Ordering A Milkshake In New England May Have Unexpected Results

What's your soda fountain treat of choice? Born in 1850s America when pharmacies and drugstores began offering cure-all tonics — typically flavored medicinal extracts mixed into soda water — these fountains added milkshakes, ice cream floats, and sundaes to their menus (via Pharmacy Times). They also become a popular spot for teen hangouts and first dates in the 1950s, according to Dusty Old Thing.

Today, other than the occasional novelty spot, old-fashioned soda fountains have mostly faded away. However, the sweet offerings they originated remain popular choices at ice cream shops and diners — even though the original recipes have changed over time. 

A soda fountain milkshake, for example, was once comprised of carbonated water, sweetened flavored milk and a raw egg, per Pharmacy Times. A concoction that very few modern folks are likely to find appealing. Currently, most of us know a "milkshake" as a sweet, cold, blended mix of hard ice cream, milk, and flavorings such as chocolate syrup. Unless you live in New England, that is.

A New England milkshake is just flavored milk

If you're cruising through the Northeastern U.S. region of New England — or if you're a proud inhabitant — you might be surprised the next time you stop into a local scoop shop to order a milkshake. While for most of us that term evokes a thick, sippable drink of ice cream, milk, and syrup blended together, in states such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, a milkshake skips the ice cream.

According to Serious Eats, a New England milkshake is simply a "frothy, shaken mixture of milk and syrup" — like chocolate milk, for example, but icy, cold, and foamy. If you're in the area and want the luscious drink that includes ice cream, you'll have to order what's known as a frappe — simply pronounced "frap." The outlet explains that a frappe is what will get you a liquified version of ice cream.

If, on the other hand, all this talk of frappes makes you curious and you're not currently in the region, Serious Eats explains that they're all too easy to make at home. Simply combine ice-cold milk with either chocolate syrup or vanilla extract plus a bit of sugar, froth it with a stick blender, and served it in a freezer-chilled glass. Now that's wicked delicious.