From Nation's Restaurant News
Offering chef-driven flair with a cherry on
top, spiked milkshakes are emerging as signature adult beverages at
several upscale burger concepts around the country.
names such as the Bourbon Malted, Grandma’s Treat and the All Nighter,
these liquor-laced concoctions offer comfort-food appeal with a
grown-up twist when paired with their longtime partner, the burger,
according to operators.
“In the food and
beverage realm, it really doesn’t get more comfortable than a burger
and a shake,” said John Rothstein, corporate beverage director of
Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Restaurants, which has BLT Burger locations in
New York City and in the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
of the notable choices at BLT Burger is the All Nighter, made with
Kahlua, Baileys Irish Cream, espresso and coffee ice cream, Rothstein
said. It is priced at $11.
hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like milkshakes,” said Noah
Ellis, beverage director of the San Francisco-based Mina Group
restaurants, which includes chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak concept,
where gourmet burgers are served in the lounge.
notes that burger concepts were growing even before the recession
encouraged consumers to trade down from higher-priced restaurants.
Bourbon Bar Burgers on the new Bourbon Steak lounge menu include prime
and American Kobe beef burgers and turkey burgers, both priced at $14;
lamb and salmon burgers, both priced at $18; and a falafel burger at
$12. They can be topped with an array of artisanal cheeses, farmer’s
market vegetables and exotic sauces ranging from black truffle aïoli to
To create companion beverages
equal to those elevated patties, Ellis looked in a direction different
from his “serious” cocktails.
“I don’t think a Manhattan is something you want with a burger,” he said.
teamed with corporate pastry chef Lincoln Carson on three dairy-based
libations that are less sweet and more refined than the typical
“We wanted something you could sip with a burger and fries and be satisfied but not overwhelmed,” Ellis said.
the Bourbon Malted, made with Jim Beam bourbon, salty caramel sauce and
malted milk powder; the Grasshopper, with green crème de menthe, white
crème de cacao, vanilla vodka and peppermint oil; and the Rum Raisin,
with Appleton Estate 12-year-old rum and puréed rum-plumped raisins.
shake has a base of three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream plus
whole milk and half and half. The shakes are spun in a spindle-style
milkshake mixer and served in frozen, footed pilsner glasses. Ellis
estimates that the restaurants sell about one adult shake for every
four burgers sold, amounting to a nice bit of additional income at $11
The Bourbon Malted’s distinctive brown
streaks are made by a few random squirts of salty caramel sauce on the
inside of the frozen glass. As the shake is sipped, the caramel streaks
melt and add flavor, Ellis said.
salty-sweet nuance shines in 25 Degrees’ top-selling Salty Caramel
shake, a blend of vanilla ice cream, bourbon, butterscotch and Hawaiian
red sea salt, priced at $8.
“The touch of salt
in the caramel really makes it taste great,” said Tim Goodell, who has
25 Degrees locations in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel as
well as in Huntington Beach, Calif., and Phoenix. On average, each unit
uses seven to eight gallons of ice cream for shakes each day.
BLT Burger, Rothstein said he sees spiked shakes as a continuation of
the experimental mixology that is revitalizing classic cocktails like
the Sidecar, Manhattan and French 75.
giving the classic milkshake a distinctive twist, yet keeping the
alcohol subtle enough so that you still enjoy it as a milkshake,” he
In addition to the aforementioned All
Nighter, another BLT Burger crowd pleaser is Grandma’s Treat, made with
vanilla ice cream, Maker’s Mark bourbon and caramel, priced at $11.