How to Make McDonald's Shamrock Shake at Home

The whole world has gone green for McDonald's Shamrock Shake, available across the country until St. Patrick's Day. It's inspired a cult-like following, a Harlem Shake meme (yes, really), and dozens of copy-cat recipes. And we can see why everyone wants to try it at home. Since the Shamrock Shake launched in 1970, more than 60 million Shamrock Shakes have been sold in McDonald's nationwide.

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And surprisingly, the history of the Shamrock Shake is about more than just the green. According to McDonald's, the Philadelphia Eagle's tight end Fred Hill was looking for a way to help his 3-year old daughter get treatment for leukemia in 1974. His vision: the Ronald McDonald's House for children and families to have a "home away from home" treatment. Hill, with the support of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc and local McDonald's managers, worked up a Shamrock Shake promotion with profits going toward the cause; the first-ever Ronald's McDonald's House opened near the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 1974.

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But of course, paying for a signature green shake with a maraschino cherry on top has a price to your waistline - a cool 530 calories and 15 grams of fat in a 12-ounce Shamrock Shake. (At least, Philadelphia magazine points out, there's 11 grams of protein in it.) The pro of making one at home is that you can easily control your portion sizes and make a less-fattening version. However, there's also a con - you can feel free to add as much whipped cream, chocolate syrup, Oreos, and whiskeyas you want - which may result in an even bigger calorie-buster than the Mickey D's version.

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Fortunately, it's not hard to make your own Shamrock Shake at home. If you have the supplies for a vanilla
milkshake, plus extra essentials for baking, you have basically all you need to make the shake yourself. However, there are lots of ways to update the Shamrock Shake - including a little boozy treat for the adults. (Because why drink green beer when you can drink an alcoholic, and green, milkshake?)

Step 1: Perfect the Vanilla Milkshake
If you can make a vanilla milkshake, you're more than prepared to make a Shamrock Shake at home. All you need is vanilla ice cream and milk to make the base.

Step 2: Add Peppermint Extract
Peppermint extract goes a long way, remember, so don't overdo it in your vanilla milkshake. When adding the ingredients to a blender, add the peppermint extract for a creamy mint treat. Our best proportions for a shamrock shake:

2 cups vanilla ice cream
¾ cup of milk
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract

Step 3: Add Food Coloring
As the final touch to your Shamrock Shake, add up to eight drops of green food coloring. (Remember, like peppermint extract, it's a potent ingredient - so don't overdo it.) Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth, and you're good to go. (Whipped cream and a maraschino cherry not included.)

The Pimped-Out Shamrock Shake
There's lots of ways to amp up your average Shamrock Shake. The easiest way? Add some chocolate syrup to your glass before pouring in the shake - consider it a homemade version of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The ultimate add-on for a Shamrock Shake? A Girl Scouts Thin Mint. That is, if you're willing to sacrifice a few for a shake.

The Adult Shamrock Shake
For an Irish treat, you had better add some Irish whiskey to the mix. Jameson or Tullamore is always a good basic Irish whiskey to add to the blender - but keep away from the kids. Not a whiskey fan? Peppermint Schnapps can add a minty kick to your shake, or crème de menthe, as in the Twinkiebelle (adult) milkshake. (If you can still get your hands on a Twinkie, that's one good way to spice up a Shamrock Shake.) There's more than one way to spike a Shamrock Shake.

The Light Shamrock Shake
Like we said, we can't - or don't want to - control just how much whipped cream or ice cream we're adding to our Shamrock Shakes at home. If you're looking to avoid the calories, try low-calorie frozen yogurt and skim milk instead, and avoid the toppings at all costs. Want to add some vitamins and protein to the shake? We like Peanut Butter and Pepper's healthy recipe for a Shamrock Shake, with a banana, Greek yogurt, and coconut milk.

- Marcy Franklin,The Daily Meal