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Alcoholic milkshakes will always be associated with one place in my mind: DC’s The Diner. Located in the part of town where one goes when they feel like making poor decisions on the weekends, you only end up at The Diner when it’s closing in on 3 AM and most of the city’s other food options have shuttered for the night. Sobriety certainly didn’t bring you there, and it’s not going to carry you out, either. As you struggle through a drunken haze to get settled in their rickety booths, you spy on the menu what, in the moment, seems like the greatest idea ever: milkshakes spiked with booze. You naturally order one with an extra shot on the side right before last call strikes.
Although I don’t live in DC anymore and my days of ending up hunched over dimly lit Formica tables are mostly behind me, I still can’t help but think of the good ol’ times whenever I pull out my blender. And every now and then I still like to push things a little over the edge by slipping a bit of bourbon into my vanilla bean shake, albeit with a more watchful eye toward my morning after state of mind. So if you’re in the mood for a dose of (responsible) excess, read on for all of the boozy milkshake recipes you need to satisfy the kid and the adult in you.
1. Bourbon Old Fashioned Milk Shake
The classic combo of bourbon, orange, angostura, and cherry teams up with vanilla ice cream in this cocktail-inspired shake. We bet Don Draper would throw this one back on his day off. Get our Bourbon Old Fashioned Milk Shake recipe.
2. Guinness Milk Shake
Part scoop shop, part Irish pub, this frothy concoction gets its malt on using the deep-roasted flavors of Guinness. Get our Guinness Milk Shake recipe.
3. The Lebowski Shake (a.k.a. White Russian Milk Shake)
A White Russian shake has to pack in kahlua and vodka, of course, but we like to think that it’s the extra dash of espresso powder that really ties this one together. Get our Lebowski Shake (a.k.a. White Russian Milk Shake) recipe.
4. Bananas Foster Milk Shake
The Big Easy is known for its contributions to cocktail history and for being the birthplace of a number of legendary desserts. This shake pays tribute to both, mixing up rum with bananas and caramel-laced dulce de leche ice cream. Get our Bananas Foster Milk Shake recipe.
5. Dark 'n' Stormy Milk Shake
There’s literally no messing around with the Dark ‘n Stormy: the recipe for it is so enshrined, it’s protected by two U.S. trademarks. But the cocktail’s flavors of rum, ginger, and lime are so inherently dessert-friendly that we couldn’t resist stretching the rules and making it into a milkshake. Let’s just hope the patent office will turn a blind eye to this deliciousness. Get our Dark 'n' Stormy Milk Shake recipe.
6. Stout Chocolate Malt
Deep and intense are not words you’d usually use to describe a milkshake, but this stout and chocolate version embraces the distinction. Full of rich and malty overtones, it’s not afraid to cross over to the dark side. Get our Stout Chocolate Malt recipe.
7. Candy Bourbon Milkshake
Face it: there’s no point in counting calories when you’re downing a milkshake. So why not go full blast? This over-the-top masterpiece jams in chocolate bars, caramel, espresso, bourbon, and whipped cream, for the drinkable equivalent of a date with Willy Wonka. Get the recipe here.
8. Coffee and Tequila Milkshake
Coffee with tequila and ice cream may sound like a recipe for fully-wired trouble, but it’s quite delightful, in fact. The balance of bitter and sweet brings together the best of brunch time, cocktail hour, and the dessert cart. Get the recipe here.
9. Cherry Lambic Beer Milkshakes
We’d be content with just plain old cherry, but this recipes takes things one step further with the addition of lambic. The wild-yeasted beer adds an unexpected hint of funk, proving that milkshakes can be more than just sweetness and cream. Get the recipe here.
10. Hard Apple Cider Milkshake
Do you have your heart set on inventing the next internet-breaking dessert hybrid, but are just kinda lazy? Take note from this apple pie and hard cider milkshake, which takes those last slices sitting in the pie tin and gives it all a good whirl. The path to food-stagramming mashup fame could be yours at the touch of a blender button. Get the recipe here.
11. Grasshopper Milkshake
Not-so-young grasshoppers will get a kick out of this shake that swirls creme de cacao and thin mint cookies with mint chip ice cream, taking the chocolate and mint combo to the chocolatiest and mintiest nth degree. Get our Grasshopper Milk Shake recipe.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.