- By Kristin Finan American-Statesman Staff
That delicious swirl of flavors. That rich, creamy texture. That perfect dollop of whipped cream.
Is there any summer treat better than a hand-crafted milkshake?
From boozy varieties perfect for a girls’ night out to kid-friendly favorites to vegan and gluten-free options, there’s a little something for everyone in the Austin area. With summer now officially here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite milkshakes in Central Texas.
Note: With so many spots to try in Austin, this list is by no means comprehensive. Have a favorite we should check out? Let us know.
407 Colorado St. 512-494-6916, hotdogscoldbeer.com
The Cap’n would be proud.
His popular breakfast cereal is on full display in the Crunch Berries Shake at Frank restaurant, where it cavorts with house-made vanilla ice cream and orange-blackberry simple syrup in the stainless steel mixing cup before arriving to your table as a frothy, rainbow-speckled masterpiece that’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
“At Frank, we put a little extra care into our milkshakes and make the milkshake base and syrups in house from scratch. To spice things up, we always have a booze option for every shake to make it an adult beverage,” said bar manager Marty Chronister, who recommends fig-infused Russell’s 10-year bourbon if you want the Cap’n to pack a punch.
Chronister said the most popular shake flavors at Frank are the Crunch Berries Shake, the PB and Oreo Shake and the Old Fashioned Bourbon Shake. He said the restaurant also frequently features off-menu shakes as part of its weekly specials and also sometimes offers themed menus celebrating anything from “The Walking Dead” to Tiki Week that include creative shake varieties.
The best thing about ordering a shake at Frank? Whatever’s left in the mixing cup comes along with it. Just be sure you arrive by 10 p.m., as that’s when the restaurant typically stops serving shakes.
4631 Airport Blvd., Suite 125. 512-666-8346, sweetritual.com
For anyone who’s ever considered the words “vegan” and “milkshake” to be mutually exclusive, here’s some good news. Sweet Ritual, an ice cream parlor that specializes in non-dairy and allergen-friendly treats, has some of the best vegan milkshakes around.
For its shakes, the shop takes its homemade vanilla soft serve — made with coconut milk and organic soy milk — and adds house-made sauces and interesting toppings to create “your vegan dream shake,” co-owner Valerie Ward said.
Among the sauces and toppings available? Salted caramel sauce, lavender simple syrup, chocolate chip cookie dough and caramelized banana.
“From peanut butter chocolate to strawberry with edible glitter,” Ward said, “if you can imagine it, we can probably make it.”
600 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5400, 24diner.com
No matter what time of day your shake craving calls, you can count on 24 Diner, which, as its name implies, is open around the clock.
Varieties on the menu here include chocolate cherry, coconut cream, strawberry, maple, espresso, and roasted banana and brown sugar, which “tastes like Bananas Foster in a glass,” chef Andrew Curren said.
Another fun option? Order the peanut butter and chocolate shake and add crispy bacon to it.
Shakes are made to order with housemade syrups and fresh ingredients and topped with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. Sometimes they’re also dusted with cinnamon or sprinkled with chocolate chips for good measure.
Cow Tipping Creamery
4715 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-904-0033, cowtippingcreamery.com
Since its humble beginnings as an ice cream truck that opened in the Austin area in 2012, Cow Tipping Creamery has now expanded to include a brick-and-mortar store in South Austin.
The ice cream shop, run by the Sorensen family, focuses on unique soft-serve creations such as its Stackers, which are basically layered ice cream sundaes in surprising flavors. (Example: the Fluffer Nutter, which features hand-toasted marshmallows, fresh banana, Nutter Butter crumbs and peanut butter sauce.)
But don’t let the Stackers overshadow the shakes, which are so thick and creamy that they’re served with an extra-wide straw. Flavors include Darkest Chocolate (chocolate soft serve with dark chocolate sauce), Cocoa Cookie Crumb (cookies and cream) and the off-menu Birthday Cake Shake, which incorporates vanilla soft serve and chunks of birthday cake.
Heading to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex soon? You can also visit Cow Tipping Creamery there — they recently opened a Dallas outpost.
Amy’s Ice Creams
Various Austin-area locations. amysicecreams.com
There’s really no limit to the number of shakes you can create at Amy’s Ice Creams, a beloved local institution since 1984 that now has a dozen locations in Austin as well as scoop shops in Houston and San Antonio.
Amy’s always has seven standard ice cream flavors available and 350 specialty flavors in rotation. That variety, combined with nearly three dozen topping options, can make it difficult to decide what to get.
Need help? Ask your server, or look around the shop for suggested flavor combinations. During a recent visit, I ordered the Totally Turtle Sundae — Belgian chocolate ice cream with hot fudge and pecan praline — made as a shake, and it was delicious.
Various Austin locations. drafthouse.com
Everyone loves Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-based chain that expands on movie theater staples like popcorn and soda by also offering items such as a brie and onion jam burger, crushed avocado crostini and a ginger-wasabi bloody Mary.
What you may not know is that it’s also one of the best places in town to order a shake. Kid-friendly shake flavors include ancho chocolate, chocolate chip cookie, strawberry cheesecake and Mexican vanilla. Adult varieties include an Irish coffee shake (Bailey’s, vanilla ice cream, coffee and whipped cream), a Maker’s Mark milk punch shake (Maker’s Mark, vanilla ice cream, nutmeg and whipped cream) and a Reposado chocolate shake (Reposado tequila, chocolate, cinnamon and whipped cream).
1407 E. Seventh St. 512-992-1449, prohibitioncreamery.com
Prohibition Creamery is like an ice cream parlor and bar all rolled into one — after all, “we like our ice cream boozy,” the website says.
Ice cream flavors here include both alcohol-infused varieties such as mezcal vanilla and bellini sorbet and kid-appropriate options including cookie dough, dark chocolate sorbet and cheesecake with graham swirl.
Shake flavors vary but may include Bananas Foster, Horchata Coffee and Raspberry Cheesecake.