Messing With the Shamrock Shake

I read on the Internet that McDonald’s had been fooling with a St. Patrick’s Day classic: the Shamrock Shake.

Reports emerged from Chicago this month that in the Windy City they’re serving a frozen green concoction in dainty clear plastic “McCafe” cups topped with whipped cream and a cherry. This is what they were passing off as the Shamrock Shake. Inconceivable — but photos don’t lie.

I set out to find one of these tarted up Shamrock Shakes. After calling more than 15 McDonald’s restaurants —  some as far away as Plattsburgh — I was unable to locate a single location serving the gentrified Shamrocks.

They were all pumping it out the same way as they’ve done since 1970.

But what about the flavor? I made an unannounced visit to the McDonald’s in Glenmont and discreetly ordered a medium Shamrock Shake. It looked exactly as it should, displaying a gentle swirl of creamy white and spring green. And the taste was just as I remembered: cool, minty, and frosty — like vanilla ice cream and peppermint.

One of the McDonald’s managers I talked to was incredulous. “They changed the Shamrock Shake? That’s nuts, everybody loves the Shamrock Shake.?”


So what the hell is going on in Chicago? All I can figure is that they’re test marketing a new way of serving up the Shamrock. This is surprising from branding masters like McDonald’s who know a thing or two about consistency. They should understand that  you toy with an institution at your own peril.

Don’t do it, McDonald’s. Don’t do it.

BY THE WAY: Can’t find your Shamrock Shake? Consult

28 thoughts on “Messing With the Shamrock Shake

  1. Speaking of silly springtime Catholic stuff and McDonalds branding, I just don’t dig the new version of the Filet o Fish commercial.

    Just run last year’s masterpiece in a continuous loop and I may consider buying one of those sandwiches.

  2. I live in Chicago and I can confirm the existance of these fancy shakes. It’s also a lot greener and has a slightly limey taste. It’s very strange.

  3. I love the shamrock shake. I grew up with the shamrock shake. I saw it at the McDonald’s in Latham Farms last weekend and I’m definately absolutely going for it in the next couple of days. That new cup and whipped cream idea is not the shamrock shake. It’s a Starbucks wanna-be.

  4. Why fix what ain’t broke? Shamrock Shakes are the best, hands down.

    Hopefully the Windy City will tell McD’s exactly what they can do with those faux Shamrock Shakes…

  5. You want to really mess with a Shamrock Shake, Add a little JD! That’s how it should be done…

  6. Spent last weekend in FL. Our host was insisting on stopping by McD’s for Shamrock shake..she got it..and slurped all the way home!

  7. Every year I try to have a shamrock shake and every time I order I am told the machine is broken/sold out of the flavor/machine being cleaned, etc. Am I not meant to have the deliciousness?! I want one!!

  8. Ah Yes, The Shamrock Shake. It does old Uncle O’Grimacey’s heart proud to hear its still out there.

  9. Stopped by the Wynantskill McDonald’s last week to try this out for the first time, since I had heard great things. I don’t know what they are doing there, but I was not a fan of what I purchased. It wasn’t “minty” at all, and had a hint of lime flavor to it. Needless to say, I won’t be buying another one…EVER

  10. I will be at the parade on Saturday with a Shamrock shake in one hand and a green beer in the other. Slainte!

  11. This is the one time of the year I imbibe of the the milkshake; it’s worth the extra days on the treadmill!

  12. In 1979 when teaching in a Catholic School in Schenectady, Father Gaffigan brought a Shamrock Shake to each teacher on St. Patrick’s Day. I will never forget it. I buy a Shamrock Shake every year I can find them. Not all McDonalds have them. Thanks to Mary (Post #11)I might be in luck if I get to the Waterford McDonalds real fast…..they run out quickly and when they’re gone, they’re gone until next St. Patrick’s Day….too long to wait!!!

  13. Can anyone let us know which area McD’s sell the shake? I thought they weren’t sold here anymore and stopped looking years ago.

    And a nit: there is NOTHING Irish about green beer. Good Lord.

  14. It’s not for sale in Manhattan and most of Long Island.

    I’ve heard that McDonald’s does not want to sell the holiday shakes(Eggnog, Shamrock) in places like NY because it’s too diverse, and people will complain if one group has a menu item for one of their holidays, while others don’t. So to avoid problems with the PC police, it’s not sold there.

  15. I’m going to repeat #18’s request. Last year, I stopped at two McDonald’s and asked for a Shamrock Shake. At one, they just said, “We don’t have it.” At the other, I got a blank look. I don’t have time to stop at every McDonald’s in Albany, but I do want one of these!

  16. I had one of the jazzed up Shamrock Shakes — I live outside of Chicago — and it was good. The didn’t mess with shake itself (not like that triple thick fiasco), only the presentation. They’re using the Shamrock Shake to cross market their McCafe line by putting it in a pretty cup with whipped cream and a cherry on top. It’s brilliant marketing a mon avis.

  17. I just had one right now and they are very good they have posters of them on every McD here in Wisconsin. Never tasted anything like it.

  18. After reading this yesterday I ran out at lunch and got one at the McD on the corner of Route 7 and Albany Shaker Road in Latham. Minty goodness that brings back great memories!!

  19. To all of you asking where to find the tasty green deliciousness, go to – people will post locations of the McD’s they went to and whether or not they sold them there. Good luck!

  20. TO me it aint St Paddy’s day without one!! that and the beer in the cans that is alreasdy dyed green. I would only drink it once a year for nestalgia’s sake….Cant find those any more! =(

    HOWEVER, the New McDonalds on Delaware shake machine is broken. tried to get one yesterday.

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