On The Menu: Vanilla Milkshake
Rich, smooth and creamy milkshakes are the perfect summertime indulgence in a combination of ice cream, milk, and flavors like strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. But the first “milkshakes,” dating back to late-1880’s, were an eggnog-type drink laced with whisky and served as both a “sturdy, healthful.tonic” and as a treat.
By 1900, a hand-shaken combination of ice, milk, sugar, and flavorings, was referred to as a milkshake. It wasn’t until the early 1920’s with the invention of the electric blender that milkshakes began to take on their current creamy, thick, whipped form. And by the 1930’s milkshakes were the popular drink at the local soda fountains and malt shops, which were used by students as the local hangout.
The classic soda shop used drink mixers to fold air into the milkshake to create the smooth, fluffy results. Each soda shop was staffed with soda jerks (named for the jerking motion used on the soda fountain handle to make flavored sodas) who specialized in making the milkshakes, malts, and sodas. And they used their own jargon to identify these specialized drinks: “Burn One All the Way” translated to a chocolate malted milk with chocolate ice cream; a “Twist It, Choke It, and Make It Cackle” referred to a chocolate malted with an egg mixed in; for the strawberry lover there was the “Shake One in the Hay” or a strawberry milkshake; and for the purist, a “White Cow” or a vanilla milkshake.
Once the territories of the soda jerk at the local soda shop, milkshakes are now the playground for innovative chefs at high-end restaurants. Chef-inspired milkshakes are featuring ingredients like toasted pecans, saffron-rose water, orange blossom ice cream, spiced rums, Valrhona chocolate, vodka, and even combinations like vanilla custard mixed with Russian Imperial stout.
There are no limits when it comes to the delicious milkshake, whether your tastes run to simple macerated strawberries or to the exotic taro root with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. The best milkshakes are a thick, creamy combination of the best ice creams and ingredients. Whatever flavors your taste buds crave, try these tips for creating the perfect milkshake at home:
Tips for the Perfect Milkshake
Chill the Tools: Before making a milkshake, place ice cream scoop, utensils, blender jug, and serving glasses in the freezer to get cold. This will help keep the thick creamy consistency while blending. Chill the milk and flavorings until cold, but not necessarily frozen.
Temper the ice cream: You want the ice cream to be scoopable. If frozen hard, it is easy to add too much milk to help with the blending. Too much milk will dilute the ice cream flavor and leave the milkshake runny.
Choose quality ingredients: There aren’t many ingredients in a good milkshake, so make them the best quality you can. And opt for whole and fresh ingredients over syrups, for the best flavors.
Add milk slowly: To help avoid runny milkshakes, don’t add all of the milk at once—add part of the milk to your blender to get things started, then add a little at a time to reach your preferred consistency. For adult-only versions, skip the milk and add a splash of your favorite liqueur.
Add a signature flavor: Add a piece of your favorite pie to the blend, ormaybe some cookies or a candy bar. Be sure not to chop or crush your flavor mix-ins too small; leave them chunky since the blender will cut them down to size, too.
Make it special: Serve your milkshake in classic soda fountain glass with a long spoon or straw. Don’t forget to top it with whipped cream, a cherry, or additional cookies and candy mix-ins.