We Tried Shake Shack's Trolls-Themed Trio Of Holiday Shakes And Now We Want To Join The Band

Trolls are mythical creatures that were originally dreamed up in Nordic folklore. These strange-looking creatures reemerged in modern-day pop culture when Thomas Dam turned them into the famous "Good Luck Troll" toys. These Trolls, with their blackened eyes, wide smiles and ears, and fluffy, colorful hair that seemed to defy gravity, matched the grooviness of the era they came of age: the 1960s. 

Flash forward half a century and the Trolls have received a new lease on life, thanks to DreamWorks' hit animated movie series. On November 17, 2023, the third "Trolls" movie — titled "Trolls Band Together" — will be released in theaters. To mark the occasion, the studio collaborated with Shake Shack to create three limited-time shakes to both promote and celebrate the film. 

Shake Shack's Senior Manager of Culinary Innovation Nick Wuest said in a press release regarding the shakes (via QSR Magazine): "We had a blast dreaming up the trio of shakes that so perfectly capture the flavor of "Trolls Band Together" characters." The shakes, inspired by three of the characters in the "Trolls Band Together" film, include Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake, Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake, and Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake.

Not wanting to miss out on any kind of a shake from Shake Shack, I dashed right over to check all three out. Are these three shakes — served in colorful "Trolls"-themed plastic cups — totally ready to roll? Or are we all being simply trolled in triplicate? Here is our chew and review!

What does Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake taste like?

By the time I got my hands on Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake, it had been sitting around for a few moments. By then, the cotton candy "hair" topping on the shake had started to recede into a pool of vanilla. However, this shake passing both the smell, taste, and texture tests was all that mattered.

It smelled like walking through an amusement park; where endless sugar treats butt up against one another, creating allure and nausea in the same whiff. The shake was filled with blue cotton candy. This element was compact, not all that sticky, and had a blue raspberry taste to it. As the shake further melted, the blue cotton candy shed its dye, making psychedelic blue swirls. The beverage lacked much of the promised pink cotton candy advertised in photos.

Some people may use a spoon to consume a shake. But the key with most shakes — and especially this one — is to use a straw. When you suck through, tasting that ever-solid vanilla shake, bits of a Pop Rocks-type candy shoot up, adding crunch to the affair. The bits are a perfectly portioned size, so they don't get stuck in the straw. The candy was supposed to have a cookie dough taste to it, but since the vanilla flavoring of the shake is so dominant (not a bad thing), this flavor didn't come through. Overall, this is a quality vanilla shake that happily fills the belly.

What does Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake taste like?

As the new "Trolls" character, Viva needs to stand out from the colorful crowd. And while Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake is the least flashy of the trio, it may secretly be one of the best. Topped with gold flakes, this glittery yet plain beauty looks like a Goldschläger shake served in the staff cafeteria at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The gold flakes are colored sugar crystals and mainly serve as decoration on the top. You may encounter them, as well as the drink's whipped cream, when you suck through to the bottom.

Drinking Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake is as easy as can be, as its smooth and neatly sweet flavoring exemplifies the best of what a cinnamon roll is. It has a taste more akin to a well-iced Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll than a Cinnabon one, and the breading flavor reigns supreme. The only problem with this shake is that it's so darn good that it's hard to stop drinking to take a breather.

What does Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake taste like?

Topped with emerald green mint candy flecks that make it look like a sour cream and onion dip, Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake could easily pass as a St. Patrick's treat — in addition to being one that comes home for the winter holidays. Taking a nibble of just the mint candy reveals they have a real peppy and strong flavor, reminiscent of a frozen York Peppermint Pattie.

Below the top foam, the shake pretty much was a standard chocolate shake with hints of fudge, but not so much the mint it was supposed to contain. While Poppy and Viva's vanilla shakes tended to melt quicker, this one proved to hold onto its thickness a lot longer. As the richest shake of the three, Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake was actually hard to wolf down, allowing one to savor it longer than maybe expected.

What are Shake Shack's Trolls milkshakes made of?

Like all shakes freshly made at Shake Shack, these "Trolls"-themed ones are hand-spun, using frozen custard that is made with milk free of artificial growth hormones. Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake is made with a sugar cookie-flavored base, cookie dough candy, whipped cream, and cotton candy. Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake is a combination of vanilla and chocolate frozen custard. It's also made with mint fudge, and topped with whipped cream and mint candy crunch. Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake is cinnamon roll flavored, swirled with gold frosting, and topped with whipped cream and gold confetti.

In terms of nutritional value, Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake contains 950 calories, 45 grams of total fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 245 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 120 grams of total carbohydrates, 117 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein. Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake has 880 calories, 46 grams of total fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 260 milligrams of cholesterol, 390 milligrams of sodium, 104 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 94 grams of sugar, and 18 grams of protein. Finally, Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake contains 730 calories, 36 grams of total fat, 22 grams of saturated fat, 235 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 85 grams of total carbohydrates, 83 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

Where, when, and how to order Shake Shack's Trolls holiday milkshakes

Starting November 1, 2023, the three "Trolls"-themed holiday shakes will be available at nationwide locations of Shake Shack, excluding airports and stadiums. The shakes are available to order at any time during normal operating hours of your local Shake Shack.

The shakes can be found under the Shakes & Frozen Custard section of the chain's menu. They can be ordered in-store, at the register, at a kiosk, and via the drive-thru (where available). By using the Shake Shack app or website, the shakes can be ordered in advance for pick-up in-store and delivery. There are not many customization options for these shakes, but on the app and website, one can opt to remove the whipped cream and cotton candy topping on Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake.

The prices for these shakes may vary by location, but it's estimated that Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake will cost approximately $7.49, and both Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake and Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake will cost around $7.29. In New York City, I paid $6.89 for Poppy's and $6.79 each for the other two.

The final verdict

Whether you're a "Trolls" fanatic and can't wait for the new movie to hit theaters, or haven't a clue who Poppy, Branch, or Viva are, Shake Shack's trio of new milkshakes is well-suited for anyone who has a mouth and loves milkshakes. This includes pretty much everyone young and old. And, with flavors that are both sugary sweet and familiar, these cool shakes will bring warmth and cheer to this holiday season.

As I was wrapping up my taste test within my local Shake Shack, a friendly employee came over and asked which one I liked the most. While I usually don't like to make snap decisions and take time to stew over my chews and reviews, on the spot I broke it down like this: If you want to have a lot of fun by eating like a kid, call on Poppy's Sugar Cookie Shake filled with Pop Rocks-like candy. If you want something that resembles a normal milkshake and doesn't go too far off the deep end, give Branch's Chocolate Peppermint Shake a shot. As for my favorite, look no further than Viva's Cinnamon Roll Shake, which is a shoo-in at this year's Milkshake Academy Awards. If such an event existed, then Viva and her shake would be beyond ready for their close-up.