As all those craggy gray snow piles melt and robins start to flit among budding branches, another harbinger of spring arrives: the signature Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. The shake comes around once a year around St. Patrick’s Day — and is now available at all McD's locations instead of a select few — but there’s no reason to wait in the drive-through line to get your fix. With only a few ingredients (and a dash of green tint), you can blend up a cool shake that tastes just like the real thing in your own kitchen.
Or, if your tastes lean toward more toward the healthy side of the spectrum, you could whip up a mint-tinged smoothie inspired by the seasonal favorite. Our creamy, sweet shamrock smoothie gets its verdant hue from spinach and fresh mint — add a dash of natural mint extract if you want to amp up the flavor further.
Bonus: Both versions have far fewer calories than a small McDonald's Shamrock Shake, which clocks in at 530 calories for 12 ounces — subtract 200 to 300 calories for our shake (depending on what kind of ice cream and milk you use) and take off more than 300 for the smoothie. Whether you choose the shake or the smoothie, you'll have a green treat will give you the refreshing rush you crave, so why not have one for breakfast and one for dessert?
This article was originally published on March 17, 2015.