Sunflowers Hello September

September has arrived with a gentle breeze and lower temps in the 70s.

For many, September signals the end of summer. I’m still clinging to the knowledge that summer doesn’t end until it ends, no matter the date on the calendar or the number of pumpkin spice lattes sold.

Some September days will tease us into thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, that as we grasp the last vestiges of long, lazy hours of swimming, kayaking, and outdoor grilling, summer will forget to leave.

To some people, September brings the idea of hot chocolate, cozy comforters, and stews.

I am still looking forward to thick, rich milkshakes, so it’s a lucky day to have Sunday, September 12, as National Chocolate Milkshake Day!

It’s such a shame that it’s overshadowed by pumpkin spice everything!

When I was a little girl, milkshakes were an extra special treat. Howard’s Liggett Rexall Drugstore on Main Street in Farmington, Maine, had a lunch counter to order a light lunch and ice cream. After work on a Saturday afternoon, Mom would ask if I’d like to get a milkshake every once in a while. Of course, the answer was always yes, and off we would go!

At the counter, puffy, stationary cushions topped tall chrome stools.

Everything always seemed to be sparkling, including, I am sure, my eyes as I clamored up and wiggled my way into a comfy position. The server would lean in as I shyly asked for a grilled cheese sandwich. Do you dip yours in ketchup? I do! And I eat the pickle first!

For dessert, may I please have a milkshake? It may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t one to speak up and was cautious of those who seemed to have charge of the world, especially those in charge of milkshakes.

Photo by Rirri on Unsplash

I always chose a malted coffee or chocolate milkshake. If you’re interested in the original Chocolate Malted Milkshake Recipe follow this link.

On our trips to Watertown, MA to see my grandmother mom and I would walk the few blocks to catch the train to the local Woolworth Department Store to get a milkshake at their famous lunch counter. Their grilled cheese sandwiches were a traditional treat, as well, along with the side of dill pickles.

I’m still as impatient now as I was then waiting for the blender to finish blending the milk and ice cream into creamy, frothy deliciousness. The server then poured into a tall glass, topped with whipped cream and a cherry! As I knew it would be mine, too, I loved seeing what remained in the mixing container. Sometimes, if I were lucky, there would be a bunch more! The server set my shake before me as I eyed the icy coating on the outside of the chrome. As the iciness melted, droplets would run down the side and pool on the counter as I daydreamed my way through decadence and extravagance!

Milkshakes were initially served in bars and included whiskey as an ingredient and no ice cream. I’m mighty grateful someone eventually thought to leave out the whiskey. Ivar Coulson, a server at Walgreen’s, first added 2 scoops of ice cream malted milkshakes in 1922 and sold them at Walgreen’s. I wish I could give him a great big thank you! Malted milkshakes became so popular soda fountains soon became known as “malt shops”!

The original Walgreen’s milkshake:

  1. Use a Frosted Malt Can
  2. 1 1/2 oz. Chocolate Syrup
  3. 3 – #16 Dips of Vanilla Ice Cream
  4. 5 1/2 oz. of Cold Milk
  5. Add Malt Powder (One Heaping Tablespoonful)
  6. Place On Mixer Only Until Mixed – Do Not Over Mix
  7. Use a Generous Portion of Whipped Topping In A #1808 – 10 oz. Glass
  8. Pour Malted Milk in Glass Approximately 2/3 Full
  9. Serve Remainder Of Malted In A Shaker Along With The Glass To The Guest With Straws and Package of Fountain Treat Cookies

Not everyone was a fan of “malt” in their milkshakes. By the 1930s, “no malt” milkshake was referred to as “frosted”. It’s difficult to get an original “milkshake” of just blended milk and syrup anywhere as now everyone adds ice cream and all kinds of other ingredients. One of our family’s favorite places for milkshakes is in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Chez Yvonne is an unassuming dining experience that is sure to become your family favorite as well when you visit this charming island of Canada.

Mom hailed from a Boston upbringing and so we always referred to a milkshake as a “frappe” even though we lived in Maine. New England had other regional names for a milkshake. Rhode Island referred to these icy confections as “cabinets” – a nod to the freezer cabinet in which the ice cream was kept.

Milkshakes are delicious nearly always but I think the very creamiest best are made in vintage Hamilton Beach drink blenders. 

Today’s basic milkshake is a sweet frozen drink made by blending milk, ice cream, and a flavoring such as vanilla, strawberry, or coffee. 

Hershey's Chocolate Milkshake

Howard’s lunch counter has been gone many years, but there’s a new place outside of town on the Wilton Rd, The Ice Cream Shoppe of Farmington, where you can get a decadent chocolate milkshake of your own!