Some are thick. Some are thin. Most are yummy. Milkshakes are the popular drink of ice cream, milk, and select flavoring. However, they did not always look the way they do today. There are many interesting facts and an even more intriguing history that can be learned about milkshakes.
1. Milkshakes have been around for a long time. “How long?” you ask. The first milkshake is documented in print at 1885 in a newspaper.
2. In the early days, milkshakes did not just include the typical ingredients of milk, ice cream, and flavoring. Back then, a little whisky was added to milkshakes. No wonder they became so popular!
3. If you drink too much alcohol one night, a milkshake could get you back on your feet. A banana milkshake mixed with a little honey is the perfect cure for a hangover.
4. Milkshakes became very popular when the electric blender was invented. In 1922, Stephen Poplawski had the brilliant idea to put a rotating blade at the bottom of a container. He invented the blender for the specific use of allowing milkshakes and malts to be made easily at home.
5. Milkshakes became even more popular when the blender was improved by a different inventor, Fred Waring, in 1937. It was known as the “Miracle Mixer” and “Waring Blendor” and was initially sold for $29.75.
6. What is a milkshake without a straw? Joseph Friedman invented the flexible straw after watching his daughter struggle with her milkshake in his brother’s fountain shop. His invention was patented September 28, 1937.
7. Just because you may call them a “milkshake” does not mean everyone will understand what you are talking about. In parts of Canada and New England, such as Boston, Massachusetts, milkshakes are known as a “frappe” (the e is silent).
8. If you think “frappe” is a strange name for a milkshake, then you probably should not try to order one in Rhode Island. Rhode Island calls their milkshakes “cabinets.”
9. The milkshakes in Rhode Island are thought to be called “cabinets” because people use to keep their blenders in a small, wooden cabinet. Rhode Island’s “cabinets” are not like the typical milkshake either; they do not contain ice cream. A “cabinet” is just milk and flavoring mixed together.
10. Need another name for a milkshake besides cabinet and frappe? Milkshakes may also be called “shakes” or “malts” if they are made with malted milk.
11. Dairy Queen leaded the fast food milkshake revolution. Dairy Queen introduced milkshakes in 1949.
12. Fast food restaurants like to make up their own names for milkshakes. McDonald’s is famous for their McFlurries. McFlurries come in a variety of flavors, the most popular being Oreo, M&M, and Butterfinger. McFlurries were invented in October 1997.
13. Another new name for milkshakes comes from the notorious fast food chain Wendy’s. Wendy’s calls their milkshakes Frostys. Frostys were invented in 1969 and were one of Wendy’s first dessert items on the menu.
14. Everyone knows that milkshakes are popular. However, not everyone knows that Wendy’s sells over 300 million Frostys a year.
16. Ever heard of Horlicks? William Horlick invented the mixture of dried milk, malted barley and wheat in 1897. Ivar Coulson added Horlick’s mixture to milk in 1922 to make a “malt.”
18. The largest milkshake ever made was by Ira Freehof, owner of The Comfort Diners. Ira paired with Parmalat USA and the American Dairy Association and made his classic Black and White Shake in New York.
19. The largest milkshake was made in the year 2000. It was 6,000 gallons of pure milkshake. Six thousand gallons can be served into 50,000 average sized shakes! The previous Guiness Book of World Records milkshake record was 4,603.24 gallons.
20. McDonalds’ milkshakes contain seaweed. Before you start writing a complaint letter to McDonalds, know that it is a seaweed extract called carrageenan. Carrageenan can also be found in a lot of dairy products, soft drinks, and gelatin mixes of other brands as well.
21. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are not even the start of milkshake flavors. There are many seasonal milkshakes such as the Pumpkin Pie Milkshake from Jack in the Box and the Shamrock Shake from McDonalds.
22. There are also weird flavored milkshakes. There is a recipe known for an avocado milkshake. Pizza, Wings, Steaks, & Things is a restaurant in Edison, New Jersey that sells a bubblegum grape milkshake.
23. Ray Kroc was a milkshake machine seller. His milkshake peddling business led him to the founders of McDonalds. Ray Kroc is credited with expanding McDonalds’ borders to what it is today.
24. Want to celebrate milkshakes? Well, you are in luck! September 12 is National Chocolate Milkshake Day.
25. If you are not fond of chocolate milkshakes, do not despair. June 21 is National Vanilla Milkshake Day too.
26. If you prefer to celebrate milkshakes as frappes instead, then there is a day for you too! October 7 is recognized as National Frappe Day.
Whether you call it a milkshake, frappe, or cabinet, grab a straw and sip away. Milkshakes are a great source of dairy. They are also a fun, creative treat that anyone can enjoy. Do not forget to mark the three important milkshake days on your calendar.
Further resources: How to Make the Perfect Milkshake.