Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! In case you’ve been living under a shamrock and didn’t hear, McDonald’s has reinvented the way guests drink their seasonal favorite McCafe beverage, the Chocolate Shamrock Shake. This ‘utterly frivolous’ reinvention is by way of a J-shaped STRAW, the Suction Tube Reverse Axial Withdrawl which provides optimal flavor flow dynamics.
While all these big words sound really cool, combined with the fact that McDonald’s partnered with two very real engineering labs on both coasts – San Francisco based JACE Design and NK Labs, LLC from Cambridge, Massachusetts – to deliver the ideal flavor ratio of 50% chocolate and 50% mint in each sip, does the STRAW actually work? The nerd in me needed to answer this question… for SCIENCE!
I’ve never tried a Shamrock Shake of any kind before, let alone a chocolate one. (Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of chocolate.) Before this experiment, I only knew two things about the Shamrock Shake; 1) From what I’ve heard, it’s kind of like the McDonald’s beverage equivalent of the McRib; rare, seasonal and delicious. 2) McDonald’s donates money from every Shamrock Shake purchase to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and have done since 1974 (that’s when the first Ronald McDonald House opened).
Even more limited than their Big Mac secret sauce giveaway in January, McDonald’s had only 2,000 STRAWs produced and distributed for the current Shamrock Shake season. Of this limited run, only 10 were given away here in Central Florida by random Twitter drawing. By some intergalactic act of luck, my tweet was chosen and I was sent a STRAW device!
McDonald’s Central Florida also sent me a coupon for a free small Chocolate Shamrock Shake which, for the purposes of this experiment, I upgraded myself to a large to make this STRAW test interesting. Time to get down to business…
Test #1: Traditional, old school McDonald’s straw
I’ll bet I can guess what you remember the most about drinking a McDonald’s milkshake, and it’s probably the same memory as mine. All the way back to elementary school I can remember trying to drink a McDonald’s milkshake, and by trying I mean creating an unsuccessful, cheek pinched vacuum between your mouth, the straw, and the milkshake.
In vain I tried to suck even the tiniest bit of milkshake through the traditional straw seen above to no avail! Was it gravity? Was it too cold? I don’t know but NOTHING worked outside of a spoon or letting the shake melt a little before attempting to drink. Their shakes were so thick! Oh, and spoons were/are for weenies.
Calling upon these childhood memories whilst unwrapping said traditional straw, I treaded lightly sipping carefully as to not look like this before getting to Test #2. Call it cheek preservation.
Result: Drinking through a traditional straw not as challenging as I remember it once being, but thickness was a still a bit of a challenge when sipping. On to the STRAW…
Test #2: Re-engineered McDonald’s STRAW device
By the way, I call it a ‘device’ because it sounds fancy. The STRAW is made of a stronger, grey plastic than its traditional counterpart. One problem I immediately noticed: Would the STRAW fit into the McCafe cup?
Answer: YES! Through some small en’jen’eering of my own, I made it work! In truth, it really wasn’t difficult. I just pinched the ‘J’ and was good to go.
Results: So, how did the STRAW test? Surprisingly well! There really is something to this Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawl thing! Versus a traditional straw – and putting my cheeks through minty, slightly painful frustration – I could actually sip on my Shamrock Shake with the STRAW. Freshly made or not, it took ‘the work’ out of enjoying a thick shake!
Top 5 Findings:
- 1) What started out as ‘(ridiculous) revolutionary tech’ is actually quite handy!
- 2) My cheeks are VERY thankful.
- 3) Question: What happens when mix-ins are added? Do they conform to the space then clog the STRAW, fall out the bottom, or do they go up at all? Perhaps I’m overthinking this…
- 4) My first ever Chocolate Shamrock Shake was enjoyable despite my dislike of chocolate in general. The 50/50 ratio worked for me. Not too chocolatey, no unexpected Altoids-like winter blast of mint.
- 5) The STRAW was also surprisingly easy to clean! I wasn’t sure with all that whipped cream in play.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) March 17, 2017
So, how can you find a STRAW of your own and give this chocominty experiment a try at your local McDonald’s? I don’t know. (Honest answer.) What I do know is you can get a Chocolate Shamrock Shake RIGHT NOW, on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond! And bonus! McDonald’s has three more mint and chocolate flavored McCafé beverages you can try for a limited time:
- – Chocolate Shamrock Shake: Vanilla soft serve and chocolate flavored syrup under the original mint flavored Shamrock Shake. Top it off with green sprinkles, whipped topping, and a cherry and it’s a match made in Shamrock heaven.
- – Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappé: Made with an indulgent blend of chocolate chips and a hint of coffee, topped with green sprinkles, whipped topping, and tantalizing chocolaty drizzle.
- – Shamrock Mocha: McDonald’s classic Hot Mocha just got minty. Made with sustainably sourced espresso beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, steamed whole or nonfat milk, mint and mocha flavored syrup, and topped with whipped topping and delicious chocolaty drizzle.
- – Shamrock Hot Chocolate: McDonald’s delicious Hot Chocolate now with cool mint flavor. Made with steamed whole or nonfat milk, mint and mocha flavored syrup, and topped with whipped topping and chocolaty drizzle.
A big thanks to McDonald’s and McDonald’s Central Florida for sending me a STRAW & shake, and humoring me with this goofy post… for SCIENCE!