After this amount of snowfall, you’re probably not interested in hearing about anything else frosty heading your way. But before you run for your shovels, know this one comes with a straw. Yes, McDonald’s has brought back the brightly colored green Shamrock Shake! Which also means March, and warmer weather, is drawing nearer.
Much like the beloved McRib, devoted fans often look forward to the return of this seasonal drink, which stays on menus until a week after St. Patrick’s Day. The shake — low-fat vanilla ice cream and mint flavoring — leaves more of a legacy than just a green tongue. It was first introduced in 1970 as the “St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake.”
Some of us might remember seeing commercials in the late ’70s when the shake was touted by O’Grimacey, a big, green, amorphous Golden Arches mascot who sported an Irish accent and visited his nephew in McDonaldland every year for St. Paddy’s Day.
Obviously that name wasn’t catchy enough and was scrapped years later for the more alliterative Shamrock Shake. But the beginnings of the Shamrock Shake are a bigger part of McDonald’s history than you might know.
In 1974, after years of watching his 3-year-old daughter undergo treatment for leukemia and effectively living at St. Christopher’s Hospital For Children, Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill thought there should be a better way. He reached out to the community to raise money for families that couldn’t afford hotel rooms while their sick children were being treated. The Eagles’ GM connected with a local McDonald’s ad agency and the restaurant’s regional manager, and together they created the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake promotion
It was perfect: The milkshakes were green – the Eagles’ color! With the support of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc and regional manager Ed Rensi, Tuckerman launched a week-long promotion around the Shamrock Shake, with all profits to be donated to the cause.
Proceeds from the seasonal promotion sales went to purchase a four-story, seven-bedroom house Evans had found near the hospital in Philadelphia, a “home away from home” for families dealing with a sick child.
This became the very first Ronald McDonald House.
Now that’s a reason to celebrate the return of the Shamrock Shake!