It's back: McDonald's offers Shamrock Shake

Published: Feb. 10, 2016 at 4:45 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 6, 2016 at 3:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Love it or hate it, one of McDonald's most popular items is back on the menu, at least for a while.

McDonald's announced the return of the McCafé Shamrock Shake on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

The green minty shake is a staple for the weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day.

A spokesman said some Tucson area locations had the Shamrock Shake ready for sale Wednesday while all southern Arizona restaurants will be ready to go by the end of the week.

The sale of shakes is scheduled to run until Thursday, March 17 (St. Patrick's Day), or until supplies run out.

The Shamrock Shake is one of the most popular "limited time" items at McDonald's.

Want proof? There's a Facebook community with almost 40,000 members. Check Twitter for the hashtag #shamrockshakes. By 11 a.m. Wednesday, Instagram was already littered with people taking selfies with their favorite minty treat.

The drink began life in 1970 as the St. Patrick's Day Shake.

It was vanilla ice cream, lemon-lime flavoring, lemon/lime sherbet and vanilla syrup.

It was changed to a plain vanilla shake with green coloring in 1973.

The signature mint flavoring was added in 1983.

As part of the McCafé line, the drink now includes reduced fat vanilla ice cream, shamrock shake syrup, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

The frozen treat has a connection to the Ronald McDonald's Houses.

According to the McDonald's website, the daughter of Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill was diagnosed with leukemia in 1974.

Hill and his wife spent long periods of time at the hospital as their daughter went through years of treatment.

Hill noticed other families in the same situation and realized there needed to be a "home away from home for families of children being treated."

The Hills started raising money and Jim Murray, the Eagles' general manager, got involved.

Murray contacted McDonald's and before long, a week-long promotion around the Shamrock Shake was launched.

Money from the sales of the drink was donated to the cause and not long after, the first Ronald McDonald's house was purchased.

Today, there are over 300 Ronald McDonald's homes in almost 60 countries.

There are two things that make everything better - bacon and chocolate.

Rumor has it you can order a McLeprechaun Shake.

Often referred to as a "secret menu item," the McLeprechaun is a Shamrock Shake with a little chocolate syrup mixed in.

A medium shake has 660 calories, 12 grams of saturated fat and 93 grams of sugar.

That's more calories and saturated fat than McDonald's double cheeseburger.

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