I was probably around 7 or 8 years old the first time I had one.
There was a McDonald's across the street from the arcade I hung out in back in Glendale, CA where I grew up. This is the same McDonald's that my dad would take me to after a week at summer camp eating nothing but, well, summer camp food and the taste of a Quarter Pounder was like heaven to my greasy food deprived face. It was just central, fast and cheap so, yeah, I was there a good portion of my off school hours that is when I wasn't at the arcade or busting my head open skateboarding down Verdugo Avenue trying to get to the arcade.
In the 1970s, McDonald's offered up a green milkshake to commemorate St. Patrick's Day calling it, yes...the Shamrock Shake. At the time I really didn't care about a green milkshake. I mean, who does really? The shakes at McDonald's were so thick you nearly popped a vessel in your forehead just trying to get a taste by sucking way too hard on the straw. But when the sludge did finally make its way to the top, it wasn't all that great anyway, so the effort wasn't really worth it. I much preferred the shakes at Dairy Queen or even down at Thrifty Drug Store, so adding green food coloring into the mix didn't excite me.
That is until I saw a commercial introducing Grimace's "Irish" family member:
Uncle O'Grimacey was just like Grimace except he was green, talked in a funny accent and seemed to be mad high by wanting to paint everything like the color of the Shamrock Shake. Being a fan of all things ridiculously stupid, Uncle O'Grimacey, for that reason alone, made me want to have a Shamrock Shake.
So when March rolled around and the McDonald's started selling the shakes again, I took some time off mastering Donkey Kong Junior to run across the street and try one. And, you know what? It was gross.
It tasted as if all they did was pour minty toothpaste into their vat of regular vanilla shakes and said, "Here! Drink this! Happy St. Patrick's Day sucker!" It was chalky, had a funky aftertaste and turned into a slurping diarrhea when it melted. Luckily it came with a fresh Uncle O'Grimacey hand puppet made out of crinkly clear plastic, so that at least made up for the disappointment of the pointless frosty drink. So I vowed to never again buy and drink the vile beverage again. No way. Never!
That is until recently...
|The return of the cold green beast|
For some reason this blog here makes me do stupid crap, so when St. Patrick's Day was on it's way, I knew I had to do one thing:
I had to get me a Shamrock Shake!
|McMinty O' Leprechaun Shart|
McDonald's through all the years has gone through so many changes and have introduced and executed endless concepts and dishes (I still miss the McDLT) but the past few years, riding on the mega success of Starbucks, McDonald's has instituted a similar twist on the trade stupidly called McCafe. You know, coffee drinks, smoothies, all that late '90s coffeehouse noise. And because of dorks like me getting old and turning to childhood establishments such as fast food chains going "Hey...why don't you bring back that failed garbage from the past and see if it works again? I like old school swill," McDoogal's have reintroduced the Shamrock Shake exclusively through their McWhoGivesACrap for the McPublic in Mc2016 to be McSuckedDown through a McStraw on McDay in McTucson which is located on McPlanetEarth.
So with that in mind I headed down to my local McCrefflins to get a McGreenPoopSwirly and share it with my good friend Chili, owner of our favorite bar, Danny's Baboquivari. You might remember Chili as my wing man when we ate free burgers at a strip club. Always up for a Homeskillet challenge, I know this one would be an easy one for him.
Mainly because we plan to add McBooze to it.
|Uncle O'Grimacey would be McProud|
Here's the thing: McDonald's stepped up their Shamrock Shake game. The thing wasn't bad. In fact, it was actually pretty tasty. Not too thick with a distinct mint element and a welcome refreshment on a warm pre-spring day.
But enough of that. Let's get down to real Homeskillet business here.
You ready? Because here it is...
Our Top Three Booze and Shamrock Shake pairings!
|Let's do this|
First one was a whiskey, an obvious choice for a St. Patrick's Day taste test. Our idea was to do a shot of the hooch then suck down a good draw of the shake. We tried combining the two in a tumbler but...it didn't work. The odd pre-made concoction that makes up the Shamrock Shake only enveloped the alcohol turning it into a coagulated mush, so we opted for plan B:
A shot and shake back.
|Let the great experiment begin!|
Right, now, we may get some flack for this but...we defied and forgo'd the Jameson. Why you may ask? Well, honestly, because it was a too easy and an obvious choice. Plus Jameson is kind of a basic beyotch when it comes to St. Patty's Day and we wanted something a bit more, oh, shall we say...smoky and austere? We shall!
But we're not busting on Jameson...we love Jameson! It's just, well, you know...
The shot of choice for this challenge ended up being a good barrel aged Dewars, mainly because the peaty-ness and effervescence of the bottle could offset the bullpucky "smooth" of the shake, which ended up being a kind of 'fire and ice' capade of flavors and textures.
"It's like I first swallowed gas and then a minty extinguisher came to my rescue," noted Chili. And I was in agreement. The raspy harsh of a good scotch compared to the McBlerfens of the shake was incorrigible on the palate. Think of eating a bunch of red hots and suffering for a spell then a magic whipped cream siren swooped by and kissed a herbaceous respite onto your tingling tongue.
It was sort of like that but...not really. It tasted like we did a shot of warm scotch then horked down a good pull of icy green spew to calm the unfortunate wake. Like I said, through trial and error, this was the least offensive. The contrast was fun but there were two others that reigned slightly supreme over this combo.
|"Is it like I'm small and the shake is really huge?" Um, maybe but....you're just out of focus|
Some culinary snots have "reinvented" the Shamrock Shake adding all sorts of upscale non-sense and unnecessary infusions and deconstructions. One though actually added a splash of tequila. That...seemed reasonable. But, for us, at the time, I dunno, tequila just didn't make the cut. Maybe it was the grade of tequila we had on hand, El Enfermedad del Higado, that wasn't such a pleasant coupling. But, regardless, we pressed on!
We were thinking mint so we paired the shake with Rumple Minze, which has a very distinct peppermint shock along with the click of clear alcohol. This match was one made in a near frozen bliss temple.
"It feels like I am shushing, yes...shushing down the slopes of the snowy alps," beamed Chili, "and then landed straight into a bar filled with Swiss misses wearing only boots and hockey masks."
Couldn't have put it better myself.
So if you want a wintry swath to lead you down a lurid McShameHole then I highly advocate the drinking of these two in tandem.
|So many options but only three made the cut|
The last one and probably the most accessible combination was the use of whipped vanilla vodka. Honestly these two together was a deadly duo. It went down way too effortless and we could see ourselves drinking ten. Easily.
"If only we could harness the mystery and magic of the Shamrock Shake," Chili said while rubbing his scruffy chin, "and get it going with the whipped vodka here...we could make a fortune!"
That, right then and there, gave me a brilliant idea. Taking notes from the shake I drank and despised as a kid, along with the upgrade of the ones we were drinking at present, I plotted a recipe that could easily put the McCorporate World onto its greedy and trembling ears and tongues.
So I left the bar, grabbed some ingredients at the store and headed home.
Then...the magic began!
|After a few McShots it was time for some well needed McFoghat|
|Lil Poundcake wasn't impressed until I put fish nibblets in it|
Inspiration! That's the only word I can collect at this frame of genius. Wanting to recreate the powdery and anemic flavor of the 1970s Shamrock Shake with the improved flavor of it's 2016 successor along with my own "take" on the whole recipe, I gathered a few simple ingredients and this is what I came up with:
|Girl Scout's Thin Mints, Minty Toothpaste and Rinse, Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Jagermeister|
If you want to try this at home it's really easy. Here...follow me!
Combine two scoops of vanilla ice cream with a few Thin Mint cookies in a blender and spin 'em until relatively smooth.
Set the blender on low and slowly add the toothpaste and mouthwash. Once you get it to a good green whirlpool, turn the blender off and do a shot of Jager.
|Can you smell that? That's talent!|
Pour the mixture into an old beer stein, top with whipped cream and a methaqualone horse pill and you're all set.
Then sit back, enjoy a plate of corned beef and cabbage and sip away at the drink that only dreams and memories are made of. This delight shines bright of not only the past, but definitely the present and, could it be?, yes!, the future.
The effects of this Darby O'Gill and the Little Trip to the Hospital will delight and make for a most memorable St. Patrick's Day. It's like sliding down a rainbow into a pot of gold filled with stomach pumps and eternal regret.
|So good you'll never want to make it again|
Happy St. Patrick's Day from all of us at the Tucson Homeskilet!
|PS: Don't try any of this at home or...anywhere. Duh!|
Camera and Typing
"Metal" Mark Whittaker
St. Patrick's Day, 2016