Shamrock Shakes Have Returned For 2021

The looming arrival of Saint Patrick’s Day on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 means that — for several weeks beforehand and for as long as I can remember — the venerable Shamrock Shake has returned and is currently available for a limited time at select McDonald’s restaurants…

Shamrock Shakes Have Returned For 2021

Shamrock Shakes McDonald’s

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…but the lone shake — that frosted light green minty treat which has been sold by McDonald’s for a limited time before Saint Patrick’s Day every year since 1970 — is still standing by itself.

McDonald’s used to advertise Shamrock Shakes in the northeastern United States where I was born and raised. I am not sure if that was a local occurrence; but the shakes have since been available in other parts of the United States for years.

The History of the Shamrock Shake

Oreo Shamrock McFlurry

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Although the year 2020 marked 50 years of the Shamrock Shake, Hal Rosen — who was an owner and operator of McDonald’s restaurants in Connecticut — created it in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. The minty shake later debuted in select locations across the United States in 1970 — and it has been a popular favorite of patrons of the fast food restaurant chain ever since that debut.

Despite its successful official debut in 1970, the Shamrock Shake was not available nationwide in the United States until the year 2012 — a full 42 years later.

The Shamrock Shake was a critical factor in the creation and success of Ronald McDonald House, as sales from the shake helped to build the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia in 1974. The mission began when the daughter of a player of the Philadelphia Eagles professional football team was being treated for Leukemia. Together with Ray Kroc — who is considered to be the founder of McDonald’s, even though the original restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard James McDonald and Maurice James McDonald on the corner of 1398 North E Street and West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California — Hal Rosen, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Eagles, the family raised enough funds through sales of the Shamrock Shake to help open the first Ronald McDonald House as a way to keep families close during difficult times.

The Oreo Shamrock McFlurry — which was offered last year but apparently not this year — was not the first frozen dessert to be branded with the Shamrock moniker. The Shamrock Sundae was introduced for a limited time in 1980 by McDonald’s, and it consisted of vanilla soft serve topped with a mint-green Shamrock syrup.

In addition to the original Shamrock Shake in 2017, four additional beverages which had been badged with the Shamrock moniker were introduced to the McCafé lineup — including a Chocolate Shamrock Shake; a Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe; a Shamrock Hot Chocolate; and a Shamrock Mocha — but 2017 was the only year these variations of the Shamrock Shake were available. They cost $1.99 each for the small size; but they were also available in the medium and large sizes.

You can read this article pertaining to my experience from 2017 when I decided to purchase two small Shamrock Shakes: the original version and the chocolate mint version. At that time, they cost $1.99 each for the small size; but they are also available in the medium and large sizes.

As the chocolate version of the Shamrock Shake is basically the addition of the chocolate shake on the bottom layer to the mint on the top layer, I cannot imagine why an employee at McDonald’s could not fulfill a similar request with either vanilla or strawberry added to the mint instead of chocolate — or perhaps in addition to the chocolate — even though they are not officially a part of the menu in 2021.

Summary

At the time this article was written, I do not know how much Shamrock Shakes cost in 2021.

I remember a time when a Shamrock Shake did not include whipped cream or cherries — but that was when they were served in large waxed paper cups with a plastic top and not in clear plastic cups.

There are recipes available throughout the Internet on how to create a version of the original Shamrock Shake at home — especially as they are not available all year round at McDonald’s for some reason. McDonald’s is not necessarily what first comes to mind if one has a craving for a delicious thick shake; but I have always enjoyed the Shamrock Shake — even though I usually purchase one only once every few years.

If you are interested in enjoying a Shamrock Shake, be aware that not all McDonald’s locations have them yet — or possibly at all — as only participating locations will have them in stock.

Other articles at The Gate which deal with the topic of the Shamrock Shake include:

All photographs ©2017 and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

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