Fifty year is a long time. It’s fifty percent a century. That the mean life span of a chimpanzee. It’s sufficient time to develop one (1) Mariah Carey (maybe?). And also as the this year, it’s likewise how long civilization have to be ordering Shamrock Shakes in ~ McDonald’s.

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Every March due to the fact that 1970 — along with St. Patrick’s Day, maybe corrupt college basketball tournaments, and the chance to misquote Julius Caesar — the seasonal tradition has actually returned come McDonald"s. Regardless of not gift the fast-food chain"s best-known (or, arguably, best) limited-time product, the garnered a cult complying with over the years. So in respect of its golden anniversary in ~ the gold Arches (and our cumulative slow march toward death), let’s take a look at its backstory, i m sorry is surprisingly affluent for a new fast-food beverage.

A green-tinted tradition born in the ’70s

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1980 Shamrock shower ad. Courtesy of McDonald’s The Shamrock Shake, as made by McDonald"s, is a pale neon eco-friendly milkshake, offered with whipped cream. It comes in 3 sizes ranging from little (460 calories and also 13 grams of fat) to huge (790 calories and 22 grams that fat).

The Shamrock shower is only easily accessible seasonally, typically arriving on the McDonald"s food selection sometime in February and remaining over there at the very least through St. Patrick"s day (March 17), generally disappearing again in mid- to so late March. After debuting in 1970 and also returning annually for the following two decades, it to be briefly stop in the 1990s however brought ago in the 2000s as result of customer demand. In 2012 it to be made obtainable at every McDonald"s nationwide, however it"s at this time a local offering in the US. That also easily accessible at part stores in Canada and Ireland.

In 1980, McDonald"s also introduced the Shamrock Sundae, a vanilla sundae drizzled with disconcertingly green syrup, yet due to short sales it was discontinued after a year. Currently it"s largely relegated come awesomely "80s commercials prefer this one:


What flavor is the Shamrock Shake?

This can seem noticeable — it"s mint, right? — yet Googling the query transforms up quite a couple of debates on the matter. Some civilization claim it has a hints of lime, others say it"s together minty as toothpaste, and also still rather think it"s just a vanilla shake dyed green. Turns out these have all been correct at assorted points in history: At least one account claims the original recipe contained lemon-lime sherbet; the formula to be changed in 1973 to be simply vanilla v food coloring. Not until 1983 did the shake come to be the mildly minty confection we know today.

Per the McDonald’s website, the shake’s three materials are vanilla reduced-fat ice cream, “Shamrock shower syrup,” and also whipped irradiate cream. It more than likely would not surprise friend to understand that all of these ingredient contain various creates of high-fructose corn syrup.

In 2017, McDonald’s experimented v several coco Shamrock shake versions, including a Shamrock chocolate-chip frappe, a Shamrock hot chocolate, and also a Shamrock mocha — plus a special straw particularly designed because that the shakes. This year, the chain is offering the OG shake add to an Oreo Shamrock McFlurry, in instance your utensil of selection is spoon fairly than straw.

The background of the Shamrock shiver is more detailed 보다 you"d mean for a fast-food new beverage

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chris Pratt in ~ the Ronald McDonald home in brand-new York City, no drinking a Shamrock Shake. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty photos once McDonald"s introduced the shower in 1970, the was dubbed the St. Patrick"s job Shake; it got its new, catchier surname a couple of years later. The Shamrock shiver is additionally partially responsible for producing the network of Ronald McDonald home Charities, which administer housing and other solutions to ailing children and their families.

In early 1974, the daughter the Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill to be undergoing therapy for leukemia, and also Hill and also his wife, Fran, were spending most of their time in the hospital. They wanted to discover a housing solution for other family members like them, for this reason Hill turned to his teammates to help fundraise for alternating accommodations.

Eagles basic manager Jim Murray had the idea to harness the strength of McDonald"s advertising; through a friend at the company"s advertisement agency, Don Tuckerman, Murray learned the the next McD"s promotion would it is in to add the Shamrock Shake to the food selection for St. Patrick"s Day. Murray worked with McDonald"s founder ray Kroc and local manager Ed Rensi come organize a week-long promo wherein all proceeds native Shamrock shower sales would certainly be donated come the Eagles" fundraising efforts.

They raised sufficient money to buy a seven-bedroom house near the hospital, which in 1974 became the very first Ronald McDonald House. The nonprofit network has because expanded to encompass 357 residences in many countries.

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Though Shamrock shower sales no longer advantage the non-profit network, the two have actually been attached in current publicity stunts — choose this one native 2010, in i m sorry a 24-foot shake to be dumped into the Chicago flow in honor of a McDonald"s donation to build a new Ronald McDonald home in the city.


This year, McDonald’s is doing a splashy fundraiser for the charity: per CNN, it’s auctioning off an 18-karat gold, gem-encrusted Shamrock shake cup supposedly appraised in ~ $90,000, with all proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House.

According come the eBay auction page, the cup, which is size to fit approximately the plastic container her garden-variety Shamrock shiver is served in, is adorned v “50 eco-friendly emeralds and also white diamonds — representing 50 year of Shamrock shake flavor and also delicious whipped topping. There are 50 yellow diamonds in every of the golden Arches because that 50 years of gift a pan fave in ~ McDonald’s.”