Since the milkshake’s inception in 1922, the thick, creamy, frosted beverage has tickled the taste buds of America. But when we heard that Bay Ridge’s legendary Hinsch’s had closed, we were concerned that the milkshake was on the wane. The good news? The egg cream’s uptown brother is alive and well and living in Brooklyn:
The Mirage is an ageless diner — the eternal home of the milkshake in its classic form. There are no gimmicks just pure preparation and simple flavors.
But there is a secret to the sweet science behind Mirage milkshakes: Soda jerks blend the milkshake with the whipped cream to create fluffy pockets of flavor and lightness inside the milkshake itself.
Score: 3 out of 5
As one of the last soda shops in Bay Ridge, this place is as real as it gets. You almost expect to see Greasers punch-starting the jukebox.
But as classic as Anopoli is, the place is known for its wide variety of flavors, including a cappuccino milkshake (coffee, vanilla ice cream and a touch of cinnamon), the Creamsicle (vanilla and orange) and a chocolate chip Oreo (which is self-explanatory). All in all, the chocolate flavor and the Oreo bits were a perfect complement — even if consuming a milkshake with a spoon feels a little sacriligous.
Anopoli is a stickler for tradition, from the Brooklyn-made Fox’s U-Bet syrup to the 1940s Hamilton Beach mixer that is still better than any blender.
Score: 4 out of 5
This Henry Street soda parlor exudes an aura of old-world Brooklyn. The shelves are still stocked with medicine jars from the original Longo Pharmacy, which dates back to 1925.
The malt milkshake has a similar old-school feel (indeed, who uses malt powder anymore?) and is thick and rich. Co-owner Peter Freeman’s secret is that he moves the canister up and down while it’s mixing, avoiding an ice cream meltdown and creating a true hand-spun milkshake.
Score: 3 out of 5
The Avant Garde
Momofuku Milk Bar
Momofuku Milk Bar was young, hip, and simple — like an Urban Outfitters that serves dessert. And the milkshake is just as strange. First, start with the bakery’s cereal ice cream, which comprise pulverized Corn Flakes, organic milk, sugar and freeze-dried corn powder. Then, mix with milk.
The result is a “shake” in name only. It actually tastes the sugary milk at the bottom of your morning bowl of cereal. Yes, that familiar taste is highly enjoyable, but the novelty and nostalgia is lost quickly. Is it a great milk-based drink? Yes, but it’s more milk-slush than milkshake.
Score: 2 out of 5
Ample Hills Creamery
This kid-friendly Prospect Heights ice-cream shop uses Batenkill Valley whole milk and, of course, its own homemade ice cream, whipped together in a Hamilton Beach mixer. We tried a mix of chocolate and “Fluff and Stuff” — peanut butter ice cream with swirls of marshmallow and peanut butter cookies. The flavor was fantastic and the milkshake was thick and creamy, but also chunky from the peanut butter cookies. The best part was getting to scoop out the cookies after the milkshake was finished for an after-dessert dessert.
Score: 4 out of 5
We sampled the PB&J milkshake, which is a secret off-menu option (secret no more!). The shake had the perfect balance — thick enough to feel like ice cream, but smooth enough to slip through the straw. Every so often, a dash of peanut butter would pleasantly squeeze through, and the jam added a sweet pang to the milkshake.
There’s no secret why this shake is so perfect: It starts with organic Blue Marble ice cream, which is then smothered in organic peanut butter, mixed with organic milk and poured into a glass that’s been pre-swirled with jam.
Score: 5 out of 5