May 19, 2024

Hankering for History

Hanker: To have a strong, often restless desire, in this case for–you guessed it–history!

The History of the Milkshake

2 min read

Let's face it, those were the days...

Mmm… Even in black and white it looks yummy!

We don’t often think about the invention of everyday items. Especially when the invention in question is far less noteworthy than the overall reach of the company or inventor that created it. The milkshake–so refreshing and delicious! While I cannot find any historical or monumental quotes about the milkshake, I am sure that many would rank milkshakes right below baseball as one of America’s favorite past times. (I know I do. ­čÖé )

Think back, what movie, that took place between the 40’s – 70’s, didn’t have couples hanging out in diners sharing a milkshake?

They all did!

Let’s face it, those were the days…

But how did it come to be?

In 1922, Ivan “Pop” Coulson, a Walgreens employee, sought to improve on the company’s chocolate malt beverage. As a wizard at the soda fountain, Coulson was always mixing together concoctions. The original recipe was milk, chocolate syrup, and a spoonful of malt powder. However, with one added ingredient Coulson would shape form to a magnificently delicious beverage┬áthat would stand the test of time.

Ice cream.

Using ‘generous’ scoops of vanilla ice cream,┬ámanufactured┬áin Walgreen’s own plant, it gave the malt beverage a thick consistency and a richer taste.

Let’s face it. Who doesn’t like milkshakes?┬áEven President of the United States Barack Obama enjoys a good milkshake.

Barack Obama enjoying a milkshake in September 2008, at Ellis Pop Soda Shoppe in Abingdon, Virginia.

Milkshakes are so important in our nation’s history that it gets two unofficial national holidays. Go mark your calendars: June 20, National Vanilla Milkshake Day; and┬áSeptember 12,┬áNational Chocolate Milkshake Day.

Yes, there have been “milkshake”-like beverages that go back further than Coulson’s 1922 invention, but they aren’t today’s version of the milkshake. In 1885, British newspapers had milkshake recipes that included shots of whisky! But the rich, creamy texture of today’s milkshake is–without a doubt–attributed to Walgreens’ own Ivar Coulson.

Here is the original Walgreens recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Malted Milk:

  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

3 thoughts on “The History of the Milkshake

  1. If it helps, from my knowledge and research, the claim to fame of the modern-day milkshake lies with Louis Charles Graeter, who invented the machine to make a modern day milkshake before he passed away around the year 1919 in a trolley accident. Before he invented the machine a milkshake in the late 1800s consisted of milk, eggs, and whiskey. It was something you enjoyed not on a summer day but something you were actually given when you had a winter bug.

  2. Egg nog shows up in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s biography of her husband, Almanzo, who grew up on a farm in upper state New York, b. 1857. He took his father egg nog while working in the fields. The father said anyone could do a full days work with egg nog. It was seen as strengthening but not just for the sick, but as a part of the diet.

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