Summer is all about being lazy, and when it comes to desserts, there's nothing lazier than a milkshake. The summertime staple blends any manner of ingredients into a simple, slurpable form, negating the need for complicated instruments like spoons and forks. It's like getting all the elements of a meal in one gulp — if ice cream, cookies, and/or Fruity Pebbles can be considered acceptable.
You can't go wrong with a fast-food shake, and everyone from McDonald's to Chick-fil-A to Sonic offers a solid selection of classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cookies and cream. Zaxby's sprinkle-infused Birthday Cake Shake is by far the best of the chain bunch, while local burger joints take the shake to the next level with combinations so tasty and unique you'll forget you're ingesting a day's worth of calories.
Recently settled on Calhoun Street, the Big Gun Burger Shop has a creative selection of burgers and an affordable classic cocktail list, but one offering stopped us dead in our tracks: the Twinkie Milkshake. It's really just your standard vanilla milkshake, with one major addition — a rotund, cream-filled Twinkie has been stabbed with a straw and dunked right in the middle. (You can't actually drink from the straw because it's so full of cakey goodness, so this is the rare spoon-requiring exception.) While the vanilla is solid, the best part of this shake is the soggy, ice cream-soaked Twinkie.
Burger Babies is another recent addition to the downtown scene, and besides cute-as-a-button sliders, they offer a rotating selection of inspired milkshakes. Owner Ryan Meany says they stumbled across their popular Fruity Pebbles Milkshake almost by accident. The initial inspiration came from a Cap'n Crunch chicken fingers recipe Meany learned to make years ago, and when an employee came in with a box of Fruity Pebbles, a lightbulb went off. He dumped the sugary cereal into a blender with ice cream and knew he was on to something great. Some other options you might see on the menu are the Jasmine (a blend of vanilla ice cream and jasmine flower extract), the mint julep, and a Reeses-inspired chocolate peanut butter shake.
But Burger Babies isn't the only place that was inspired by that Saturday-morning staple. Sesame Burgers and Beer's West Ashley location has been serving up a Crunch Berry Milkshake for months now. Made from Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries cereal, the super-sweet shake was a 2011 Best of Charleston critics' pick. While we've heard rumors that the cereal will soon be discontinued, a manager tells us they might just switch to another brand. We'd like to recommend a generic version of Crunch Berries, because that combination is simply genius.
Cinebarre offers a more adult-oriented shake that is perfect for beer-lovers. The Guinness Milkshake has been on the dine-in theater's menu since last winter, and manager Kris Johnston-Keisling says it's one of their more popular items. "It goes with our theme of an old-school theater with a grown-up feel, so you can get that milkshake with a little bit of alcohol," he says. The recipe calls for a blend of vanilla ice cream, Hershey's chocolate syrup, and Guinness topped off with whipped cream. Alcohol and dessert in one? Now that's multitasking.