Shamrock Shakes

Shamrock Shakes and Shenanigans

St. Patty’s Day is tomorrow and you know what that means? Shamrock Shakes at McDonalds! The Shamrock Shake was created in that fertile time called the 1970s and it was a beverage born not of corporate greed, but to help those in need (and corporate greed). Here is an excerpt from the Ronald McDonald House website. It explains why they created Shamrock Shakes.

The Hills knew that there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his Eagles teammates to raise funds. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Evans dreamed of a comfortable temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.

Murray enlisted Don Tuckerman from the local McDonald’s advertising agency, who with the support of McDonald’s Regional Manager Ed Rensi, launched the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake (now known as the Shamrock Shake) promotion. Funds raised went toward purchasing an old house located near the hospital.

Pretty cool huh. Of course I mostly remember these shakes because of commercials starring Uncle O’Grimacey (the green Irish uncle of our favorite purple shake eating monster)

McDonald’s Uncle O’Grimacey Shamrock Shake Commercial

And of course this highbrow lesson in Irish Culture.

Surely he had traveled to many fine establishments before he found a beverage that was as “refreshing as a spring breeze”. Note: In a sequel to this commercial a tiny leprechaun hopped out of the shake machine and challenged all Finnegans present to fight.

The Search is on for Shamrock Shakes

We have 4 McDonalds in the immediate neighborhood, so the other day I walked to the closest one and found they don’t carry them. I was sad, but not surprised, and moved on the next McDonalds. I hit all 4 and got nothing. Now I remembered liking these minty shakes, and when the day began I was just “looking forward” to having one. But now that the universe sought to deny me that which I was rightfully entitled to consume, I NEEDED a Shamrock Shake. Which could only mean one thing.

Road Trip!

Now a logical person would of course call around to various McDonalds. Confirm that they have Shamrock Shakes before speeding off in their Honda for parts unknown. If you have been reading this blog, you might know, I am not a logical person. I prefer the mystery of the quest. Their are hundreds of McDonalds in the immediate area and each one I stopped at looked at me like I was insane. “Shamrock Shakes”, they said, “What’s that?”

I thought that unlike the McRib, the smooth cool green wouldn’t be too hard to find. Wrong! It took 2 hours, 60 miles and 4 orders of large fries before I hit minty pay dirt. This simple little sign that had been hung from the menu board was a sight for sore eyes.

Finally I find my Shamrock Shake

Note:  When you start taking multiple photos of the McDonalds Menu Board people will look at you funny
Note: When you start taking multiple photos of the McDonalds Menu Board people will look at you funny

I ordered a large shake, ran to the first flat surface I could find and cracked it open.


It’s actually kind of cool looking before you stir it up. Count those rings of flavor!


As for the tasting? It’s thick and minty with maybe a hint of vanilla and just as good as I remember. I like to dip my fries into my vanilla milkshakes and figured I would give mint a try. I was not grossed out, but I wouldn’t call it a taste sensation either. Well I am sold! I am going to get another one tonight and another one tomorrow to celebrate the greenest of days. If they kept these shakes all year long I might have to look into a new career to get a discount.

To find Shamrock Shakes in your area call ahead to your local McDonald’s.

The Shamrock Sundae

Back in 1980 McDonald experiments with the Shamrock Sundae. It didn’t sell as well as the Shamrock shake so they let it go the way of Crystal Pepsi. It pretty much was just vanilla ice cream with mint syrup, but oh what a syrup! The mintiest of the minty mints. Delicious beyond description.

McDonald’s Shamrock Sundae Commercial

If you were lucky enough to a Shamrock Sundae in that short period during 1980, odds are you have been craving it ever sense. To get a similar taste sensation may I make a suggestion.

Homemade Shamrock Sundae


The Retroist

Editor/Podcaster at Retroist
The Retroist is like a BBQ on a bun without the bones. You're only human daddy. Chomp!

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