Milkshakes are true American classics — chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry have the power to transport us back to diner days or hot summer afternoons. But creative, more decadent variations prove that milkshake makeovers can be just as satisfying. Whether they choose classic or novel versions, Americans have been indulging in milkshakes for more than a century, often breaking diets, but always satisfying cravings.
The milkshake’s origins can be traced back to the late 19th century, when an 1885 newspaper described the milkshake as a sturdy drink with milk, whiskey, eggs, sugar, and ice.
It wasn’t until 1922 when a Walgreens employee in Chicago, Ivar “Pop” Coulson, took an old-fashioned malted milk and added scoops of ice cream. This new creation boomed in popularity nationwide throughout the 1930s, and milkshakes became staples at malt shops.
Today, the restaurants, diners, and ice cream parlors on this list are serving the best milkshakes around. When deciding which milkshakes to include, we took into consideration the quality of the ice cream (made in-house was a plus in our books), the variety of flavors offered (who could say no to the Speculoos shake at Edzo’s Burger Shop?), and the history of the institution that serves them.
Unfortunately, Americans’ retro love for milkshakes is often overshadowed by creative adult drink options. That’s why places like Lunchbox Laboratory offer boozy shakes, served with a test tube of alcohol to appeal to the kid and grown-up in all of us.
But beyond all of our criteria, the milkshakes had to be blended to creamy perfection in order to join the ranks of some others we’ve loved. So if you’re traveling this summer or just need a suggestion for a shake nearby, we hope we can guide you toward a delicious, irresistible milkshake to cool you down.
1. Franklin Fountain, Philadelphia
With decorative tin walls and ceilings and the building’s original porcelain mosaic tile floor, Franklin Fountain shows no signs that before its opening in 2004, the turn-of-the-century building had been a shop called Eroticakes selling evocative lollipops and baked goods.
Today, the Berley brothers have turned it into an old-fashioned soda shop. Named for Benjamin Franklin who began his adult life just blocks away, the shop aims to exhibit “forgotten flavors of the American past,” according to its website.
Homemade Franklin Ice Cream was first served in 2006, and the shop has come a long way since the original Philadelphia vanilla bean flavor, offering 21 flavors every day like cherry vanilla, teaberry gum, and green tea, as well as seasonal sorbets, sugar-free flavors, non-dairy ice creams, and featured flavors. Any flavor can be made into a shake, like the Franklin mint chip shown here. A true example of American history and small business, The Franklin Fountain’s homemade ice cream makes their shakes extra tasty.
Shake to Try: Franklin Mint Chip
2. Fenton’s Creamery, Oakland, Calif.
A creamery that has been around for 119 years sure knows how to keep its customers thirsty for more. That’s definitely the case at Fenton’s. Focusing on tradition and quality, the Fenton family wants to provide its customers with only the best ice cream and shakes. There are more than 30 “fabulous flavors” like banana nut and mocha almond fudge and occasional seasonal flavors like apple pie and eggnog. With shakes like these, it’s no surprise customers have been coming back for generations.
Shake to Try: Eggnog
Read More: usatoday.com