Editorial: Casual Friday — the Shamrock Shake debate


(Illustration by Abigail Katz | Staff Illustrator)

So, Shamrock Shakes — let’s get one thing straight.

The Shamrock Shake is not a middle-of-the-road food group. One cannot simply “take it or leave it.” Whether you think the shake is a collision of toothpaste and green highlighter fluid with a milkshake base or a blended miracle sent from God, we all have some opinion on the matter.

Here’s the be-all-end-all, official pros and cons list of the Shamrock Shake, so we can all finally stop debating it.

The Pros:

  1. They’re Green. Yeah, we know — green foods don’t always have the best reputation. But the Shamrock Shake clearly exists on a level above that green Heinz ketchup from the ‘90s we’d prefer to forget about — in the case of the shake, its vibrant green tone is a symbol of wealth, prosperity and luck. We’ll take 30.
  2. They’ll remind you of the good ol’ days. Sure, we’re probably not spending the holiday cutting out four-leaf clovers from green construction paper like in the second grade, but all it takes is one sip of that shake goodness for the shamrock memories to come flowing back like a minty, dairy river.
  3. Let’s be honest. They taste really, really good.  “Shamrock Shakes are incredible. Green, minty, seasonal. There’s a maraschino cherry. They clear your skin and maybe your bowels,” online engagement editor Amanda Reed said when asked for her opinion.

The Cons:

  1. They’re kind of overrated. Shamrock Shakes are a novelty, and their limited-edition status makes them a hot commodity — like McDonald’s Szechuan sauce, but probably with less violence. But McDonald’s is hardly the only place to sip the minty concoction. True fans know they can get their fix from Dairy Queen year-round. And that mint chocolate shake from Arby’s out right now? It stands up to its flora-named counterpart — and the Andes mints crushed on top totally propel it into first place.
  2. They’re “unhealthy” — OK, but really. No one is drinking one of these because they want to eat clean. You don’t go to McDonald’s expecting to get a shake made with locally sourced milk and cream blended with a simple syrup made with the mint growing in your backyard garden. Sure, a small Shamrock Shake contains 63 grams of sugar, which is way, way more than a person should consume in a day, let alone one sitting. But, as Fergie would say, “a little party never killed nobody.”
  3. They have a distinctly toothpaste-like quality. We can’t deny it, Shamrock Shakes are extremely minty. And for some people, too much mint is a thing. We don’t know who those people are, but we’re sorry. Honestly, it’s not such a bad thing. Polishing off one of these shakes will leave you feeling fresh out of the dentist’s office, with minty-clean breath to boot.

So go on, wave your fists in the air and shout about how these shakes are an Americanized celebration of a religiously rooted, Irish holiday that might kill you in 20 years because of all that sugar — it won’t bother us. Because deep down, like a warm hug or a free afternoon, we all know how much we want one.