From Eggnog To Classic Milk Recipes: A Brief History Of The Milkshake

The milkshake has a fascinating history that dates back to the late 19th century. Initially mentioned in a UK newspaper in 1885, a ‘shake’ drink often contained spirits like whiskey and eggs, and was described as both robust and healthy, resembling what we know as ‘eggnog’ today. However, it wasn’t the popular treat we enjoy today, and a commercial milkshake machine was not yet a necessity. The turning point came in the 1900s.

An American Walgreen Store manager conducted beverage experiments, leading to a groundbreaking concoction of ice cream and malt milk. Blending them together created the thick, creamy, and cold ‘shake’ we cherish today. This delightful treat became a sensation among Walgreens customers, eventually propelling the brand into a national chain with stores across the country.

During the 1900s, milkshakes gained popularity in bars, promoted as health drinks made with milk and flavored with chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Malt shops, especially popular with students in the 1930s, turned milkshakes into a bestseller.

The classic milkshake recipe typically involves flavored milk and/or ice cream. For instance, a vanilla milkshake may include milk, a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, vanilla essence, food coloring, sugar, and ice. Blending these ingredients in a milkshake machine yields a refreshing drink, optionally garnished with extra ice cream.

While traditional milkshakes remain a favorite, many regions worldwide have their variations. Some regions make milkshakes without ice cream, while smoothies, made with yogurt, fresh fruits, and crushed ice, rival their popularity. Malted milk can replace regular milk, often referred to simply as ‘malt.’

Beyond milkshakes, there are frappes, thicker than milkshakes, made with coffee, and Latin America’s batido, a milkshake featuring milk and fruits. For a more adult version, ‘spiked shakes’ combine alcohol, such as whiskey, with one of the world’s favorite iced beverages.

In the late 1950s, slushies gained fame in the U.S., consisting of flavored ice with a taste akin to granita but less thick. Meeting consumer demands, the commercial slush machine was invented to produce enough slush efficiently.

Milkshakes hold such cultural significance in the U.S. that they have two unofficial national holidays: National Vanilla Milkshake Day on June 20th and National Chocolate Milkshake Day on September 12th.

The rich history of milkshakes showcases how a simple concept evolved into a beloved treat enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether sipping on a classic milkshake or experimenting with unique variations, this timeless beverage continues to bring joy and satisfaction to millions of taste buds.

So, the next time you’re feeling thirsty and craving a delightful concoction, head down to your nearest ice cream seller and treat yourself to a deliciously hydrating, thirst-quenching, and nutritious milkshake! Celebrate the art of milkshake-making and explore the plethora of flavors and styles that have been developed over the years. From traditional classics to innovative modern creations, the milkshake’s journey from its humble beginnings to its current status as a beloved icon is truly a tale worth savoring.

Take a moment to appreciate the creativity and ingenuity of individuals like Frederic Tudor, who revolutionized the way we consume beverages and preserved food. Let us raise our milkshakes in a toast to the countless hands and minds that contributed to making this delightful drink a delightful part of our lives. Cheers to the milkshake and the endless possibilities it holds!

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