5 Better-Than-Vanilla Milkshakes

Posted by Holly Whitfield | May 23rd 2013 6030 0

Ed. note: In honor of today's super nice weather and my own desire for some kind of frozen treat, here's one from the archives: five of my favorite Memphis milkshakes. Enjoy!

These are by no means the only good milkshakes in Memphis. There are others (like these) that are equally delicious. What I like about these five, though, is that they transcend the usual vanilla-chocolate-strawberry shake shtick.

Here are my five favorite Memphis milkshakes:

1. Purple Cow Shake from Dixie Queen (Several locations, but I like the one on Mount Moriah)

Purple Cow shake, Dixie Queen, Memphis, Tenn.

When I ordered the purple cow shake at Dixie Queen, I wasn't entirely sure what was in it. After my first sip, I didn't care. A purple cow is basically a grape milkshake, typically made with grape juice and vanilla ice cream. The result is a creamy, lavender colored drink with a subtle grape flavor. The purple cow is a polarizing choice – like tapioca pudding, you either like it or you don't – but the one at Dixie Queen is an excellent way to find out which side you're on.

2. Mint chocolate chip shake from Cafe Eclectic (603 N. McLean)

Mint chocolate shake, Cafe Eclectic, Memphis, Tenn.

Cafe Eclectic's mint chocolate shake is basically mint chocolate chip ice cream that you can drink through a straw. It's green, it's got decent-sized chocolate flakes in it, and it comes topped with a lot of whipped cream. This one's good for the super hot, sticky days – it's not super thick and the mint makes it seem just a tiny bit more refreshing than a normal shake.

3. Honey pecan shake from Trolley Stop Market (704 Madison Ave.)

Trolley Stop Market's honey pecan shake takes a basic vanilla shake and sends it to charm school. It's made from organic, locally-sourced Rock Springs Dairy Milk, Wolf River honey, vanilla ice cream and local pecans. At nearly $6, it's the most expensive shake on the list, but it's definitely worth trying.

4. Black cherry shake from Sweden Kream (1472 National)

Chocolate cherry shake, Sweden Kream, Memphis, Tenn.

The award for Best Use of Maraschino Cherries In a Drink Ever (non-alcoholic division) would have to go to the chocolate cherry shake from Sweden Kream in North Memphis. The tiny, old school snack shack makes them so thick that they crawl out of your straw, and there are little chunks of cherry blended in.

5. Pineapple shake (really, any flavor of shake) from Shanghai (1400 Poplar Ave.)

Shake face, Memphis, Tenn.

Yes, that's a picture of me double-fisting pineapple shakes from Shanghai, and no, I'm not ashamed.

Shakes from Shanghai don't quite count as milkshakes – they're all made from fruit and little closer to the consistency of smoothies – but they're some of the best shakes in Memphis. They take fresh fruit and ice and (I think) some condensed milk and blend it into a medium-thick pulpy goodness. A note: the menu lists that they've got about 10 flavors ranging from strawberry to avocado, but on any given day, they only really have one or two (either ask or take a look at the refrigerator behind the counter – whatever fruit is in there is what they have).

What are your favorites?

Show Comments


  1. gary w gardo says:

    yep, the avocado shake from Shanghai is the way to go!!!!!!!!!

  2. snarky says:

    From the looks of the photo, you couldn't weigh more than 90 lbs and that's including the arm-load of shakes.  And day after day you mention eating at every buffet, monster sandwich and pulled-pork place in town, then heading out to the nearest bar for cocktails and sweet potato fries.  I gained 10 lbs just reading your blog.  What's the secret?

  3. Allie says:

    It's not on the menu anymore, but the Tennessee Bulldog at Local is the best boozy shake-like drink around. Kahlua, vanilla vodka, and a splash of Jack Daniels, cream and cola. They'll still make it if you ask though!

  4. Lindsey says:

    Toffee crunch or pistachio almond shakes at the beauty shop restaurant r the shizzzzzyy!!

  5. I need to try that honey pecan shake! And the black cherry one.

  6. Art says:

    It’s March 2018 & we just hit up Cafe Electric. Good choice!

  7. David says:

    That all sounds great but when you’re allergic to High Fructose Corn Syrup, you have to be careful where you eat, or drink your sweets. Not to mention I’ve never met an employee who knows the ingredients of a shake unless it’s an actual 3 three ingredient shake. But the sad fact is, most come from bags or boxes or whatever else. Wish I could have these. There’s a place close to me called Farm Foul who has 3 ingredient Shakes, but they also only have 3 flavors so, yay for me. Anyways, love your stuff.

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