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Frozen Dessert Industry Trend: Adult Frozen Shakes

Posted by Slices Concession on

asian bartender making adult milkshake for customer behind wooden bar with slices concession logo

Who ever said ice cream & milkshakes were supposed to be childhood memories only? Adults love ice cream too, ya know. And with the summer time being so hot in so many places around the world, serve up this boozy adult shake to refresh your customers!

What is an Adult Milkshake?

Adult shakes got their start in in 1885 with ingredients being simple as whiskey & eggs. Adult drinks are prepared by combining the sweet childhood creaminess of milkshakes with a grown up's exquisite touch of alcohol in these drinks. Sometimes you might find your drink being made with vodka, liquors (like Jim Bean & bourbon) or simple dessert liquors (like bailey's Irish cream or kahlua).

Why Should I Make Adult Milkshakes For My Customers?

There are many reasons for why you should add adult shakes to your menu:

1) It's A Unique Item

vanilla coffee vodka milkshake

For one, they're a unique item. Not many venues serve adult milkshakes which could help set you apart from your competitors, especially before the trend picks up and becomes popular. It's good to get yourself on the ship before it sails.

2) Easy & Quick To Serve With A Low Cost

vanilla strawberry Milkshake in red white and blue to celebrate inauguration

This type of item is very easy & quick to serve with a low food cost. It takes a maximum of 5 minutes to scoop out ice cream, add milk & alcohol to this drink & mix it up in a machine. Our commercial grade machines make it so that you can pour all of the ingredients into the hopper (which is a reservoir of product mix) and there is a freezing barrel which holds a good amount of finished product ready to serve at a moment's notice.

Whenever you serve the product, the machine turns on and replenishes the barrel so you constantly have fresh product ready to serve.  In terms of costs, assuming you keep the alcoholic milkshake recipe simple with quality ingredients you're looking at a food cost of $0.80 to $1.20 which you can sell this item for an upwards of $6 to $7.

3) Great Conversational/Advertising Item

Salted Caramel Milkshake made with bourbon

It's a great conversational & advertising piece. Since not many venues offer this kind of item it's great to spark conversations with your customer base: "Did you know that we offer adult frozen shakes? Come to our store & find out what everyone's been talking about". Adults lead very stressful lives and sometimes after work they either like to sit down on the couch with some ice cream and watch T.V. or go out for drinks with coworkers & friends.

If you're offering adult milkshakes, you are essentially offering them a very special item that combines the comforts of their favorite ice cream flavors with the socializing that comes from grabbing a drink with those who are close to them. Who could say no to that? 

4) Great Addition To Your Brunch Menu

chilled butter pecan Rum Milkshake

These desserts complement your brunch menu items. It's typical for people to want a cocktail somewhere around lunch time but sometimes a fully alcoholic cocktail can be too much for the palate, which is why it's great to offer adult milkshakes which are a good midpoint between cocktail, dessert, & drink. 

5) Unique Flavor Pairing

vanilla Coconut shake made with captain morgan Rum Milkshake with sprinkles on top

These milkshakes allow for a unique pairing of tastes that you can't do with other desserts. For example: when someone orders a margarita or frozen lemonade they expect one or two distinct flavors maximum. If you add another flavor into the mix the drink loses its taste. With adult milkshakes since you have alcohol mixed in with ice cream, the flavors you can add & the intensity of each flavor is up to you (to the delight of your customers). Since ice cream & alcohol are such opposites, you're welcome to add anything in between to compliment those flavors & even enhance them.

adult frozen chocolate chip mint milkshake with slices concession logo cut into slices

    What Do I Need To Make Adult Milkshakes?

    1) Ingredients

    The beauty of this drink is that you can use any ingredients that you want. Is there a particular ice cream flavor your customers love? Maybe there's a special celebration in your town and you want to put an exotic twist on a local favorite to drive more happy customers into your venue?

    Whatever the case may be, we'll still give you a basic outline for your adult milkshake recipe and from there we encourage you to experiment & explore:

        • 2 scoops of ice cream (per cup)
        • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk (the whole milk's fat gives the shake a creamy texture)
        • 1 shot of alcohol per cup (if you're adding different types of alcohol don't add more than a total of 1 shot)

    *If you prefer to serve a milkshake that is iceier, introduce 1/2 cup of crushed ice to the mix


     Alcohol That Adds Extra Flavor

    We recommend you try adding a liqueur instead of a plain liquor for these types of treats. Since liqueurs tend to be sweeter & made with herbs, spices, & fruits they would make a great complement for the ice cream in the milkshake:

                      • Almond Amaretto
                      • Coconut rum
                      • Chocolate vodka
                      • Orangey Grand Marnier
                      • Fruity Brandies
                      • Coffee Kahlua
                      • Crème de menthe/banane 
                      • Hazelnut Frangelico
                      • Sweet irish crème


    What toppings & other things can I add to shake things up at my shop?

    ice cream toppings such as sprinkles m&ms reese's pieces marshmallows cookies nuts almonds peanuts in glass jars

    If you're like us, you love to keep making fresh new flavors for your customers. Small changes to your core alcoholic milkshake recipe can make a huge difference in spicing up a drink for your customers. One thing you could do is instead of adding two scoops of ice cream to your drink, you can make it more tropical by adding two scoops of a fruit purée or a sorbet. 

    For the holidays you can spice up a vanilla shake with some peppermint, chocolate shaving & even candy canes. Another thing you might add into your shakes are berries or freshly picked local fruits, crumbled cookies, marshmallows, & other candy (like gummy bears, sour patch kids, etc.).


    2) Machines

    Ingredients to make this exquisite drink are many but to make something of truly high quality, the equipment that you use is crucial to success. That's why we strongly suggest you invest in a name brand quality soft serve ice cream machine.


    Our Highest Recommendations

    Though we offer a wide variety of soft serve ice cream machines, we recommend our most popular machines which are:



    taylor 142 Lil' Softy Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt Machine

    Taylor 142 Lil' Softy

    The Lil' softy is a table top model & is designed for low volume sales venues such as restaurants, flea markets, etc. it has one freezing cylinder capable of holding 1.4 liters of product & a hopper capable of holding 7.6 liters of product mix.

    taylor 161

    Taylor 161

    The Taylor 161 is a counter top model & is designed for medium sales volume venues and it is made with two (1.4 liter) freezing cylinders and two (7.6 liter capacity) mix hoppers.

    Electro Freeze


    Electro Freeze CS1, CS4, CS5, & CS10

     The electro freeze CS machine line are designed to rest on a counter & their production is low volume with a hopper that holds 9.5 liters and a freezing cylinder that holds 0.85 liters of frozen product.

    Electro Freeze SL500

    The SL500 is designed as stand alone or floor model machine which produces a high volume amount for venues such as frozen yogurt shops, ice cream parlors, etc. This machines is equipped with two 3.5 liter freezing cylinders and two hoppers with a 15 liter capacity per hopper.


    Stoelting F131

    The F131 is designed as a counter/table top for low to medium volume sales in which it has a production capacity of 60.6 liters per hour (16 gallons).

    Stoelting F231

    The f231 is a stand alone or floor model designed by stoelting company to produce a low to medium volume product mix in which it has an output capacity of about 45.5 liters (12 gallons) per hour.


     * Follow all local and national health codes. Always refer to local and national rules. This article is just a suggestion.



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