Ice Cream Milkshake Recipes

These old time ice cream milkshake recipes with their fancy names will remind you of Big Al's Diner on the old Happy Days television series. Recall those days with cold, frothy milkshakes in your favorite flavors.

The proven recipes once used by soda fountain operators call for soda syrups and all-natural flavor ingredients ensure that you will enjoy the best homemade ice cream milkshakes imaginable.

Favorite Ice Cream Milkshake Recipes

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

Couple Enjoying a Vintage Ice Cream MilkshakeEnjoy Sharing a Vintage Ice Cream Milkhake
(Source: ©everett225/

White Cow / Vanilla Milk Shake

You can easily make a traditional vanilla milk shake — known as a White Cow — by smoothly blending or shaking 3 or 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 1 tablespoonful of vanilla extract, and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of ice-cold milk, depending on the size of your container.

Brown Cow / Chocolate Milk Shake

Make a chocolate milk shake or Brown Cow by blending or shaking 3 or 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 1 teaspoonful of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of chocolate syrup, and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of ice-cold milk.

If you want a richer, more chocolatey shake, then use chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla.

Frozen Milk Shakes of Any Flavor

Simply add 1 or 2 ounces of any flavor of old time "fountain syrup" to 3 or 4 scoops of homemade ice cream and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of icy cold milk, then shake or blend till frothy.

Wild and Frosty Chocolate Drink

1-1/2 tablespoonfuls chocolate fountain syrup, 1/2 cup milk, 4 tablespoonfuls ice cream, soda water. Combine syrup, milk, and ice cream. Stir well or shake. Add soda water to fill glass.

Old Time Ice Cream Milkshake Recipes

The Dispenser's Formulary or Soda Water Guide (1915)

Girl Enjoying Her Ice Cream Milkshake at a Vintage DinerMake Milkshakes Better Than Any Diner's
(Source: ©londondeposit/

When ice cream is added to the milk or cream BEFORE shaking it, it becomes an Ice Cream Milkshake. Otherwise, it's simply known as a Milkshake.

Soda syrups having an acidic flavor were never used in an ice cream milkshake recipe, as they tend to curdle the cream.

Chocolate Ice Cream Milkshake

Into a 12-ounce glass place 1 ounce of chocolate syrup, add 8 ounces of milk and a scoopful of vanilla ice cream; stir and serve.

The author of this formula states that if chocolate syrup is not desired, the best flavors to use are pineapple, vanilla, coffee, and strawberry. Price—10 cents.

Buffalo Shake

1/2 ounce chocolate syrup, 1/2 ounce maple syrup, 1/2 tablespoonful vanilla ice cream, 1 ounce plain cream. Ice and shake.

Pour into a frappe glass, garnish with whipped cream, and a cherry, and serve with a spoon and straws. Price—10 cents.

Diplomatic Shake

2 ounces grape juice, 2 ounces sweet cream, 1 spoonful ice cream, 3 dashes bitters. Shake thoroughly, stain, pour back into shaker, and add carbonated water to fill glass; throw as in mixing egg drinks.

Serve with lacey paper napkin and place powdered nutmeg handy. Price—12 ounces, 10 cents.

Chocolate a la Arctic

Shake well together 1 ounce of chocolate syrup, 2 ounces of plain cream, 2 ounces of ice cream, and sufficient shaved ice.

Serve in 10-ounce bell glass, filling with carbonated water, fine stream. Price—10 cents.

Creme de Maple

2 ounces maple syrup, 2 ounces ice cream, 1 ounce plain cream. Mix, thoroughly, shake, then fill with milk and add a spray of mint.

A slice of orange goes well here, but such addition is at the option of the dispenser.

Dark Horse Special

Into a 10- or 12-ounce glass pour 1-1/2 ounces of good chocolate syrup; add a scoopful of chocolate ice cream and fill the glass with sweet milk to within a half-inch of the top; stir, allowing the spoon to remain in the glass.

Put in two straws and fill the glass with whipped cream, colored dark brown with caramel, smoothing the top into a conical shape.

In promoting this special, the author used placards on which were printed the words, "Try the Dark Horse Special." The placards were placed at various prominent points in the store so as to catch the eye of prospective customers.

He states that he wrote the name of this special in black ink on his menu cards; the other specials being written in red ink. Price—12 ounces, 15 cents. —Paul J. Grafe

Fruit Chocolate Shake

2 ounces chocolate syrup, 3 ounces sweet cream, 1/4 glass cracked ice. Shake, strain, then add carbonated water to fill 12-ounce glass three-quarters full, and ice cream one scoopful, dressing the mixture with sliced pears and whole cherries.

Tips for Making Ice Cream Milkshakes

Strawberry Milkshake RecipeStrawberry Ice Cream Milkshake Recipe
(Source: ©macrovector/

For the most refreshing frosty milkshakes, first chill the milk and make sure the ice cream is frozen hard before starting.

Always use quality soda syrups when called for in the old fashioned ice cream milkshake recipes, or make your own all-natural soda syrups for the freshest flavors.

Milkshakes may be made quickly in a kitchen blender, but they can also be made the old fashioned way by placing the ingredients in a sealed container and vigorously shaking it until everything is thoroughly mixed and frothy — a classic shake!

Carbonated Water

Carbonated Water (soda water) can be found for sale in the soft drink section of most food and convenience stores.

Torani Soda Syrups

Torani Soda Syrups can be easily purchased at in dozens of refreshing flavors ranging from Classic Root Beer to Watermelon.

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