In days past, when the world was young and light of heart, old and young alike could walk down Main Street in early Spring with the birds singing and the flowers just starting to bloom. Invariably, those walks would end at the quaint burger shop on the corner, the local McDonald's. And on those days in March, a special treat would await those who braved the drizzle: a tasty, frothy, Shamrock Shake. Oh yes, and what a treat it was. Peppermint flavored and colored green, the Shamrock Shake was a celebration of Irish heritage at its best. No green colored Budweiser or stupid pilgrim hat painted green for the change of season could compare to the purity that was the Shamrock Shake. So delicious, the whole family would climb into the wagon (or minivan, whatever) and each get a large scrumptious taste of St. Patrick's Day.

Alas, those carefree days are gone. McDonald's is no longer the 'shop around the corner' serving up a wholesome burger and fries while you hang with your high school gang. It's now some faceless, greedy, multibillion dollar, 39 cent hamburger factory. No, those days have past, and we must move on. The Shamrock Shake has gone the way of the poodle skirt and the Hammer pants. But we shall never forget thee, you taught us what St. Patrick's Day was all about and announced the coming of Spring to all who would listen.

A Shamrock Shake -- or technically "Shamrock Triple Thick Milkshake" -- is a special product sold at McDonald's exclusively around Saint Patrick's Day. It is a standard Triple Thick Milkshake made with mint extract and dyed green.

According to a web site calling itself "Planet Shamrock," availability of the Shamrock Shake has varied wildly depending on locale. Although McDonald's corporate web site makes no mention of the item and no press releases have been issued regarding it, some cities like Pittsburgh and Boston have enjoyed annual Shamrock Shakes without interruption. Others have been without Shamrock Shakes for more than a decade. Apparently the choice is made by each franchisee; the home office does not mandate that every store carry them.

Here's a recipe for two Shamrock Shakes courtesy of foodgeeks:

2 cups vanilla ice cream
1¼ cups milk, 2% lowfat
¼ tsp. mint extract
8 drops green food coloring
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Stop blender to stir with a spoon if necessary to help blend ice cream. Pour into 12-ounce cups and serve each with a straw.


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