Every March I’m peer pressured to succumb to my baser instincts. I’ve been successful in my abstinence for so long, but this year, curiosity drove me to try my very first Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.

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I’ve never understood the Shamrock Shake mystique. Who looks forward to a seasonal minty shake from McDonald’s, no less? Full disclosure: I’m not a big mint fan. I don’t mind it in my gum, in candy cane form, or in my mouth after a breath-compromising meal, but unless it’s mixed with chocolate, I don’t like mint to be incorporated into my desserts. Nevertheless, I simply had to understand what all the hype was about. My reservations aside, what if I was missing out on something great? I don’t normally equate greatness with McDonald’s, but they do have some gems (I’m clearly referencing the McChicken and the McFlurry here).

So I decided to document my foray into the society of Shamrock Shake consumers, from the ambivalent moments in the McDonald’s drive-thru to my very first taste. Without further ado, I present to you, the 13 stages of trying a Shamrock Shake for the first time:

1. (Un)wavering Determination

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I’d estimate there are roughly 12 cars in the drive-thru right now. Is this really worth it?

2. Post-Order Commitment

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It’s too late to turn back now–I’ve solidified my place in the one-way drive-thru traffic pattern! …I already regret this.

3. Fear

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What if someone I know sees me here…

4. First Window Faltering

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I paid! Technically, I could drive away guilt-free! It’s not too soon to back out of this!

5. Second Window Shrugging

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After all this, I’m really going for it. There’s no turning back now! I guess.

6. Off-Center Cherry Chagrin

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This first impression was a bit of a let-down, not gonna lie.

7. Health Hesitations

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Uh, what is this green slime? I’m not sure if this looks more like nuclear waste or something from the Nickelodeon channel.

(To answer what it is exactly:

Milk, Sugar, Cream, Nonfat Milk Solids, Corn Syrup Solids, Mono- and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Dextrose, Sodium Citrate, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Disodium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, More Water, More Sugar, Natural Flavor (Plant Source), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Yellow 5, Blue 1, More Cream, More Nonfat Milk, More Corn Syrup, More Sugar, More High Fructose Corn Syrup, Contains Less Than 1%: Mono-And Diglycerides, More Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80, Beta Carotene (Color), Natural (Dairy and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavor, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) to Protect Flavor, Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide), Cherries, More Water, More Corn Syrup, More High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Natural (Plant Source) and Artificial Flavors, More Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Red 40, Sulfur Dioxide as Preservative (Contains Sulfites)

I think mine was a little heavy on the Yellow 5.)

8. Misguided Optimism

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Most things that taste good aren’t good for you! Here goes nothing!

9. Mild Disgust

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Wow. That’s not what I expected at all. Um…

10. Determination

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This is new to me! I really need to give it a chance!

11. Abject Horror

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Okay, no, this is really gross. Did McDonald’s use Colgate toothpaste to flavor this? I’m pretty sure a homeless person could brush his or her teeth with this and be moderately okay.

12. Wrath

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Two dollars and change and fifteen minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I don’t know why anyone would look forward to you ever year.

13. Catharsis

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Lesson learned. I’ll never be curious about popular seasonal desserts from McDonald’s ever again.

Do you like the Shamrock Shake? If so, what’s wrong with you exactly?

43 thoughts on “The 13 Stages of Trying a Shamrock Shake

    1. I’m not sure what it says about me that making ugly faces is so much easier than making attractive faces.

      You’re instincts about the Shamrock Shake are spot on.

      1. I bet you had an attractive face when you were shopping in that Polish supermarket, Katie, but you didn’t show it to us. OK, maybe a quizzical face … In any case, you are too modest.

  1. Hey I like to mix up my toothpaste flavors every once in a while. Besides, I’ve thought about being homeless in my house once so this my be a good way to keep those pearly blacks even blacker.

    1. I bet we could do a study and discover that March is a banner month for homeless dental health. I think March should be Homeless Dental Health Awareness month.

  2. I don’t have a drop of Irish in me, so I don’t feel any obligation to try any St.Patrick’s-themed foods like shamrock shake or corned beef with cabbage.

    1. For the Shamrock Shake, it wasn’t so much the Irish factor that sucked me in. I always see everyone talking about how they’re looking forward to getting a Shamrock Shake or how delicious they are. I didn’t want to miss out on anything, but it turns out everyone just has bad taste. I’ve been right all along.

  3. I feel your pain, Lady. Ironically, I tried my very first shamrock shake (for lunch) on Monday. I was peer pressured into it by my work ladies……
    Who am I kidding? That’s a lie. No pressure was involved, unless you can count – “Hey Jen, Carol is going to run over to McDee’s and grab us all Shamrock Shakes…” as pressure. It was St. Patty’s Day & figured, ya know? When in Rome.
    I felt the same way you did. Whyyyy does everyone give these things so much credit?
    I’ll take an Oreo McFlurry over that crap any day – even St. Patty’s Day.

    1. I HAVE NO IDEA! What is going on?! I seriously don’t get it. I’m not sure what I expected, but what I tasted definitely wasn’t what I had in mind at all. I nearly went to a reputable ice cream place to get a chocolate shake just to rinse that horrible taste out of my mouth.

      I’m more of an M&M McFlurry gal, but I hate when they don’t mix it properly.

  4. Never had a Shamrock Shake, but just last week I had a toothpaste-flavored cupcake. It was supposed to be strawberry, but it was just good old toothpaste. Maybe it was in an attempt to save people’s teeth from all the sugar?

  5. Shouldn’t there be the obligatory 11a: Brain Freeze? The sheer pain from which numbs the horror of the flavour. (Although I’ve never had a Shamrock Shake – they don’t have them in the UK – never been so pleased before about the ‘…& Republic of Ireland’ as an addendum to our ‘Kingdom’ before. A lucky escape from minty hell it seems.)

  6. M&S Turkey Feast sandwiches, on the other hand, ARE a valid seasonal foodstuff to get excited about. Although not technically a dessert…unless you’ve already eaten one sandwich and have decided to gorge on a second.

  7. I tried it the first time this month, too. I enjoyed it (I like mint ice cream, etc., so it didn’t surprise me), but with all the hype I expected there to be a pot of gold at the bottom or something. I might get one more before March is over, but otherwise….meh.

  8. You completely killed me with this one. I must confess I haven’t been to a McDonalds in over 14 years. Well, if you don’t count that horrific hangover that demanded, yes, demanded a coke and greasy fries antidote. Just the one time…

  9. Ok the documentation was awesome but please for the love of all that is tasty do NOT go back to McDonald’s EVER again. Dumpster dive first if you need to but not behind a McD’s (or other similar style fast food crap joint).

  10. Gag me! You have forever solidified in my mind that Shamrock shakes are evil and disgusting. I thought maybe I was wrong this once – but no, your faces say it all.

  11. This was EXACTLY what happened to me. I thought, what the hell, I’ll try it. And took one sip and it tasted like shit. Much like the time my husband got me to try that nasty McRib sandwich. Blech. Lesson learned.

    1. In hindsight, I have no idea what I was thinking. I’ve never been so bold as to try the McRib, but I’ll admit the thought has crossed my mind. For now, I still have that listed on my resume under my skills: “McRib immune.”

  12. Lol, I love Shamrock Shakes. In fact, I get pretty pissed when they stop serving them after the 17th. Great post though. I love all your facial expressions.

    1. Do they really only serve them until St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s over? I had no idea the timeline was so finite. Is it the mint you like? The only thing I could salvage from it was the whipped cream.

      1. They stop serving them when they run out of mix after the 17th. This year, I went to buy one on the 19th and they were gone.

        I like the mixture of tastes, but I guess it’s mostly the mint. I was surprised that I liked the green goo. I was curious and tried it one day. Fell in love with it.

      1. It was suprisingly refreshing. And I would have another one. But remember I’m the same guy who is still madly in love with the same woman for over 20 years…

        Yes, I just turned thus into a romantic gesture to my wife…

  13. Maybe you should have asked them to make it half chocolate half shamrock mint. That might have helped. About 4 years ago McDonald’s had pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. So, being a giving blogger that I am, I tried one. Now normally the only way I like my pumpkin pie is buried under a whole tub of Cool Whip, so I ordered a vanilla shake to go with it. Did. Not. Help. I noticed they no longer sell pumpkin pies. Wonder why?

    1. Okay, so true story, while I was sitting in my car in the drive-thru I was Googling all things Shamrock Shake, and I read about the half chocolate half shamrock mint. I guess that’s called a McLeprechaun Shake and it’s on the “secret menu.” So once I saw the “secret menu” notation I got too nervous to ask for it, and I ended up with the regular Shamrock Shake.

      I’ve found that pumpkin pie only tastes good as pumpkin pie. I tried a pumpkin pie concrete (pumpkin pie mixed with frozen custard) this past fall, and I was not impressed.

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