Shamrock Shakes are back, not in the same way

By Herb Scribner

Editor’s note: This is part of the Daily Collegian’s St. Patrick’s Day special issue.

It’s mean and it’s green, but it doesn’t steal Christmas.

Instead, it captures the hearts, minds and taste buds of all who dare to try. It’s the Shamrock Shake, and it’s only available during the weeks leading up to, and sometimes after, St. Patrick’s Day. The most common distributor of the shake is McDonald’s.

But this year, the Shamrock Shake has actually become a rarity. The minty-green mixture, combined with that smoothly-chilled vanilla soft serve, hasn’t been showing up as much as it has in years past. Though this could be blamed on McDonald’s recent development – which includes adding a whole new menu of products such as banana bread and scones – there is no definitive answer on why the shake has become a rarity.

Despite its rareness this season, there are multiple campaigns going to make sure that the public gets a taste of some four-leafed goodness. For example, is an actual Shamrock Shake tracking website that allows visitors to post locations of the shakes, or search for where to find one.

“Greensboro Guildford college rd first time having one today and I’m hooked. Let’s make it 365,” writes one commenter.

However, upon looking at the McDonald’s Twitter page, this wouldn’t seem to be the case at all. A banner for the Shake is seen right on the profile page, with the line, “Savor the minty, creamy, coolness because it’s going fast.”

The page even has a promoted Tweet, posted on March 12, stating, “Have u seen/tried the latest trend of #ShamRocking? Peeps R so excited 4 Shamrock Shake they’re literally dancing 4 joy.”

According to Zach Walton in his article, “McDonald’s New #ShamRocking Campaign Shows They Never Learn,” the hashtag #ShamRocking is a part of a campaign by McDonald’s to promote its latest shake creation.

In addition to the rarity of the product, there’s been somewhat of an overhaul in presentation and taste from years past.

One of the main differences between this year’s Shamrock Shake and ones of the past has to do with the whipped topping and cherry addition – which McDonald’s first introduced on its regular shakes just recently. While this doesn’t make all that much of a difference, the whipped cream and cherry might offer a distraction from the actual meat of the meal.

And tasters will also notice a significant difference in the amount of green in their shake this year. Though the shake used to appear like a four-leaf clover, it now appears more like someone did a swirly spread of the green mixture, leaving almost a tornado-like image of the shake. It’s no longer pure green – it’s a white-green mix.

The new mixture isn’t helping dieters or calorie-savers either, as according to McDonald’s nutrition Web page, the devilish deliciousness dishes out 540 calories and 16 grams of fat for a small (12 oz.). If that wasn’t scary enough, the large gives up 840 calories and 24 grams of fat.

But of course, McDonald’s isn’t the only way to get involved in this kind of March madness. Instead, websites offer a variety of recipes in how to create that perfect Shamrock Shake. Some recipes offer a “grown up” version which includes different flavors of vodka or liqueur to add a little kick in the pants.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]