Food and Drink: Shake it up at The Cookie Club

Food and Drink: Shake it up at The Cookie Club
The Cookie Club's shakes start with quality ice cream and milk. [Dave Faries]
Dave Faries

Perhaps it’s a tribute to American entrepreneurial genius that products intervening in the simplest of tasks find success.

The modern shake demands only two ingredients and a blender. Yet there are a number of commercial mixes on the market claiming to make the process more efficient.

One company laments the time consumed by scooping real ice cream and hitting the on button. “Our shake mix provides you the same quality with half the effort,” their sales pitch reads in part.
At The Cookie Club in downtown Mexico, Kiarah Harris prefers a more meticulous shake.

“Just milk.”

That’s the only ingredient besides ice cream she allows in the shop’s basic shake. Hand dipped ice cream, a splash of milk -- that’s it.

The result passes every test of a perfect shake.

A shake should be a treat, something fun and rewarding. While The Cookie Club blend is ice cream and milk, customers can request toppings, syrup or a swirl of jelly if they wish, but with options like blackberry cobbler and lavender honey, the ice cream is colorful enough.

And it is well made ice cream from good ingredients. The blackberry cobbler swells with berries and cream, with crumbles of nutty dough.

Of course, the true test of a shake involves a straw. First, the vessel should stand without listing. And one must also be able to use the straw for its intended purpose.

In other words, a proper shake is thick yet easy to drink without drawing one’s cheeks to a pucker. And The Cookie Club finds the mark.

Well, clumps of dough in the blackberry cobbler tend to lodge in the straw. Otherwise, it’s spoon-optional.

Some would argue that vanilla allows for a genuine test of quality. It is more difficult to mask subpar ingredients.

But the downtown Mexico bakery and parlor rarely stocks the trinity of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.

Double fudge brownie, yes, but not chocolate.

“We don’t sell too much of the basic flavors,” Harris explains. “We choose pistachio, say, over strawberry.”

Pistachio was likely an early addition to snow-based ice creams in ancient Rome. The original milkshakes involved no ice cream. As the name suggests, the drink was milk (and a flavoring syrup) muscled in a cocktail shaker for several minutes.

In the soda fountain era, new drinks caught the public’s imagination -- egg creams, cream sodas, malts and such.

“You can make a milkshake into a malt, that’s a great option,” Harris observed. The Cookie Club offers malts.

As refrigeration became common and ice cream could be stored, a distinction between milkshakes and shakes developed in malt shops and fountains. Today, the two are pretty much synonymous, even though many restaurants revert to a mix rather than real ice cream.


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