As milkshakes go, the chocolate variety just might be the elder statesman of the category. Sweet, smooth and rich in varying degrees, chocolate shakes can be the perfect singular indulgence or a decadent complement to its old pals, the cheeseburger and fries. Capped with a flourish of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, the chocolate milkshake doesn’t really need any competing flavors. Yet it frequently does double-duty as the base for some delightful milkshake combos (chocolate-covered strawberry, anyone?).
Professional food stylist and culinary expert Teresa Blackburn has her own ideas about what makes the ideal chocolate shake.
“Use a good chocolate ice cream to make your shake, and chocolate milk will make it even yummier,” she says. “I really like a chocolate malt milkshake, so I start with a good chocolate ice cream, add chocolate milk and then a few teaspoons of malt powder. If that isn’t over-the-top enough, toss in a tablespoon or two of finely chopped dark chocolate - this is the ultimate in chocolate shakes.”
While Teresa’s method sounds pretty irresistible, there are plenty of different versions to explore throughout the U.S. So, celebrate the holiday with the best, and get ready to order up.
Franklin Fountain, Philadelphia, PA
Franklin’s quaint soda shop atmosphere is certainly charming enough to suggest the perfect old-fashioned treat. Fortunately, Franklin Fountain really delivers, thanks to its understanding of a simple shake-making fundamental: the milk-to-ice cream ratio. Not too thick, not too thin. Best of all, the key ingredient, Franklin Fountain’s house-made chocolate ice cream, is crafted with rich, dark Dutch cocoa.
Chloe’s Corner, Scottsdale, AZ
Some milkshake lovers divide their affection equally between chocolate and vanilla, making it difficult commit to either one when it comes time to order. Chloe’s chocolate shake is the perfect happy-medium. Chocolate syrup, blended into creamy vanilla ice cream delivers the best of both worlds. With a shake like this, there’s no need to choose sides.
Eastside Big Tom Drive Inn, Olympia, WA
Big Tom’s beloved chocolate milkshake falls squarely in the “thick” category. If you’re looking for a soupy shake, Big Tom’s may not be the place for you, but if you’re craving a cold, chocolaty treat that can support a straw with no help, Big Tom can fix you right up.
Burger & Beer Joint, Miami, FL
Chocolate milkshakes, despite assumptions, aren’t automatically good. Sometimes they’re so sweet, you end up with that “sugar burn” in the back of your throat. That’s not an issue at Burger & Beer Joint, where the chocolate shake is creamy, thick and just sweet enough. They’ll even whirl it up with a splash of your favorite liquor if you ask nicely (and are at least 21, naturally).
Elliston Place Soda Shop, Nashville, TN
In Nashville, Tenn., you'd be hard pressed to find a drink more "local" than a chocolate shake at Elliston Place Soda Shop, Music City's oldest continuously operating restaurant in the same location, which gets its ice cream and milk from locally based Purity Dairies. Along with a tall, old-fashioned glass of chocolatety goodness, you'll also get a frosty, stainless steel malt cup to top it off at least once.
Mickies Dairy Bar, Madison, WI
It’s only fitting that an exemplary chocolate shake would emerge from the dairy wonderland that is Wisconsin. This downhome diner boasts a menu packed with savory items just begging to be washed down with one of its classic chocolate shakes served up the way it should be in the quart-size metal mixing cup.