Old-school to spiked: 8 excellent milkshakes in Shanghai

Chocolatey, fruity, boozy and everything inbetween

Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler
Milkshakes tend to take a backseat to ice cream in the dairy game, but in Shanghai that would be a mistake. From old-school classics to OTT combos and naughty spiked variations, here’s our top picks for the city’s most satisfying shakes.
Vanilla, Luneurs

Vanilla, Luneurs

When you're after your ice-cold dessert fix, chances are you usually wander into French bakery Luneurs for its ice cream – salted caramel, every time – we don’t blame you. However, if you dare broaden your dairy horizons, you’ll be rewarded for your bravery as the milkshakes match up just as well. There are no fancy garnishes here, just a solid, old-school rich vanilla shake, speckled with vanilla seeds, which is all it needs really when the quality of ice cream is this high. 55RMB.

Mint Brownie, Strictly Cookies

Mint Brownie, Strictly Cookies

Put some of the city’s gooiest cookies into a milkshake and it's a no brainer said milkshake turns out to be amazing. Not exactly rocket science is it? The team behind the popular American-style cookie joint certainly know the way to our sweet tooths, like with this minty number that’s loaded with big chunks of chocolate brownie cookie and perfect for a treat-yourself summer sip (or in this case, shameless slurp.) 58RMB.

The Dude, Beef & Liberty

The Dude, Beef & Liberty

Burger joints do excellent milkshakes. That’s a proven fact. Don’t believe us? Head to Beef & Liberty where you can spike regular versions like vanilla for a stronger hit. Our pick of the bunch is The Dude – a potent but well-balanced mix of Kahlua, vodka, vanilla gelato and cream  that’ll have you feeling as carefree as the movie character it’s named after. Take note: this boozy beverage also leans on the liquid side which means it can be downed dangerously quick. 79RMB.

Strawberry, Polux

Strawberry, Polux

Paul Pairet’s casual French café keeps things simple with its shakes, there are currently only two on the menu strawberry and vanilla. The idea here is why go over the top when you can ace the classics instead. And ace them Polux does, especially the strawberry, that lures you in with its pretty rose-coloured exterior and then proceeds to leave you defeated (but satisfied) in your chair a short while later. 70RMB (240ml); 95RMB (400ml).

Malt, Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, Al’s Diner

Malt, Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, Al’s Diner

The milkshake selection at Al’s manages to dish out headaches (it’s almost impossible to choose one) while curing them at the same time, as these hefty things will shake off (literally) even the worst of hangovers. It’s three generous scoops of your favourite flavour of Gracie’s ice cream blended well with milk. If you ask us, it's all about the malt, sea salt and dark chocolate that gets an extra crunch from the malt crisps. Plus, if bed is where you need to be, order through waimai – these babies travel well and when paired with one of the diner’s equally hefty breakfast items will have you on the mend in no time. 55RMB.

Peanut Butter Brownie, Charlie’s

Peanut Butter Brownie, Charlie’s

Charlie’s has reigned supreme over Shanghai’s shake scene since it first put its foot through the door six years ago. The secret? Some seriously thick shakes (probably thicker than the waistline you’re about to develop)  though who cares about that when they’re just so damn good. Particularly the peanut butter brownie, tightly packing that sacred duo with chocolate ice cream for a treat that keeps us coming back no matter the calorific cost. 35RMB (12oz); 45RMB (16oz).

Mulberry Mood, Shake Shack

Mulberry Mood, Shake Shack

If you’re wondering whether the milkshakes stack up to the burgers at Shake Shack, the answer is a resounding yes. While chocolate, caramel and co are available in Shake Shack locations around the world, in Shanghai we have our own exclusive flavour to guzzle down. It sees mulberry blitzed up with frozen vanilla custard and topped with a smattering of shortbread and Osmanthus for aesthetic effect. Don’t take your time with this, it will melt before you know it. 45RMB.

Banana-Choco, Bandit

Banana-Choco, Bandit

Quirky bar, café and club mash-up Bandit offers a ton of different milkshake combos all worth a try, like strawberry and coconut, salted caramel and berries and even a White Rabbit-based variant as a local touch. If it’s early in the morning we suggest running with chocolate and banana which is essentially a sweet breakfast in creamy liquid form, served nice and cold in a tall glass with a round of banana hanging from the rim. 45RMB.

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By: Rupert Hohwieler

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