|Alternative names||Thick shake, frappe, cabinet|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Milk, ice cream, and flavorings or sweeteners|
A milkshake (sometimes called a shake in the United States) is a sweet drink made by blending milk, ice cream, and flavorings or sweeteners such as butterscotch, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup, fruit syrup, or whole fruit into a thick, sweet, cold mixture. It may also be made using other types of milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.
Milkshakes originated in the United States around the turn of the 20th century, and grew in popularity following the introduction of electric blenders in the subsequent two decades. They became a common part of youth popular culture, as ice cream shops were a culturally acceptable meeting place for youth, and milkshakes became symbolic of the innocence of youth.
Starting in 2019, throwing milkshakes at politicians— milkshaking —has become a common protest tactic in some countries.
Full-service restaurants, ice cream shops, soda fountains, and diners usually prepare the shake in a specialized mixer known as a milkshake machine. At home, a blender is more commonly used. Milkshakes may be made from any flavor of ice cream; additional flavorings, such as chocolate syrup, malt syrup, or malted milk powder, are often added prior to mixing.
Many fast food outlets do not make shakes from the individual ingredients; rather, they use automatic milkshake machines which freeze and serve a pre-made milkshake mixture consisting of milk, a sweetened flavoring agent, and a thickening agent. These are similar to soft-serve ice cream machines, but keep the shake at a drinkable consistency.
Terminology around the distinction between a milkshake that uses ice cream and other forms of flavored milk varies regionally. An ice cream-based milkshake may be called a thick shake to distinguish it. In parts of New England and eastern Canada, the name frappe ( // FRAP) is used. Rhode Island residents sometimes refer to milkshakes as "cabinets". A milkshake containing malted milk powder is sometimes called a malt. The term concrete is used for particularly thick milkshakes that do not spill when turned upside down, such as at the restaurant Culver's.
When the term "milkshake" was first used in print in 1885, milkshakes were an alcoholic whiskey drink that has been described as a "sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat".However, by 1900, the term referred to "wholesome drinks made with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla syrups." By the "early 1900s people were asking for the new treat, often with ice cream." By the 1930s, milkshakes were a popular drink at malt shops, which were the "typical soda fountain of the period ... used by students as a meeting place or hangout."
The history of the electric blender, malted milk drinks, and milkshakes are interconnected. Before the widespread availability of electric blenders, milkshake-type drinks were more like eggnog, or they were a hand-shaken mixture of crushed ice and milk, sugar, and flavorings.Hamilton Beach introduced its Cyclone Drink Mixer in 1910, and it was widely used in soda fountains.
The Hamilton Beach design, with the motor on top, remains the most common kind of milkshake machine. In 1922, Steven Poplawski invented the bottom-motor blender, which is sometimes used for making milkshakes.With the invention of the blender, milkshakes began to take their modern, whipped, aerated, and frothy form.
The use of malted milk powder in milkshakes was popularized in the US by the Chicago drugstore chain Walgreens. Malted milk powder — a mixture of evaporated milk, malted barley, and wheat flour – had been invented by William Horlick in 1897 for use as an easily digested restorative health drink for disabled people and children, and as an infant's food.However, healthy people soon began drinking beverages made with malted milk simply for the taste, and malted milk beverages containing milk, chocolate syrup, and malt powder became a standard offering at soda fountains. In 1922, Walgreens employee Ivar "Pop" Coulson made a milkshake by adding two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the standard malted milk drink recipe. This item, under the name "Horlick's Malted Milk", was featured by the Walgreen drugstore chain as part of a chocolate milk shake, which itself became known as a "malted" or "malt" and became one of the most popular soda-fountain drinks.
The automation of milkshakes developed in the 1930s, after the invention of freon-cooled refrigerators provided a safe, reliable way of automatically making and dispensing ice cream. In 1936, inventor Earl Prince used the basic concept behind the freon-cooled automated ice cream machine to develop the Multimixer, a "five-spindled mixer that could produce five milkshakes at once, all automatically, and dispense them at the pull of a lever into awaiting paper cups."
In the late 1930s, several newspaper articles show that the term "frosted" was used to refer to milkshakes made with ice cream. In 1937, the Denton Journal in Maryland stated that "For a 'frosted' shake, add a dash of your favorite ice cream." In 1939, the Mansfield News in Ohio stated that "A frosted beverage, in the vernacular, is something good to which ice cream has been added. Example par excellence is frosted coffee—that hot, tasty beverage made chilly with ice and frosty with ice cream."
By the 1950s, popular places to drink milkshakes were Woolworth's "5 & 10" lunch counters, diners, burger joints, and drugstore soda fountains. These establishments often prominently displayed a shining chrome or stainless steel milkshake mixing machine.
These establishments made milkshakes in Hamilton Beach or similar styles of drink mixers, which had spindles and agitators that folded air into the drinks for "smooth, fluffy results" and served them in 12½-ounce tall glasses with bulbous top. Soda fountain staff had their own jargon, such as "Burn One All the Way" (chocolate malted with chocolate ice cream), "Twist It, Choke It, and Make It Cackle" (chocolate malted with an egg), "Shake One in the Hay" (a strawberry shake), and a "White Cow" (a vanilla milkshake).In the 1950s, a milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc bought exclusive rights to the 1930s-era Multimixer milkshake maker from inventor Earl Prince, and went on to use automated milkshake machines to speed up production at McDonald's restaurants.
Milkshakes had also become popular in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and Australia. In Australia, milk bars had grown popular and milkshakes were normally served lightly whipped and often in the aluminium or stainless steel cups in which they were prepared. In addition to more conventional flavors, spearmint and lime flavored milkshakes became popular in Australia.
In 2006, the U.S. Agricultural Research Service developed reduced-sugar, low-fat milk shakes for lunch programs. The shakes have half the sugar and only 10% of the fat of commercial fast-food shakes. Schools need a milk shake machine or soft-serve ice cream machine to serve the milkshakes. The milkshakes also have added fiber and other nutrients, and they have much less lactose, which makes the shakes appropriate for some lactose-intolerant people.
The U.S. sales of milkshakes, malts, and floats rose 11% in 2006, according to the industry research firm NPD Group. Christopher Muller, the director of the Center for Multi-Unit Restaurant Management at Orlando's University of Central Florida said that "milkshakes remind us of summer, youth — and indulgence", and "they're evocative of a time gone by". Muller stated that milkshakes are an "enormously profitable" item for restaurants, since the drinks contain so much air. The market research firm Technomic states that about 75% of the average-priced $3.38 restaurant shake in 2006 was profit. An executive from Sonic Drive-In, a U.S. chain of 1950s-style diner restaurants, calls shakes "one of our highest-volume, revenue-producing areas".
A 2016 article stated that chefs are trying out innovative ideas with milkshakes to keep customers interested in the drinks.The article noted that coffee-flavored shakes are popular "because it complements both sweet and savory" dishes. Another trend is using different types of milk, such as almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk.
In May 2019, during the build-up to the EU parliament elections in the United Kingdom, the throwing of milkshakes emerged as a protest tactic, usually targeting right-wing politicians. The movement originated with the "milkshaking" of Tommy Robinson, with a second thrown later that month.
The UK police requested that an Edinburgh McDonald's refrain from selling milkshakes on May 17 during a visit by Nigel Farage. This prompted Burger King to tweet in response: "We're selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun."Burger King's tweet was later banned by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority, because they felt that it "condoned the previous anti-social behaviour and encouraged further instances", and that it was therefore an "irresponsible" advertisement. At a separate visit in Newcastle on May 20, Farage had a Five Guys milkshake thrown at him. Carl Benjamin had a total of four milkshakes thrown at him that week. The act of milkshaking is similar to that of egging as a form of protest against political figures.
Milkshakes in the movies have been described a "shorthand for sweetness and goodness".In All About Eve , by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Bette Davis’s character is unhappy to see a man she likes chatting up her young female assistant, so Davis's character orders an alcoholic Martini, and "then mockingly suggests [that] Eve [the young assistant] will have a milkshake", thereby "asserting womanhood over girlhood through milkshake's associations with virginity." Similarly, the socially awkward and nerdy character Steve Buscemi plays in Ghost World is made fun of by a teenage girl because he orders a "virginal vanilla milkshake"; in Manhattan , by director Woody Allen, the director draws attention to the difference in age between his 42-year-old character (he also acts in the lead role) and his teenage girlfriend by having her drink a milkshake. In the film Lolita in 1997, a teenage girl drinks a milkshake while she is with the middle-aged man (her mother's new boyfriend) who is attracted to her. Pulp Fiction has a scene in a retro-50s diner where two characters on a first date discuss the merits of a "Five Dollar Milkshake" ("Martin and Lewis" for vanilla, "Amos 'n' Andy" for chocolate).
The characters from Archie Comics are often depicted drinking milkshakes. The TV series Riverdale , inspired by the comics, depicts the characters in a 1950s-inspired local diner, Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe; to promote the show, the cast shared a milkshake during an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon .
Master Shake, one of the main characters from the American animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force (also known by various alternative titles), is a life-sized anthropomorphic milkshake.
The term "milkshake duck" refers to the social media trend where "the internet rushes en masse to embrace something or someone as cute, worthy, fun or funny" (such as a duck that drinks milkshakes), but "then just as quickly drops it, when it’s revealed to somehow be unpleasantly complicated"; the paper called the term "useful shorthand" for when a "favourite [concept] is revealed to be problematic".
In Australia in April 2021, the federal government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a video intended to teach high-school students about sexual consent; it featured a young woman drinking a milkshake and smearing the drink over her male companion's face after he declined to drink it voluntarily. The "milkshake metaphor" was widely criticised by sexual assault experts and was later removed from government websites.
Frappuccino is a trademarked brand of the Starbucks Corporation for a line of highly-sweetened iced, blended coffee drinks. It consists of coffee or crème base, blended with ice and other various ingredients like flavored syrups, usually topped with whipped cream and or spices. Frappuccinos are also sold as bottled coffee beverages in grocery stores, convenience stores and from vending machines.
Ovaltine is a brand of milk flavoring product made with malt extract, sugar, and whey. Some flavors also have cocoa. Ovaltine, a registered trademark of Associated British Foods, is made by Wander AG, a subsidiary of Twinings, which acquired the brand from Novartis in 2002, except in the United States, where Nestlé acquired the rights separately from Novartis in the late 2000s.
Cream soda is a sweet soft drink. Generally flavored with vanilla and based on the taste of an ice cream soda, a wide range of variations can be found worldwide.
Flavored milk is a sweetened dairy drink made with milk, sugar, flavorings, and sometimes food colorings. It may be sold as a pasteurized, refrigerated product; or as an ultra-high-temperature (UHT) treated product not requiring refrigeration. It may also be made in restaurants or homes by mixing flavorings into milk.
Coffee milk is a drink made by mixing coffee syrup or coffee extract and milk together in a manner similar to chocolate milk. It is the official state drink in Rhode Island.
A coffee cabinet is an ice cream-based milkshake found almost exclusively in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, consisting of coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, and milk. The ingredients are mixed in a drink blender or milkshake blender.
A soda jerk is a person—typically a youth—who operates the soda fountain in a drugstore, often for the purpose of preparing and serving soda drinks and ice cream sodas. This was made by putting flavored syrup into a specially designed tall glass and adding carbonated water. One or two scoops of ice cream, or occasionally malt powder, could be added. The result was served with a long-handled spoon, most commonly known as a "soda spoon", and drinking straws.
A soda fountain is a device that dispenses carbonated soft drinks, called fountain drinks. They can be found in restaurants, concession stands and other locations such as convenience stores. The device combines flavored syrup or syrup concentrate and carbon dioxide with chilled and purified water to make soft drinks, either manually, or in a vending machine which is essentially an automated soda fountain that is operated using a soda gun. Today, the syrup often is pumped from a special container called a bag-in-box (BiB).
A sundae is an ice cream dessert that typically consists of one or more scoops of ice cream topped with sauce or syrup and in some cases other toppings such as: sprinkles, whipped cream, marshmallows, peanuts, maraschino cherries, or other fruits.
An ice cream float or ice cream soda, or spider, is a chilled beverage that consists of ice cream in either a soft drink or a mixture of flavored syrup and carbonated water. When root beer and vanilla ice cream are used together to make the beverage, it is typically referred to as a root beer float.
Iced coffee is a coffee beverage served cold. It may be prepared either by brewing coffee in the normal way and then serving it over ice or in cold milk, or by brewing the coffee cold. In hot brewing, sweeteners and flavoring may be added before cooling, as they dissolve faster. Iced coffee can also be sweetened with pre-dissolved sugar in water.
Chocolate syrup is a sweet, chocolate-flavored condiment. It is often used as a topping or dessert sauce for various desserts, such as ice cream, or mixed with milk to make chocolate milk or blended with milk and ice cream to make a chocolate milkshake. Chocolate syrup is sold in a variety of consistencies, ranging from a thin liquid that can be drizzled from a bottle to a thick sauce that needs to be spooned onto the dessert item.
Hamilton Beach Brands Holding Company is an American designer, marketer and distributor of home appliances and commercial restaurant equipment marketed primarily in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including blenders, mixers, toasters, slow cookers, clothes irons, and air purifiers.
The Shamrock Shake is a seasonal green mint flavored milkshake dessert sold at some McDonald's restaurants during March to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the US, Canada and Ireland.
Chocolate ice cream is ice cream with natural or artificial chocolate flavoring.
Flavored syrups typically consist of a simple syrup, that is sugar, with naturally occurring or artificial (synthesized) flavorings also dissolved in them. A sugar substitute may also be used.
Drink mixers are the non-alcoholic ingredients in mixed drinks and cocktails. Mixers dilute the drink, lowering the alcohol by volume in the drink. They change, enhance, or add new flavors to a drink. They may make the drink sweeter, more sour, or more savory. Some mixers change the texture or consistency of the drink, making it thicker or more watery. Drink mixers may also be used strictly for decorative purposes by changing the color or appearance of the drink. They also simply increase the volume of a drink, to make it last longer.
Nesquik is a brand of products made by Swiss company Nestlé. In 1948, Nestlé launched a drink mix for chocolate-flavored milk called Nestle Quik in the United States; this was released in Europe during the 1950s as Nesquik.
A milkshake machine or drink mixer is a kind of countertop electric mixer used to make milkshakes, flavored milk, frappés, and other blended beverages. Milkshake machines are generally used in ice cream stores and fast food restaurants, and are not common as domestic appliances, where blenders are typically used instead.
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