It’s March and that means it’s Shamrock Shake season! Oh, you know the one we mean. That minty, green milkshake we fell in love with at McDonald’s so many years ago. As it turns out, it’s actually around half a century ago because the shamrock shake was first introduced in the 1970’s. Did you know it wasn’t originally mint flavored? The first version used vanilla ice cream and lemon/lime sherbet. The next iteration eliminated the citrus and was just a green vanilla shake. But the most recent version includes the now signature mint flavor that goes with the green color. We can’t find anything not to love about a milkshake no matter what color it is. But we also can’t not look for ways to popcorn it up because we always want a crunch. So, while McDonald’s may not offer this, yet, our homemade popcorn shamrock shake is the default standard in our house.
An important question – boozy or not boozy? Obviously the McDonald’s shake is not alcoholic but we’re never against a little spirits boost. Whiskey, vodka and rum would all pair well with the creamy ingredients but we just went with a little crème de menthe for a touch of booze plus the minty flavor and green color. Note that, unless you use a lot of the liqueur, and we don’t recommend that, you’ll still need to add green food color.
Speaking of the color, McDonald’s uses a proprietary syrup that includes the color and the flavor. But it’s easy enough to replicate with green food color and some mint extract. Be careful with the mint because a little extract goes a long way. And, if you’re using the crème de menthe, you probably don’t need any.
And now for the popcorn part. We don’t just want the crunch on top but the added flavor of popcorn in the shake itself. Our recipe for popcorn infused milk adds the perfect flavor touch to this treat.
To rim the glasses, add some softened ice cream into a shallow bowl and some green sprinkles into a second bowl. Dip two milkshake glasses into the ice cream and then the sprinkles. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to set.
To make the popcorn milk, add the 2 cups of whole milk to a pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the cup of popped popcorn, cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to cool.
When the milk has cooled, place in the fridge overnight. The next day, strain out the popcorn and use the milk in the shake recipe.
To make the shake, add the vanilla ice cream, popcorn milk, creme de menthe (if using), mint extract and green food color to a blender. Blend and see if you want to add an additional drop or two of green color.
Pour into the prepared glasses, top with whipped cream and popcorn. Add a sprig of fresh mint and a green straw, if desired.
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