Hail to the Shamrock Shake

They’re back. Nothing says green and spring than sipping a minty, delicious McDonald’s Shamrock Shake®.

The Shamrock Shake was created in 1967 by Hal Rosen, a Connecticut McDonald’s owner and operator who made the delicious, minty shake to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It became a staple in the McDonald’s menu in March when it rolled out across the nation in 1970. Here are six fun, interesting tidbits you may not know about the Shamrock Shake that will make you want to zip into your local McDonald’s drive through faster than a leaping leprachaun.  

  1. The Shamrock Shake helped build the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia and has strong ties to the Philadelphia Eagles. The daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill was being treated for leukemia in 1974. The Hill family were camping out in waiting rooms in hospitals and saw other families doing the same. They contacted their local McDonalds owner to see if they could come up with a promotion to help raise money for a place to stay for out-of-town families visiting a sick child in a hospital. The campaign raised enough to buy a four-story house in Philadelphia, the first Ronald McDonalds House. (Ronald McDonalds’ houses are now in 70 countries around the world).
  2. Some of the marketing campaigns for the famous green St. Paddy’s Day beverage have been “a bit of Irish luck in every sip”, “tis the first green of spring” and my favourite, “They won’t be around for long, and that’s no blarney” from this 1983 TV commercial.
  3. McDonald’s introduced the “Shamrock Sundae” for a limited time in 1980, a version of their classic soft serve sundae with a minty green topping, but it wasn’t successful and lasted only a year.
  4. On March 17, 2010, the world’s largest Shamrock Shake was poured into the Chicago River in honor of a donation to develop a new RMHC house. The shake was 24 feet tall.
  5. In 2017, McDonalds added chocolate to the iconic shake and called it the “McLeprechaun”. For the launch, it introduced a revolutionary limited-edition straw designed by a team of aerospace and robotic engineers. The straw was optimally designed to suck 50% chocolate and 50% mint in each sip.
  6. The Shamrock Shake is offered in Ireland, but with mixed reception, mainly due to McDonald’s marketing efforts. In 2017, McDonald’s had to apologize to the entire country for one commercial that featured a man with red hair wearing a tartan (which is Scottish) playing the milkshake like a set of bagpipes (which are also Scottish) in front of Stonehenge (which is in England), while sheep roam around in the background. 

This week’s #HappyAct is to pay homage to the frosty green of spring and make your way to McDonalds today. Here’s another classic commercial from the 80’s showing the short-lived Shamrock Sundae and one of the child actors wearing a t-shirt saying, “Kiss me I’m Irish”.