With only days before a weekend fraught with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and recovery, I made my way down to a local McDonald’s to finish up my Shamrock Shake Trilogy for So Good.

Interestingly enough, I had no problem being served one of these emerald cups of minty goodness at 8:30am, on my way to work. Although I may have received at least one disapproving look from the Mini Van idling behind me, in the drive-thru conga line of impatience, as the herd of children within immediately began badgering their Soccer Mom chaffeur as to why they were unable to have a green milk-shake for breakfast.

I still had reservations about the McCafe reboot on the Shamrock. My best shake memories are of receiving a white paper cup with a top, masking the contents within, so you’d have to pop the cover to gaze inside and become bewildered & apprehensive at the same. It was like opening a soft serve present from the Irish fast food Gods!

Whipped Cream and Cherries? That just seems like a whole lot of pomp & circumstance. Ron Swanson would concur that there’s no need to put truffle oil, fancy butter or expensive imported cheese on top of a  nice cut of steak. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I always say. Grumble, grumble. Now let me get back to tying helium balloons to my house.

By the way, if you spot a  McDonald’s employee who doesn’t look like he or she might follow the rules (the one wearing a leather jacket by the deep fryer), see if you can procure a secret menu item that goes by such names as the “Thin Mint”, “Grasshopper” or “After Eight“. That being a shake comprised of half chocolate & half Shamrock. This concoction, if at all intriguing to you, will ruin you for all other shakes.

For you calorie counters out there, and there’s a reason why McDonald’s shakes should be considered a treat every once in awhile, not a daily staple of you diet, here are the deets on the smallest Shamrock Shake size offered on the McCafe Menu.

540 calories
10g protein
16g fat (10g saturated fat; 1g trans fat)
88g carbs (74g sugars; 0g dietary fiber)
160mg sodium

This  provides 25% of the daily recommended fat and 29% of the daily recommended carbohydrates for a 2,000-per-day diet.

Here’s a breakdown of ingredients that makes up the Shamrock:

Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate,, vitamin A palmitate. carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum. You had me at corn syrup solids.

Shamrock Shake Syrup: High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, sugar, natural flavor (plant source), xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), yellow 5, blue 1 (do your old school color mixing science to figure out that combo kids!)

Maraschino Cherry: Cherries, water, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, malic acid, citric acid, natural (plant source) and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), red 40, sulfur dioxide as preservative (contains sulfites). Seriously folks? It’s a cherry? The ingredients shouldn’t resemble an experiment concocted by the Big Bang Theory cast.

Whipped Cream: Cream, nonfat milk, water, corn syrup, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, mono-and diglycerides, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, beta carotene (color), natural (dairy and vegetable source) and artificial flavor, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) to protect flavor. Whipping Propellant (nitrous oxide – Fast and the Furious fans approval rating just went way up!). I will give points that they can call it Cream and not “Creme”.

Even a shady Leprechaun nutritionist would agree it’s a good thing the Shamrock Shake only hits our shores but once a year.


Some will argue you can replicate the taste by mixing vanilla ice cream in a blender with copious amounts of Mint flavored Crest toothpaste and/or Scope. Others suggest it akin to drinking a glass of slushy milk while chewing Wrigley’s Double Mint gum.

The bottom line on taste, at least from the one I sampled this year (after stripping it of the Starbucks whipped cream nod, and maraschino cherry) should come as no surprise that a Shamrock boils down to a McDonald’s Vanilla shake with mint flavoring & green tint for the obligatory Holiday tie-in. The consistency of the shake still carries the patented “Suck your brains out through the straw” thickness, the vanilla is still very present, but the mint, thankfully was more predominant in the ones I devoured. I have read many reviews on other sites so far this year noting the mint tones has been lacking. Perhaps this has more to do with the distribution of the syrup. I’m no McMixologist, but the mint flavor profile per shake could be dependent on how diluted or low the syrup source, much like soda machines.

Next year, perhaps Ronald & crew will offer customers the option of an additional mint shot for a nominal fee for those menthol junkies out there.

McDonald food science aside, this years Shamrock Shake does not disappoint. If you like mint flavored shakes, ensure you get your fill over the next few days. After that they head back to limbo with Uncle O’Grimeacy, the McRib & that creepy Filet ‘o’ Fish Sea Captain.

And don’t forget to ask for your next one naked!

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2 Responses

  1. Laura

    You really need to give a content advisory to pregnant women before this post. Because although I have no desire to indulge in a Scope Sundae, I do definitely want a half chocolate/half Shamrock shake now. Poo on you for creating a new pregnancy craving for me!

  2. Paula

    I was thoroughly entertained throughout your written review. I haven’t had one of those shakes in about twenty years. No joke. The whole “scope thing”/chemical thing may not be MY thing. However, after reading your article, I am beginning to think that I may be missing out. It could also mean that I am pregnant. To pair with Laura, I would also definitely want a “Half n Half” mix. With “McSulpher Dioxides” aside, it really does sound delicious. Thanks for a great read. Oh and by the way, that Sea Captain WAS creepy!!!



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