"If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I'll end up drinking your milkshake."
Disgraced New Mexico Senator Albert Fall uttered that line during congressional hearings about the Teapot Dome scandal in 1924 — and to be truthful, he was explaining the concept of oil field drainage. But his analogy was immortalized in Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 film, There Will Be Blood, and the lines have been seared in my brain forever since.
I love milkshakes. Especially alcoholic milkshakes, which, these days, are available in eateries and bars all around Memphis. I've gotten boozy on classic milkshakes at the Arcade Restaurant Downtown, and on 1,000-calorie S'mores- and Nutella-flavored concoctions at newer joints like Railgarten and Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Overton Square. And this Labor Day weekend, I'll be celebrating the unofficial end of summer by using my trusty Waring blender to whip up my own.
There is no secret to making a good milkshake. Sure, you want to start with quality ingredients, but beyond that, you really can't go wrong. Use a few scoops of ice cream per person, pour in a little milk and a few jiggers of liquor, and blend. Add in your "extras" — chopped candy bars, fruit, or syrup, and blend again. Pour into a tall glass, add a straw, and sip. If you want to get fancy, rim your drinking glasses beforehand with sugar, chocolate, or caramel syrup.
Most spiked milkshakes call for bourbon. On the website The Daily Meal, I found a recipe for Grandma's Treat, a caramel and vanilla ice cream shake that includes an ounce of Maker's Mark and a Skor candy bar garnish. On the same site, there's also the deliciously sweet-and-salty Crunch Cassidy, a combination of dulce de leche ice cream, coffee ice cream, bourbon, and salted pretzel sticks.
In Saveur magazine, I found the Peanut Butter Bourbon Milkshake, which calls for 2 ounces bourbon, ½ ounce maple syrup, ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter, one cup of vanilla ice cream, and one cup of ice cubes.
Bourbon isn't really my jam, but it goes down smooth in a frothy shake.
If rum's your liquor of choice, try on the Sailor Jerry Simple Hard Milkshake for size. Just combine two parts spiced rum, two parts milk, one scoop of chocolate ice cream, and a handful of M&M's. Blend it with a few pieces of ice, until its consistency is smooth and rich. Or swap out the chocolate ice cream for butter pecan and trade the candies for salted pecans. Add a little caramel sauce, and voila! You've got a Salted Rum Praline Milkshake.
Equally decadent: The vodka-based Boozy Strawberry Milkshake recipe I found at Shake Drink Repeat. While the original recipe calls for cake vodka (who knew that such a thing existed?), I used plain vodka and it tasted delicious. Honestly, after adding in vanilla ice cream, milk, frozen strawberries, and two cups of diced angel food cake, I couldn't have told you what flavor of vodka I started with.
I also adore the White Russian Milkshake, also known as the Lebowski. This drink, found on Chowhound, eschews the milk entirely — just combine vodka, Kahlua, vanilla ice cream, and instant espresso powder. It evokes, of course, another cocktail-friendly movie, 1998's The Big Lebowski.
The creamy flavor of Baileys Irish cream also makes the perfect foundation for a great milkshake. On a blogpost by the Chunky Chef, I found the Boozy Baileys Oreo Milkshake, which has superseded all challengers to become my all-time favorite. This drink calls for vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies, Baileys, and vanilla vodka. Make it extra-fancy by rimming your drinking glass with chocolate syrup and jimmies before you blend your shake.