The Shamrock Shake Is Already Back At McDonald's

For many of us, McDonald’s annual St. Patrick’s Day menu item is the first sign of spring.

In a sure sign spring is on its way (we refuse to rely on Punxsutawney Phil), McDonald's has announced a surprise drop of some seasonal treats extra early this year. Starting today, February 5, the Shamrock Shake and the Oreo Shamrock McFlurry have returned to the McDonald's menu to satiate your cravings for mildly minty and artificially green frozen dairy desserts.

Last year, the Shamrock Shake's limited-time appearance began on February 20, which means this year's rollout is about two weeks earlier. I have to say I'm excited. I'm always a big fan, even if others on The Takeout staff haven't always felt the same way.

A brief history of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

McDonald's says the green shake was invented in 1967 by Connecticut-area franchisee Hal Rosen. Three years later, it debuted at other restaurants across the country, and has been popular enough to stick around ever since; McDonald's celebrated the Shamrock Shake's 50th anniversary in 2020.

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In 1980, McDonald's released its first variation on the shake, the Shamrock Sundae, a cup of soft serve finished with a mint green syrup on top. And despite what you think about its general ubiquity, the shake hasn't been available nationally for all that long—the first time it saw a fully national rollout was in 2012.

McDonald's debuted another variation on the treat in 2020, creating an Oreo Shamrock McFlurry, featuring vanilla soft serve mixed with Shamrock Shake syrup and crushed Oreo cookie bits. The Oreo Shamrock McFlurry is back this year alongside the Shamrock Shake. Both items will be available at McDonald's locations through St. Patrick's Day (March 17). After that, availability starts to dwindle down as store operators go through the last of their seasonal ingredients.

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Considering McDonald's many recent efforts to reincorporate McDonaldland characters into its marketing, I'm mildly surprised that the company hasn't yet brought back its former Shamrock Shake mascot, Uncle O'Grimacey. He was a green Irish monster who was supposedly Grimace's uncle, and he hasn't been seen in McDonald's ads for decades.

If you're feeling bold, the McDonald's Double Big Mac, aka a Big Mac with four beef patties instead of two, is still currently available at select locations. You can knock out both the mega-burger and the seasonal shake in one fell swoop if you like, but I prefer to savor that green flavor all on its own while eagerly awaiting spring.

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