appeared as a lemon-lime sherbet/ice cream mix in 1970. In 1983, McDonald's threw out the citrus and turned the shake into a more peppermint-based tradition. The Oreo Shamrock McFlurry was similarly released in 2020 as a permanent part of the collection. Nonetheless, McDonald's lists the classic treat as only having three ingredients: vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a secret Shamrock Syrup. While these don't seem to be ground-breaking revelations, there is a reason this St. Patrick's Day drink has a massive cult following: limited supply. 

Shamrock Shake season only lasts for about three weeks. From late February to March 17, these seasonal items can make the drive-thru line wrap around the curb and back up normal operations (that is, if the machine isn't out of order). The best way to get to the pot of gold? Making an endless supply of Shamrock Shakes at home. Not only is it easier on the wallet, but it allows you to truly celebrate — especially if there's a dash of booze mixed in.

This homemade shake will sham-rock your St. Paddy's Day

Shamrock Shakes are surprisingly easy to make and only require a few basic ingredients: vanilla ice cream, green food coloring, and peppermint flavoring. Now, here's where the fun kicks in. Instead of using regular extract, opt for mint-flavored alcohol such as Smirnoff Peppermint Vodka or Bailey's Vanilla Mint Shake (specifically made for treats like these). Other combinations can include vanilla whiskey or crème de menthe, depending on what you're in the mood for. Lastly, if you plan on using Marshmallow Fluff and Lucky Charms Marshmallows to decorate your glass, feel free to add a splash of Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka. It's important to note that you will still need peppermint extract if you choose a more sweetened liquor over a minty one. 

Before you dump your ingredients in, allow your vanilla ice cream to thaw on the counter for a few minutes. This will enable it to blend better with the added ice, which will ultimately help thicken the shake. Then, add them to the blender. Don't forget to include some heavy whipping cream or whole milk — the higher the fat percentage, the creamier the shake will be. Top it off with the alcohol of your liking and a small amount of green food dye. You can also make your own Shamrock McFlurry by adding some crushed mint Oreo cookies before blending everything up. Decorate your tipsy treat with sprinkles, additional crushed mint cookies, or marshmallows, and enjoy! 

Mint and sugar contents can be a no-go

Truth be told, you either love Shamrock Shakes or think they taste like Listerine mouthwash. Yes, despite peppermint being one of the most popular seasonal flavors — Starbucks even stated their Peppermint Mocha was one of the "most-loved holiday beverages" – many have decided that throwing away the Shamrock Shake is the only way to make it taste better. However, it wasn't always this way. 

After the lemon-lime mixture (but before the peppermint takeover), the Shamrock Shake was just plain vanilla with food coloring. So, if you still want to enjoy a Shamrock Shake without any additional flavors, you can follow the 1973 recipe and blend up a signature vanilla milkshake. Add ice cream and milk to the blender with a dollop of green food dye and a few tablespoons of extra sugar. After all, what would the Shamrock Shake be without its massive sugar content?

The American Heart Association suggests that daily sugar intake should stay below 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women. McDonald's reports that a small Shamrock Shake contains 500 calories and 63 grams of sugar. This alone could prevent many from even trying the festive drink, whether they enjoy peppermint or not. Still want to partake in the St. Patrick's Day fun? TikTok user @janellerohner recommends using a vanilla protein shake, sugar-free instant vanilla pudding, some mint extract, plain Greek yogurt, ice, and green food dye. The result is exceptionally light, creamy, and full of protein.