McDonald’s Shamrock Shake returns with a 50th-anniversary twist

The mint-flavored milkshake is celebrating a milestone birthday with a twist

St. Patrick’s Day might be on March 17 but the folks at McDonald’s are betting on the luck of the Irish with the return of the Shamrock Shake on Wednesday.

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The mint-flavored and vibrantly green milkshake, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season, will launch nationally while supplies last. It is one of McDonald’s longest-running limited-edition offerings.

The McDonald's Shamrock Shake is turning 50 this year. (McDonald's)

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“We’ve been serving the iconic, cult-favorite Shamrock Shake for 50 years and it’s become synonymous with McDonald’s ever since,” said McDonald’s Vice President of Menu Innovation, Linda VanGosen about the iconic beverage’s return.

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Aside from the standard milkshake version, this year’s Shamrock Shake will also be available as an OREO Shamrock McFlurry for a celebratory twist on the sweet treat’s five decades on the market.

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“Our chefs worked to get the perfect balance of OREO cookies and mint for this new delicious dessert. We can’t wait for customers to get a taste this spring,” VanGosen continued via the company’s press release.

The Shamrock Shake and OREO Shamrock McFlurry will be available starting on Feb. 19. (McDonald's)

Outside of the OREO cookie addition, the only other time the Shamrock Shake has been innovated was in 2017, which added chocolate soft serve to the minty green milkshake. That year, McDonald’s also added its secret Shamrock flavoring to its McCafé lineup for a Shamrock Hot Chocolate, Shamrock Mocha and Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappé.

The last time McDonald’s attempted Shamrock flavored ice cream was in 1980 with its Shamrock Sundae, which entailed vanilla soft serve and a Shamrock syrup drizzle.

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The Shamrock Shake was created in 1967 by Connecticut McDonald’s Owner and Operator Hal Rosen, who blended together a mint milkshake in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Three years later, the Shamrock Shake debuted in select locations throughout the U.S. which McDonald’s characterized as an “instant success.”

Sales from the milkshake in 1974 were enough to help launch the first Ronald McDonald House charity in Philadelphia.

The Shamrock Shake is a bit older than some fans realize. (McDonald's)

By 2012, the Shamrock Shake finally launched nationwide. This year, the Shamrock Shake will be available internationally in select restaurants throughout Canada and Ireland.

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“Every year customers eagerly await the return of the Shamrock Shake — and over the past five decades, getting a sip of this green legend has become a seasonal tradition for many,” said McDonald’s Archivist Mike Bullington. “The shake’s unique history and widespread passion for this menu item has qualified the Shamrock Shake as a beloved cultural icon. We feel lucky to have such dedicated Shamrock fanatics, and hope to continue the legacy of this legendary treat for many more years to come.”