Boozy Milkshakes

Maxwell's serves elevated burgers and boozy shakes.

Beat the Summer Heat with a Sweet Grown-up Treat.

By Kate Rader

Milkshakes have become a staple on many menus, a comfort-food companion evoking nostalgic memories of eating the beloved ice-creamy treats in our youth. Shakes are a perfect way to enjoy a bit of a summer treat, but what if you want to take the fun up a notch? As we have grown, so have our tastes and the multitude of flavor-filled alcohol options just ready to be paired with this beloved classic.

Restaurants and distilleries alike heard the call for these alcohol-infused delights, and while any shake shack with a liquor license can add a shot of alcohol to ice cream, others have devised their own “signature” shakes. 

After a long day of hiking, tubing, or white-water rafting, patrons stop to unwind at The White Horse Tavern Restaurant in Harpers Ferry, WV. The sports bar’s motto is “Burgers, Brews, and Bourbons,” and is known for its friendly staff, big-screen TVs, and daily happy hour specials. Manager Shani Harrison says they serve American fare including steaks, crab, burgers, and wings, which pair perfectly with a boozy shake. “A milkshake is a classic American staple,” she says. “You get your dessert and drink all in one.”

The restaurant’s chef, Sam Mumper, has learned in his 40 years of crafting American fare that the best food may seem simple, but it stands out when done right. He elevates his milkshakes with fresh sauces, like house-made strawberry simple syrup. Shani says a customer favorite is the Bailey’s Chocolate Chip shake made with chilled coffee and house-made chocolate chip cookies, but they continue to roll out new flavors.

Emmylou Decker, events manager at the Black Draft Farm & Distillery in Martinsburg, WV, attests to the lure of spiked shakes. The newly-opened facility offers tours and tastings of the handcrafted spirits they’ve been producing since 2014. Inspired by the West Virginia traditions of times past, corn and rye for the distillery’s blends are grown onsite at the 60-acre farm. 

Since the success of their initial spirit—First Harvest Moonshine—Black Draft has expanded to offer more flavors, all made with West Virginia’s famous limestone water. Their website includes recipes for cocktails made with their bourbon, rye whiskey, vodka, and Rise & Shine Coffee Moonshine. Emmylou shared a milkshake recipe made with their unique White Julep Vodka, which features a refreshing Kentucky Derby-Esque spearmint taste.

Originally a French-Creole bistro, Maxwell’s in Downtown Frederick pivoted to a more takeout-friendly concept—serving elevated burgers and milkshakes during the lockdown. The restaurant’s big windows, shiny subway tiles, and long, bench-style seating harken back to the nostalgic days of burger joints, which served ice-creamy treats to an adoring public. Manager Rachel Anderson says all the ingredients they use are locally-sourced—from their beef and buns to ice cream, toppings, and condiments. Located next door to Tenth Ward Distillery, customers can dine-in, or order online for pickup or dining at Tenth Ward.

Maxwell’s offers chef-recommended shake menu items (classic or boozy), but customers can customize and build their own concoctions as well—adding any of their five whiskeys.

While peanut butter cup or Snickers with bourbon are always popular, the restaurant offers a shake of the month, with proceeds going to area nonprofits like The Monocacy Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Woman to Woman Mentoring.


Indulge your grown-up tastes with these alcohol-infused milkshakes.

Special thanks to Maxwell’s and Black Draft Distillery for sharing their recipes!

White Julep Minty Milkshake at Black Draft Farm & Distillery in Martinsburg, WV.
White Julep Minty Milkshake at Black Draft Farm & Distillery in Martinsburg, WV.

Black Draft Distillery White Julep Minty Milkshake


3 scoops Vanilla bean ice cream

2 oz. Black Draft White Julep Vodka

½ oz. Crème de Menthe

Whipped cream

Chocolate syrup

Pint glass

Blend vanilla bean ice cream and Black Draft White Julep Vodka in a blender until smooth. Layer Creme De Menthe in the bottom of a pint glass and add blended shake. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Add mint leaves for garnish.

Maxwell’s Caramel Mocha Boozy Milkshake 


3 scoops Vanilla ice cream

1-1/2 oz. Benchmark Bourbon (or substitute bourbon or whiskey of your choice)

Caramel syrup

Chocolate syrup

1/2 oz. Coffee extract

Whipped cream

Caramel & chocolate syrup drizzle

Pirouette cream filled rolled wafer

Pocky Chocolate Cream Covered Biscuit Stick

Pint glass

Blend vanilla ice cream, bourbon, one squirt of caramel syrup, one squirt of chocolate syrup, and coffee extract in a blender until smooth. Pour blended shake into a pint glass. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel and chocolate syrups. Add Pocky stick and Pirouette rolled wafer for garnish.


Boozy Peanut Butter Cup Boozy Milkshake at Maxwell's in Frederick, Md.
Boozy Peanut Butter Cup Boozy Milkshake at Maxwell’s in Frederick, Md. Photo by Kate Rader.

Maxwell’s Peanut Butter Cup Boozy Milkshake


3 scoops Vanilla ice cream

1-1/2 oz. Benchmark Bourbon (or substitute bourbon or whiskey of your choice)

1 oz. Peanut butter sauce 

2 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, crushed

Chocolate syrup drizzle

Whipped cream

Two Nutter Butter cookies

Pocky Chocolate Cream Covered Biscuit Stick

Blend vanilla ice cream, bourbon, and peanut butter sauce in a blender until smooth. Add Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and blend to incorporate. Pour shake mixture into a pint glass. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Add Pocky Stick and Nutter Butter cookies for garnish.

A Few Fun Facts about Milkshakes

Milkshakes were invented in 1885 and were first served with whiskey.

In 1922, the blender was created specifically for creating milkshakes.

In 1963, the CIA unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Fidel Castro with a poisoned chocolate milkshake.

The world’s largest milkshake was 6,000 gallons, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The country that consumes the most ice cream is the USA, followed by Australia then Norway.

It takes 12 pounds of milk to produce just 1 gallon of ice cream.

While every region has its own variation, the first-recorded flavor seems to be Alexander the Great’s ice concoction mixed with honey and nectar.

“Cream Ice,” as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century.

Tips for the Perfect Shake

Higher density ice cream and whole milk make a more flavorful, thicker shake.

The perfect ratio is 1-1/2 cups of ice cream to 1/2 cup of liquid if you like a thicker shake, and 3/4 cup of liquid if you like a thinner shake. 

Your shake should cling to a spoon at the right thickness. If it’s too thick, add a little milk; if it’s too thin, add a little more ice cream.

While many people use a home blender, the best way to blend a shake is with a milkshake mixer, because it churns and aerates your milkshake at the same time. If you don’t have a professional mixer, opt for an immersion blender, which gives the user more control and can handle thicker shakes and mix-ins better than a regular blender. 

If you must use a regular blender, alternate between pulsing the blender and hand mixing with a spoon.

Dip the glass you plan to use for your milkshake in water and pre-chill it in the freezer. It will be nice and frosty when you’re ready to serve your shake.

Never, ever add ice to a milkshake. It will dilute the flavor and creaminess.

Always serve with a spoon and a straw.

Content ©WiYNN 2022. All rights reserved.

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