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The Shamrock Shake: Is it a Sham, or Does it Rock?

It’s the end of March, which means it’s the time that every store starts getting overrun with Easter eggs and kids start coming back from Spring Break. Of course everyone is excited, because that means warmer weather and the start of the end of school, but packed in with all of that is a very important, often forgotten celebration: The Annual Shamrock Shake.

The Shamrock Shake is a limited shake from McDonalds, released early in February and ending around St. Patrick’s day. With its signature bright green coloring and iconic mint flavor, the shake is a staple of the season. Now, some argue that the shamrock shake isn’t any different than any other mint shake you can get, and some go as far as to say that it’s worse because it’s a limited time thing, and this week I’m going to test that out.

I have chosen four mint shakes to try, including the Arby’s mint chocolate shake, a mint shake from Dairy Queen, the Culver’s mint shake, and of course the legendary Shamrock. Every day this week I will be joined with a special guest and together we will try them all. By Friday, we will finally know if the Shamrock shake really is the best mint shake of them all, or if all the fame is really just a lie…

“The Shamrock Shake is an explosion of wonderful seasonal flavor! It’s the best shake ever made and an honor to the green community.” – Sophomore Ryn Saylor.

Day 1: The McDonalds’ Shamrock Shake

On the first day of my experiment, I took myself, juniors Ava LaMarre and Sophia Reece, and senior Hope Stice with me to McDonald’s. We decided to rate the shakes on four topics: appearance, taste, ordering experience, and a final overall score from all the input we get. The data for the Shamrock is as follows:

Appearance: very green, good amount of whipped cream, filled up just enough to get your money’s worth but not spill

Taste: Minty, delicious, very sweet, not able to drink very quickly

Ordering Experience: fast, on a machine so not in person

Overall Rating: 9/10

Theater Coach Lee Gallegos accounts that the shake was “actually more pastel than it should be”, and we took that into consideration while rating. Overall, my guests, myself, and others around us agreed that the sake was a 9/10, after discussing all aspects. This might change later this week, when we try the other four shakes, but for now the Shamrock’s fame seems well deserved.

“Well my whole thing is… why does it have to be mint? Who decided green has to be mint? Mint doesn’t say Saint Patrick’s day, mint says Christmas.” – Senior Hope Stice (has never had a Shamrock shake)

Day 2: The Culver’s Mint Shake

On day two of this experiment, I headed to Culver’s with sophomores Ryn Saylor and Ailie McClaren, and junior Ava LaMarre. The Culver’s shake was very similar to the Shamrock, but I noticed that it was more like ice cream than a shake.

Appearance: pastel green, no whipped cream

Taste: extremely similar to shamrock, more like ice cream, a little less sweet

Ordering Experience: nice people, forgot our cheese curds

Overall Rating: 8/10

The Culver’s Shake was a lot less sweet than the Shamrock, which I concluded made it better because it wasn’t so difficult to drink all at once. Ryn Saylor, however, held to their opinion that the Shamrock was most definitely still better than the Culver’s Mint Shake. 

Day 3 (Part 1): Dairy Queen Mint Shake

Unfortunately, day 3 was moved back past the weekend and into Monday, so to make up for lost time my companions and I went to two restaurants in a row. To be sure that this did not mess with our ratings at all, we had some people try both shakes, and some people only try one, just to be sure that the tastes didn’t stick around and make changes to what we would’ve rated it alone. Now onto those ratings.

Joined by juniors Ava LaMarre, Clay VanderLeest, Chloe Trotter, and freshman Quinn Trotter, we were ready to finish this mint shake quest once and for all. Crammed into my car, we headed to Dairy Queen. This shake, unsurprisingly, was probably the most ice cream-y shake we had. It was very thick, but tasted great.

Appearance: couldn’t rate because it was in a cup with a flat lid, but looked very green inside the straw. No whipped cream.

Taste: minty, good, very thick, most like ice cream out of the three we’ve tried.

Ordering Experience: waited in the turning lane for a very long time and finally had to go around the block to wait in the parking lot since there was no option to go inside.

Overall Rating: 8/10

We were let down by the ordering experience on this one, as there was only the option of a drive through and we were stuck in line for a very long time. We also had difficulties hearing the people over the speaker in the drive through. Though the shake was very good, we weren’t sure if the journey to get it was truly worth it.

“Have you ever been brushing your teeth and thought ‘man I wish I had a whole glass of this? No. You haven’t. Who in their right mind would drink a Shamrock Shake?” – Band Director David Breese

Day 3 (Part 2): Arby’s Mint Chocolate Shake

The Arby’s Mint Chocolate Shake is probably the second most popular on this list, and it did not disappoint. It looked beautiful, with whipped cream up to the top and andes mints thrown all over. It was truly a very aesthetic shake, and we could only hope that the taste was on the same level. For me, at least, it was too much chocolate to truly taste all of the mint, and as one of my friends put it: “There’s something off about it”. The rest of our party, especially Clay VanderLeest who ate nearly the whole thing when the rest of us were done, seemed to thoroughly enjoy the shake, rating it very highly.

Appearance: amazing, stellar, whipped cream, pastel green, andes mints thrown on top like mouth watering decoration

Taste: “I think it’s on par with the Shamrock” -Ava LaMarre. Very chocolatey and less minty, very sweet.

Ordering Experience: an average wait time, servers were nice

Overall Rating: 9/10

Finally, our journey was over, and with our thirst for mint shakes FULLY quenched, we headed back home. I think I can say with absolute certainty that the Shamrock shake is certainly not hyped up for no reason. It is a very tasty shake that looks good as well, and while it might be too sweet for some, it is still just as good as the others we tried.

As for winners, we had a tie between the Arby’s and the Shamrock in ratings, yet somehow I still have friends arguing that Dairy Queen or Culver’s were the best, and multiple friends have stated that they don’t like mint at all, or have never tried a mint shake.

This experiment has brought out many emotions in all of the people I’ve asked, and from the highs to the lows, I thoroughly believe that this was an educational and enjoyable experience. It truly goes to show that something even as silly as comparing mint shakes can really bring a people together. As for the Shamrock being the best, I can’t say for sure. All I can tell you is to try it yourself, and maybe you’ll find not only a good shake, but a good time too.

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About the Contributor
Miley Seliquini
Miley Seliquini is a junior at Urbandale High School. She’s a part of the band and choir programs at her school, as well as being heavily involved in theater. Miley enjoys writing and playing the tuba in her free time, and above all loves spending time with her friends.
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