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Shamrock Shake Returns to McDonald’s

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2011 at 9:57 am 4,913 52 Comments

Seventy degree temperatures and a tornado watch — sounds like spring, eh? Add this to the evidence: the Shamrock Shake has returned to McDonald’s.

The minty dessert has gotten a facelift since last year. All McDonald’s shakes now come in a clear McCafe cup with whipped cream and a cherry on top. And rather than a flat lime green color, the shake now appears to be a twisted green and white.

We’ve spotted the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s restaurants in Crystal City and on Columbia Pike. Let us know in the comments if it’s at the McDonald’s closest to you.

  • CW

    Is this an inside joke or something?

    • CrystalMikey

      It does have a bit of the cult status thing going for it…

  • Matt!

    It’s made it’s way across the river to the McDonald’s at American University. I had one last week and realized some things are better left to my youth.

  • Paco

    Grimace for State Senate!

    • Mike

      Gotta get me one of these!

  • Jeff W

    Yes! I have waited years for these to come back…

    • SamsontheCat

      Years? They come around every year – late February to St. Patrick’s Day (or longer if they still have the flavoring lying around and want to call it the “Mint Shake” for a few more weeks).

    • Snookie

      You probably eat the McRib too, and celebrated it’s return didn’t you?

      • mehoo


  • mehoo

    Bring some whisky and mix it in and you’ve got something.

    • Overgrown Bush

      Be careful driving across Key Bridge afterwards, mehoo. 🙂

      • CW


      • mehoo

        I always use a designated driver when going to a fast food joint and mixing alcohol with a bizarre specialty milkshake. It’s one of my rules.

        • Overgrown Bush

          I would imagine the sugar rush followed by the whisky downer is something similar to what you may experience with Red Bull and vodka.

  • Tabby

    McRibs dipped into the Shamrock Shake. Mmm mmmm.

  • SamsontheCat

    I’ve seen it in the Crystal City Underground and the Pentagon City Mall. In the District it was at l’Enfant Plaza last year.

  • Arlingtonian

    Awesome! But they need to bring back Uncle O’Grimacey!

  • Just to be clear, this is referring to the McDonalds at 2620 Jefferson Davis Hwy and 3013 Columbia Pike.

    • SamsontheCat

      I reputable source informed me that the ones at Metro Center and Chinatown Metros don’t have them. We just have more ethnic foods in VA I guess.

  • Mark

    Was that story paid for by McDonald’s?

    • No.

    • MIchael H.

      Who cares? It’s not like this website only covers one particular restaurant. Many people like reading about minor local restarant/entertainment/pop culture items here. It’s better than watching the dreary reports on local news broadcasts that seem to specialize in car accidents, murders and scandals.

      Personally I don’t like sugar bomb drinks like Shamrock Shakes but I don’t mind that they are mentioned on this site.

  • JimPB

    I’m for celebrating the Shamrock, but not with the weight increasing (high calorie), artery clogging (high fat) offering from McDonald’s. In the absence of a commercially available healthy offering, I’ll make my own using Hungry Girl’s recipe below:

    Shamrock Star!
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, people! To celebrate, we’ve got a McDonald’s-inspired Shamrock Shake swap that’s sure to make Ronald green with envy. Creamy vanilla goodness with a hint of mint… Mmmmmm!

    3/4 cup light vanilla soymilk
    1/2 cup Breyers Double Churn Free Creamy Vanilla fat-free ice cream
    1 tbsp. Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla powdered creamer
    1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
    2 drops green food coloring
    1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda)
    1 1/2 cups crushed ice (8 – 12 ice cubes’ worth)

    Place Coffee-mate in a glass and add 1 tbsp. very hot water. Stir until powder dissolves, and then transfer mixture to a blender.

    Add all other ingredients to the blender. Blend at high speed until mixed thoroughly. Sláinte! (That’s the Irish way of saying, “Cheers!” — we know ‘cuz we Googled it.)


    Serving Size: 1 shake/about 12 oz. (entire recipe)
    Calories: 176
    Fat: 4g
    Sodium: 142mg
    Carbs: 29.5g
    Fiber: 3.5g
    Sugars: 16g
    Protein: 7.5g

    POINTS® value 3*

    • CW

      “Points” is trademarked? There must be big lawsuits pending against the NFL, NBA, and sports journalists everywhere.

      • borf

        Good point®.

    • OX4

      I’m not sure what’s worse — a McDonald’s shake that has tons of fat and sugar, or a synthetic chemical-laden copy. Fat-free ice cream, sugar-free chemical creamer, and Splenda. Why don’t you just have a small scoop of real ice cream? It’s far healthier than that junk.

      • Arlingtonian

        I eat healthful whole foods at least 85 percent of the time so I’m going to have a small one (still well over 400 calories if anyone is interested:)), enjoy it, and not beat myself up about it. In fact I think it’s the only McDonald’s “shake” that actually tastes good to me.

      • Old D

        I couldn’t agree more, Ox. Jim lost me on line one with his artery clogging (high fat) comment, realizing a highly synthetic recipe was soon to follow. There’s no good defense of McDonald’s foods, but it isn’ the fat content that is the problem. I think Jim hasn’t made it any further than Ancel Keys in his study of nutrition.

      • directorsdaughtr

        Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, it’s nice to know there is an alternative for me to have. If I ever have anything but Splenda (i.e. real sugar), you can pretty much just reserve a bed in the hospital for me. The reason substitutes like this are created is because of people like me. So I’m sorry that you think this post wasn’t worthy because of its “chemical ridden” ingredients, but I am grateful to know there is a way for me to have a Shamrock Shake too.

    • Thirsty

      Holy cow that sounds awful. The beauty of the original Shamrock Shake is that one doesn’t know (or question) the ingredients. And since it is offered for a limited time only, the damage is minimal. Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla powdered creamer, on the other hand, may hide in the body for decades.

      • OX4

        You mean corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, artificial flavor, mono- and diglycerides, and sodium aluminosilicate doesn’t sound good to you?

    • Josh S

      That’s disgusting.

  • Greg

    Better than when they had the Shrek-themed version called the “Mint Ogre-load”

  • ballstown

    Wost post ever…why does anybody care about a mcdonalds shamrock shake?
    Has ARLnow hired new staff from Patch?? (worst Arlington article ever = http://ballston.patch.com/articles/a-night-at-the-melting-pot)

    • If we did, you’d be seeing more exclamation points.

      • Paco

        More exclamation points AND copious use of the words “amazing” and “yum.”

      • John Goilios

        23 exclamation points in that Patch article, for those keeping score.

    • R. Griffin

      It’s a fun post. A lot of people (myself included) have fond memories of these things, and it’s a quirky sign that winter’s winding down.

      I think I’ll head to the CC underground this afternoon and pick one up. AND I’ll be safe from the tornados!

  • RW

    I’m glad ARLNow is devoted to coverage of local establishments….like McDonalds.

    • The Shamrock Shake is a spring rite of passage. Like Girl Scout cookies, green beer specials and college basketball tournaments.

      • Arlingtonian

        Agreed! Thank you for covering it! And many areas do not offer the Shamrock Shake so in a way, it is local … I used to live farther south and I went almost a full decade without seeing one.

      • Josh S

        If you say so….

      • cj

        Report on sales trends and review of this year’s options in Girl Scout cookies to come?

  • Westover

    Maybe the stars will alighn one day and I will be able to get a Shamrock Shake and a McRib at the same time.

  • Eponymous Coward

    The calories in a small one of these bad boys is 420. That’s two pints of Guinness. No contest there, IMO.


  • CMC

    I can’t wait to get my first Shamrock Shake of the year! The McD’s on George Mason looked at me like I had two heads last year when I tried to order one. I’m going to skip them this year and go to Columbia Pike.

    • Tabby

      The Columbia Pike McD’s staff all have two heads so they won’t look at you strangely.

  • MC

    Who needs all the Irish bars when something equally authentic is being served by McDonald’s? Is this really any worse than Bailey’s “Irish” Cream?

  • Mike

    It’s a brand new dance & it’s sweepin’ the nation “The Shamrock Shake

  • Sean

    This is a tradition in my house. The drive through stopping dead today when they ran out and had to make more proves I’m not alone!


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