A milkshake doesn't have to be green to scream spring

Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Entertaining

Tall, tender stalks of asparagus bound with purple rubber bands. Nosegays of crunchy watercress. Salads made with fresh, peppery arugula and baby spinach instead of iceberg lettuce.

If it’s spring, it’s got to be green. How better to shake off the winter blues and look forward to the promise of warmer, sunny days?

That lean toward green extends to sweet treats. Every year about this time, and maybe even earlier for its most rabid fans, the countdown begins: When will McDonald’s trot out its cool and minty Shamrock Shake?

First introduced by the burger chain in 1970, the bright green drink — which originally was lemon-lime-flavored — enjoys what can only be described as cult status. It’s so popular with its fans that McDonald’s this year is introducing an official Shamrock Shake Finder app for smartphones so you never have to go without it. Until it disappears after St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, that is.

We say, the Shamrock Shake isn’t the only shake worth sinking a straw into in spring. There’s a rainbow of colors and flavors that speak to the season.

You don’t need a ton of ingredients to make a milkshake that delivers big on taste. When asked for a good spring milkshake recipe, Katie Heldstab of Leona’s Ice Cream suggested this quick and simple pairing: 8 ounces of Leona’s Lavender and Honeycomb ice cream blended with 2 ounces of milk. She also loves a shake made with Leona’s organic Toasted Coconut ice cream and cold coffee.


“I’m not sure how spring-like that is, but it's so darn tasty,” she says.

But we’re looking for shakes that embody the pastel hues associated with Easter and soon-to-bloom spring flowers, and instead decided to mix up some colorful fruit-flavored shakes.

Citrus is still widely available through the end of March. Why not trade the (artificial) mint flavor of a Shamrock Shake for the sunny, bright taste of oranges? French vanilla ice cream blended with orange sherbet, fresh-squeezed orange juice and milk results in a shake that tastes exactly like Popsicle’s Creamsicle cream bars — smooth and creamy, with a delicate orange-meets-vanilla bean flavor.

California strawberries also are an easy market find this time of year and very often a sale item. True, they’re not near as sweet as a local fruit, but they’re a kid magnet, and the color can’t help but cheer you up when it’s dreary outside from all the spring rain. Blend equal parts strawberry ice cream and strawberry sorbet with milk, chopped berries and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and you’ll be instantly transported to your happy place.


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