It doesn't actually taste like shamrocks. . .
March 12, 2009 6:41 PM   Subscribe

How would you describe the taste of a shamrock shake?

I don't need to know what's in it, just a better way to describe it than 'minty, but not your normal mint flavor'. Any ideas? Am I just imagining things because it's green, and it's just a plain vanilla flavor?
posted by dinty_moore to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It is just plain vanilla with some green food coloring. I don't think they taste at all minty, unless they've changed the recipe. (Haven't had one yet this year).
posted by xenophile at 6:43 PM on March 12, 2009

Sort of a cheep and cheezy Creme de menthe.
posted by oflinkey at 6:46 PM on March 12, 2009

Like a Wint-O-Green Lifesaver mixed with watery clay.
posted by amyms at 6:54 PM on March 12, 2009 [7 favorites]

There's a very mild mint flavor that I guess I would describe as a vanilla-mint. It's definitely not straight mint, it's much milder.
posted by kate blank at 6:55 PM on March 12, 2009

Mint ice cream made by robots that don't know what humans find tasty. Share and enjoy!
posted by Mapes at 6:57 PM on March 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

Maybe you're imagining the mint. I read an article that stated that "chocolate mint" (a variety of mint plant) does not smell like chocolate mint candy at all. It has dark-colored leaves and horticulturalists figured that they could sell it by renaming it "chocolate mint."

Where are these shakes sold? I've only seen the atrocious green bagels. Green is not a color that you want to see in bread.
posted by bad grammar at 6:59 PM on March 12, 2009

Where are these shakes sold?

MacDonalds, which explains why it doesn't taste like anything you can describe in food terms.
posted by jamaro at 7:05 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Shamrock Shakes are found in McDonalds as a St. Patricks day promotion in the US-not sure if they bother with the rest of the world.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:06 PM on March 12, 2009

Sounds toothpasty to me.
posted by tellurian at 7:11 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

According to McDonald's, shamrock shakes contain "artificial mint flavoring."
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 7:13 PM on March 12, 2009

Yeah, vanilla with green food coloring. The website offers nothing from what I can see, though it could be a cool blindfolded test for a party.
posted by Science! at 7:14 PM on March 12, 2009

Sort of a cheep and cheezy Creme de menthe.

This exactly. To me.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 PM on March 12, 2009

From The Simpsons:

Chief Wiggum: “I miss Shamrock Shakes, but they ain’t coming back ’til March.”
Lou: “You know, Chief, Shamrock Shakes are just vanilla shakes colored green.”
Chief Wiggum: “Well, I taste the flavor. It’s a very mild mint.”
Lou: “Well, maybe ’cause it’s a minty color, your mind is fooling your tongue.”
Chief Wiggum: “I know what I taste.”
Eddie: “I gotta go with Chief on this one.”
Lou (sarcastically): “Whoa, there’s a big surprise.”

I, for one, enjoy them.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 7:23 PM on March 12, 2009 [7 favorites]

In college i read about a study where people were given a number of different ice cream flavors to taste - chocolate, mint, strawberry, vanilla, coffee - but they were all white.

People were mostly unable to identify the flavors.
posted by Miko at 7:30 PM on March 12, 2009

Shamrock shakes are minty. McDonald's shakes start out as a milk base, and then the flavoring is added to order- including vanilla. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't really think milk should be all that minty anyway.

A shamrock and chocolate half and half is delicious. As is the off-menu orange-drink flavored shake. Which you can't get unless you work there and are screwing around with the shake machine while drunk.
posted by gjc at 7:32 PM on March 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

It's like cough syrup mixed with green food dye.
posted by wfrgms at 7:43 PM on March 12, 2009

Like licking a nine volt battery.

That, or medicine for your stomach ulcers.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:00 PM on March 12, 2009

It actually does have mint flavoring. All of the shamrock shakes I had before this year seemed to have the illusion of mint.. kind of a slightly fresh sting to the regular old ice milk (non)flavor, but I had one this year and the shake engineer made it overly syrup-y. The syrup actually is mint, but it sort of reminded me of a thinner version of the syrup used in Italian sodas. So, yeah, like fast-food creme de menthe.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:24 PM on March 12, 2009

posted by hal_c_on at 8:32 PM on March 12, 2009

As a kid, I loved these special St. Patrick's Day shakes, and missed them sorely when the promotion was over for the year. They did not taste like regular vanilla shakes. They had a mild 'green' mint taste.

I think McDonalds did one other seasonal shake, but I can't remember what it was now. Pumpkin or orange, maybe?
posted by zippy at 8:33 PM on March 12, 2009

I think the best description is "green," rather like the very pink Little Debbie snack cakes merely taste pink.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:44 PM on March 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

I believe that'd be the "eggnog shake", zippy.
posted by thedaniel at 9:01 PM on March 12, 2009

not sure if they bother with the rest of the world

Some years ago I was in Dublin at the appropriate time, and the McDonald's on Grafton Street had shamrock shakes. (And unlike 90% of North American McDonald's that put them on the menu, the shake machine wasn't broken!)

It tasted the same as it does in the U.S. In other words, nthing oflinkey and jessamyn.
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:23 PM on March 12, 2009

I, for one, believe that McDonald's has the best darned vanilla shakes anywhere for fast food. (Recall that it was Ray Kroc's milkshake machine that turned the McDonald hamburger stand into a franchise.) As an aficionado of said same milkshakes, I can definitely concur that the Shamrock Shake is not a regular vanilla shake.

Yes, they do (or did) have an eggnog shake as well, and the other main alternative was the Arctic orange. I've also had banana, strawberry banana, coffee, and going way back, the Bicentennial blueberry.

Sounds toothpasty to me.

You know, you're not half wrong. But the Shamrock Shake came before widespread flavored toothpastes.

To me it's more of a grocery-store ice cream kind of flavor -- not a really good hand-cranked ice cream, but cheap fun anyway.

For completeness:
We Need Your Help to Save the Shamrock Shake
Through this site, we will together help McDonald's franchise owners all over the world realize how many Shamrock Shake lovers exist, and how much we all want to enjoy this treat every March. Our goal is to generate enough interest and noise that the Shamrock Shake will be available at almost every McDonald's in the U.S. leading up to St. Patrick's Day in March 2009. Learn How You Can Help Save the Shamrock Shake.

I just had one in Wisconsin, so it isn't gone everywhere.
posted by dhartung at 9:38 PM on March 12, 2009

The odds are it's based on peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen, as are most mint flavors.

I'll have one with lunch tomorrow, and report back.
posted by baylink at 9:49 PM on March 12, 2009

Shamrock Shakes are found in McDonalds as a St. Patricks day promotion in the US-not sure if they bother with the rest of the world.
They skipped Japan. But we do get a new flavor of McFlurry every couple months (currently cookie & chocolate ribbon; previous ones include royal milk tea, blueberry, macchiato, and strawberry cheesecake), the food is less greasy than in the states, and there's some other random stuff that pops up on the menu. Nothing outlandishly weird, that I've noticed. Except the breakfast hot dog they recently introduced...
posted by whatzit at 9:51 PM on March 12, 2009

I'd always thought they tasted like envelope glue.
posted by soleiluna at 10:52 PM on March 12, 2009

Another vote for "green", in the same way that Kool-Aid tastes exactly like the color.
posted by Ookseer at 11:23 PM on March 12, 2009

"It's uh ... It's green." - Montgomery Scott, "By Any Other Name"

I haven't had one since I was a kid, but I remember the taste well. It has a vaguely mint flavor in the same way that honey-lemon cough drops have a lemon flavor. Mostly, it's green.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:42 AM on March 13, 2009

I got a chocolate shake the other day (why, why did I have to come to an office with a McDonald's in the lobby?) and some Shamrock had infiltrated (contaminated?) the nozzle and got into my shake. The flavor to me is nauseating so I can most assuredly debunk the myth that the Shamrock shake is just a vanilla shake with green food coloring.

When I was a kid I had to take some god aweful, chalky, artificial mint flavored antibiotic for an ear infection (I think). The shitrock shake tastes exactly like a big frosty, frozen version of this nauseating medicine.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:52 AM on March 13, 2009

The odds are it's based on peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen, as are most mint flavors.

I don't know. A friend recently gave me a method for making them at home and it explicitly called for "mint NOT peppermint" flavoring. I haven't looked at home or the grocery store to see what kind of extracts or oils I have/have to buy.

I love them, mint being my favorite flavor after chocolate mint. I can't believe I have gone 13 days without one. Guess what I am getting on the way home?
posted by soelo at 10:40 AM on March 13, 2009

When I was a kid they had Pumpkin shakes at Thanksgiving. I always looked forward to them. They used to have a flavor of the month the rest of the year, too, and I liked the orange one.

I don't know if they're still doing Shamrock shakes here (I will research) but they were definitely minty.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:18 PM on March 13, 2009

Mint and iceberg lettuce.
posted by chairface at 4:50 PM on March 13, 2009

Best answer: OK, I just got back from a very special McDonald's experience, just for you, my friends on the green.

I ordered a large Shamrock Shake. The shake machine malfunctioned and dispensed what seemed to be an extra dose of syrup.

I can now tell you this. The primary flavor is mint, candy cane mint.

There's also a secondary flavor. Perhaps it's just a supremely intense sweetness, but it may be something like vanilla or caramel or even a very faint chocolate.

Whatever it is, the combination is like nothing humans should ever consume.
posted by zippy at 1:23 AM on March 18, 2009

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