I'll let you in on a little secret: I've never had a Shamrock Shake. The past few days the internet has been brewing with excitement over the return of these green drinks at McDonald's. I've read countless excited posts lauding their return and it definitely made me curious. I found myself asking "what is a Shamrock Shake?" Once I learned about the iconic dessert, I knew I had to try one.

What Is a Shamrock Shake?

According to the McDonald's website, the Shamrock Shake is vanilla soft serve ice cream mixed with their Shamrock Syrup. Okay, that gives basically zero information. I dug a bit beyond the McDonald's website and found out some more info about what is in the syrup. The syrup features mint with hints of vanilla and lime. It's also a bright green color, which is what gives the shake its iconic tint. 

The reason there's so much hype around what seems to be a simple mint milkshake is the fact that the shake is only served for a limited time each year. McDonald's releases it yearly for a few weeks around St. Patrick's Day. This year it's available starting on February 21st. The fast food giant hasn't yet said how long the shake will be on the menu, so get there before St. Patty's day to guarantee a taste.

How This Shake Became So Popular

In 1970, the Shamrock Shake was introduced to the world as a the "Saint Patrick's Day Shake." That name was nixed for the more catchy "Shamrock Shake" a few years later. The history of the shake is tied with some of McDonalds' bigger ventures.

A Philadelphia Eagles player by the name of Fred Hill had a young daughter with leukemia. He noticed that many families had to camp out on hospital benches in order to be with their children through treatment. He decided to change this, and he teamed up with McDonalds for a promotional charity campaign featuring the shake. The campaign raised enough money to build the first ever Ronald McDonald house, and cemented the shake's popularity for years to come.

DIY Shamrock Shake

vegetable, milk, jug
Alan Yeh

There are tons of DIY recipes for the iconic drink if you want that minty flavor without leaving your home. This simple version of the shake is healthier than the calorie bomb that Mickey D's serves. It simply mixes vanilla ice cream and mint extract. Easy, easy, easy.

Did I Enjoy My First Shamrock Shake?

Emma Glubiak

Of course, I couldn't end this article without trying a Shamrock Shake for myself. After my first sip, I definitely understood the appeal of these sweet drinks. They are minty, but also super creamy and refreshing. However, after a while I started to get tired of the overly sweet, artificial mint. I would order one again, but I'd probably go for the smallest size available.

What is a Shamrock Shake?  It's more than just a drink. The Shamrock Shake is a cultural icon. Its interesting history and refreshing flavor make it a shake that's worth trying at least once.