Time for a Shamrock Shake

Written by Gretchen McKay on

shamrock shake

They're baaaaack. And for fans of McDonald's Shamrock Shake, of which there are many, it's not a moment too soon.

A harbinger of spring among fast-foodies, the mint-flavored shake has a cult-like following, with sightings immediately reported on Facebook and Twitter. There's even a website,, where you can do a ZIP code search for the closest restaurant serving it. (Luckily, our store in Bellevue was among the first.)

The syrupy, extreme-green drink has been offered at McDonald's in the weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day since 1970, but only at certain locations; it wasn't until last year that the Fortune 500 company took the drink national. Now, all 14,000 of its U.S. restaurants sell it for a few sweet weeks in February and March.uncleo

For a short time in the late 1970s, the drink had its own mascot: the gumdrop-shaped, shillelagh-carrying Uncle O' Grimacey. Alas, he failed to capture the public's imagination and within a year the furry green icon was banished from McDonaldland back to his native Ireland. But his "incredibly delicious" shake stayed. 

If you're on a diet, it's probably best to steer clear of the syrupy shake, which is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup: a small, 12-ounce shake packs 530 calories; a 16-ounce medium, 670; and the go-for-broke large, an astounding 820  -- more, even, than a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. But really, what fun is an everyday Double Quarter Pounder? 

"Mmmmmm, so good!" my daughter Catherine texted me yesterday,  after buying her first of what I'm sure will be many Shamrock Shakes between now and St. Patty's. 

Me? I agree with her friend who posted on Facebook that the shake tastes like "a cup full of toothpaste." I prefer a more adult version made with real vanilla ice cream and a shot of Irish Whiskey. You can find the recipe here

Catherine McKay (top) and McDonald's photos

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