McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is not the greatest American innovation -- that honor goes to a Las Vegas event allowing you to fill any sized container with Hidden Valley Ranch -- but it’s damn close. And the only way to make a good thing even better is to add booze. That’s why we’ve tasked bartenders across the nation with creating super easy recipes to make the Shamrock Shake extra boozy.
We’re not specifically saying you should go to McDonald’s on St. Patrick’s Day and spike your Irish-themed milkshakes with booze. But it’ll be hard not to after reading that one Shamrock Shake cocktail with… kombucha?! That bizarre Shamrock Shake cocktail and the many more included here will be the best part of your St. Paddy’s Day this year, we promise.
Creme de menthe is such an obvious ingredient for an alcoholic Shamrock Shake that we’re surprised it’s taken us this long to include one! Hell, you were probably pouring it into a shake as you read this sentence. Here’s the recipe for a drink that needs to go into a blender for 2-3 minutes: 3 ounces Shamrock Shake, 1 ounce Tito’s vodka, 1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream, 1/2 ounce creme de menthe. Jake Karley, the special projects & beverage manager at PJW Restaurant Group
, said “mixing the creme de menthe and the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake to balance the chilly mint with a smooth, creamy flavor” is the key. He also likes that the Baileys adds additional vanilla and cocoa flavors.
PH Shamrock Shake
If the smartypants who came up with Occam’s Razor (Occam’s Razor teaches us his name is probably Occam?) were into cocktails, he’d be into the simplest possible recipes. After all, you don’t need much to make a Shamrock Shake delicious -- it’s already pretty good! That’s why Shawn Stanton, beverage manager of Public House
in Ferndale, Michigan, recommended throwing 2 ounces of Eagle Rare Bourbon into a medium Shamrock Shake. That’s it. Easy, right? Doing so will give you “a little DIY mint julep ice cream treat.” Sign us up.
It makes sense that a cocktail lounge inside of an ice cream shop would come up with an inventive take on a boozy Shamrock Shake. Luke Doherty of Less Than Greater Than
in Hudson, Massachusetts said your first step should be to buy two large Shamrock Shakes, because you have to “make McHay while the McSun shines.” Very McTrue, Luke. Add 1 1/2 ounces of the alpine amaro Braulio and 3/4 ounces of high-proof bourbon like JW Kelly Single Barrel to the shake. “The Braulio has a great bitter, tannic-tobacco-herbaceous structure that punches through the minty shake nicely, and the JW Kelly has a layer of chocolatiness that plays perfectly,” he said. “It's kind of like taking the long way around to making an amaro-driven grasshopper.”
The concentric circles of people who drink cucumber-infused kombucha and Shamrock Shakes are probably one. But Austin Sherman, who previously tended bar at New Orleans' SoBou
and is now co-founder of kombucha-makers Big Easy Bucha
has an idea that will increase that circle exponentially. After chilling cucumber vodka (he likes Seven Three Distilling's St. Roch Vodka), pour 2 ounces into the shake, and top with 2 ounces of cucumber-infused kombucha (like his company’s Geaux Green Kombucha). “Do your gut a favor this St. Paddy's Day and incorporate some kombucha alongside the booze to strike a bit of balance,” he said. “We used a local cucumber vodka and our cucumber kombucha to play up the refreshing minty flavor profile of the shake."
Pepperidge Farm Proudly Presents: A Boozy Shamrock Shake
We’re bad at coming up with cocktail names, but we wholeheartedly approve of any drink that combines Mint Milanos
and marshmallow flavoring. Bartender Brian Roginski from Chicago, Illinois’ Cortland's Garage
wants you to crush up a few Mint Milanos into a medium Shamrock Shake and mix in 2 ounces of Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka. Top it with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. “This tastes like a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie
followed by a sweet and true marshmallow finish,” he said. Now, why didn’t he make a recipe with Thin Mints? Look, we don’t question a man’s thinking when the end result tastes this good!
If you like mint -- and we mean, really, really, really like mint -- this cocktail is going to be your favorite. Adolfo Calderon of Chicago’s hospitality company DineAmic
said you can use all four of these liquors, or even just one. But to keep this super minty and super Irish-themed, we’re gonna say all four is a good bet. Take a 1/2 ounce of white chocolate liqueur (he likes Godiva), Jameson, Baileys Irish Cream, and Rumple Minze, and dump it in the shake. “The Godiva liqueur blends well with the vanilla soft serve, and the Jameson keeps the milkshake Irish-themed,” he said. The Rumple Minze just adds mint on top of mint, which is a solidly good idea.
Tequila, Frangelico, and Xocolatl bitters don’t seem like obvious bedfellows for a Shamrock Shake, but we’ll let head bartender Lucas Knudsen of South Beach, Florida’s Shore Club South Beach
explain why it makes sense. “The mixture of ingredients offer minty and nutty undertones that are graciously complemented with a hint of chocolate spice,” he said. “1942 tequila gives it a nice caramel flavor with a velvety smooth touch.” To prepare this, mix 2 ounces of a Shamrock Shake with 1 1/2 ounces of Don Julio 1942, 1/2 ounces of Frangelico and 1 bar spoon of Xocolatl bitters. Shake and strain into a glass.
We’re not including any recipes that utilize UFC fighter Conor McGregor’s Proper No. 12 Irish whiskey, which feels like a real wasted opportunity to accentuate the whole “actual Irish booze in an Irish-themed treat” thing. But Richmond, Virginia bartender Kevin Sheffield of Lady N’awlins
and F.W. Sullivan’s
had other ideas for this cocktail that he said is “so good, it’ll knock you out.” Get it? We hope he doesn’t mean the cocktail will somehow become sentient, grow two arms, and punch you! That’d be awful. But you know what, don’t worry about the inevitable dystopian robot nightmare we’ll soon live in, and instead add two shots of Fireball and one shot of RumChata to the Shamrock Shake. And then have a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day!
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, get Eatmail for more food coverage, and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.