Which Alcohol Goes Best With Your Shamrock Shake?

by Leah Rocketto

We are mere hours away from St. Patrick's Day, and we'll soon fill our bellies with the holiday's most beloved beverage — the Shamrock Shake. Since hitting the fast-food scene in the 1970s, the famous McDonald's milkshake has become a staple for the Irish holiday. As far as St. Paddy's Day fare goes, the frothy beverage may rank higher than Irish soda bread and corned beef combined. Add alcohol to your Shamrock Shake, though, and you are in prime position to enjoy all that this holiday has to offer.

OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. After all, the Shamrock Shake lacks any real Irish roots. But despite that, it does make the ideal St. Patrick's Day dessert. Between its bright viridescent hue and rich flavor, this treat practically screams Erin go bragh. There is only one thing that could take this concoction to the next level. And that, my friends, is a little thing I like to call booze.

Now what I'm saying may seem blasphemous to some. I mean, how can you improve something so perfect? To be fair, I'm not saying the Shamrock Shake needs improving. I am perfectly happy with the original McDonald's creation. At the same time, St. Patrick's Day is a holiday that has become synonymous with drinking. So if we were to take this treat to the next level, it would be by adding a little libation to the mix.

But then comes the question of which booze to use. After much research (and yes, a little taste testing), I have found three alcohols that not only pair perfectly with the Shamrock Shake, but actually deserve to be blended into this St. Patrick’s day beverage. Whether you plan on spiking your order from McDonald's or making one yourself, these three alcohols are the perfect way to give your Shamrock Shake an adult twist.

1. Baileys Irish Cream

Why It Works: I really shouldn't have to explain this obvious pairing... but I will. Aside from its Irish roots, the liqueur's creamy texture adds an extra layer of richness to the St. Paddy's milkshake. Although there's nothing wrong with the original, I suggest using the Salted Caramel or Chocolate Cherry to add an extra dose of flavor to this sweet treat.

2. Guinness

Why It Works: Wipe that disgusted look off your face. Although pairing Guinness with ice cream seems like an odd choice, it is perfect for people who prefer something a little less sweet (and for those who want to use up their leftover beer). The slight smokiness from the brew cuts through the overabundance of sugar, taking the flavor down a notch without ruining it entirely.

3. Crème de Menthe

Why It Works: For an even fresher take on the shamrock shake — both figuratively and literally — add about half a cup of this mint liqueur to the blender. In light of the recent Thin Mint shortage, this pairing is the perfect way to get the taste of the classic Girl Scout cookie with an alcoholic punch. Not to mention the liqueur's green hue will only intensify your shake's color.

Images: Fake Ginger, Brigitte Deisenhammer , Dano Nicholson, Joni Räsänen/Flickr