Shamrock Shakes McDonald’s
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Shamrock Shakes Return in 2017 — and With Four New Varieties

I n the northeastern United States where I was born and raised, the arrival of Saint Patrick’s Day meant that — for several weeks beforehand and for as long as I can remember — the Shamrock Shake returned to McDonald’s restaurants for a limited time.

I am not sure if that was a local occurrence; but Shamrock Shakes — those frosted green minty treats which have been sold by McDonald’s since 1970 — have since been available in other parts of the United States for years…

…and this year, they have returned to McDonald’s as of Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

Shamrock Shakes Return in 2017 — and With Four New Varieties

Not only has McDonald’s announced their return — something that was not always done every year, as though Shamrock Shakes were a secret menu item of sorts for a while — but there are now four additional beverages which have been badged with the Shamrock moniker.

Shamrock Shakes
Source: McDonald’s Corporation.

In addition to the original Shamrock Shake, there is now a Chocolate Shamrock Shake; a Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe; a Shamrock Hot Chocolate; and a Shamrock Mocha.


After they were supposed to be available, employees at the first McDonald’s location which I visited claimed not to have the Shamrock Shakes yet; and they did not know when they would arrive.

A few days later — last night, to be more specific — I visited another McDonald’s location. I struck gold — or, more accurately, green.

“Yes, we have them here,” the woman behind the counter cheerfully replied to my query. After ordering the two shakes, I said that not all McDonald’s locations have them yet. “Yeah, I know — what’s up with that?” she asked.

Shamrock Shakes McDonald’s
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I decided to purchase two small Shamrock Shakes: the original version and the chocolate mint version. They cost $1.99 each for the small size; but they are also available in the medium and large sizes.

After filling the first clear plastic cup with the original green minty shake, she filled the second cup halfway with the chocolate shake on the bottom — followed by the mint shake on top, creating two layers which can be mixed together later, if the one indulging in the shake is so inclined.

She then takes both shakes to a different area, upon which she sprays whipped cream and — something which seems to be new this year — sprinkles flecks of green sugar atop the whipped cream.

“Would you like a cherry on each?” she asked.

“Yes, please.”

She initially reached for one of several long used metal spoons which were in a drain of sorts — not actually a sink; but it did not look clean, either — until a co-worker gave her what appeared to be a clean long spoon so that she can scoop the maraschino cherries out of a large plastic jar.

I tried both of them and liked them. They were both thick but not overly sweet; and they were also rather filling. I liked the chocolate version more than I thought I would — but that is probably because I have always liked the combination of the flavors of chocolate and mint.

The shakes could do without the flecks of green sugar. In my opinion, they add nothing of value to the shakes.


Perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me; but I seem to remember a time when a Shamrock Shake did not include whipped cream or cherries — but that was when they were served in 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 purchase one only once every few years.

Although I like hot chocolate, I was not completely interested in trying out the Shamrock Hot Chocolate. I might try the Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe at one point; but I have no interest at all in trying the Shamrock Mocha beverage.

As the chocolate version of the Shamrock Shake is basically the addition of the layer of chocolate to the mint, 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 on the menu.

If you are interested in enjoying a Shamrock Shake or any of the four new beverages, be aware that not all McDonald’s locations have them yet — or possibly at all.

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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