Shake Shack December custard ratings

Shake Shack custard rating infographic (December 2010 Scoopmeter)
SPLAT = worth skipping
SINGLE = worth trying
DOUBLE = worth a repeat
TRIPLE = worth a special trip!

Shake Shack Christmas lights illustration

“You’d have to be a masochist to eat frozen custard in December,” I told P. He wasn’t impressed that I only reviewed one Shake Shack flavor last month, cranberry-cashew (a splat under my new Scoopmeter rating system). I became a little obsessive in rising to the challenge in his words.

Shack Shack greedy squirrel illustration

the Grinch who ate Christmas

It wasn’t enough to huddle shivering beneath a heat lamp, spooning custard into my mouth with numb fingers. I had to document my quest exhaustively via field notes, photographs and infographics. The ink in my pen froze up. Dive-bombing squirrels reacted to the first snowfall as if it were flurrying angeldust.

Truth be told, I felt inspired by the December roster of flavors, designed to capture the season in custard form.


Shake Shack eggnog custard rating = single scoop

December 6th. I spoil my palate by eating a funghi-taleggio panini from Eataly. Now that is superlative—flaky shards of crust, earthy oily mushrooms and unctuous cheese. A tough act to follow, and the creamy-tinted eggnog custard doesn’t live up to its richness. The visually-appealing flecks of nutmeg overwhelm the flavor. Frozen custard, by definition, has lots of egg yolks. Instead of relying on spice as a signifier, how do you bring “egginess” forward? That conundrum remains unsolved. If we’re going to cheat, adding a shot of rum or brandy wouldn’t hurt. SINGLE SCOOP


Shake Shack figgy pudding custard rating = single scoop

December 7. Figgy pudding displays as a palest mauve brown. It has a rich, sweet fig flavor that is almost cloying. Like Monday’s nog, the warming spices are too heavy. I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. Two thirds of the way through, sweetness subsumes flavor and I can’t taste anything more. I miss the presence of the cake part of a Fig Newton, an ideal (if unseasonal) mix-in. SINGLE SCOOP


Shake Shack Panettone custard rating = triple scoop

December 15. Even better than the real thing. Panettone custard has the original’s signature floral orange flavor, with no leathery toughness. A hint of almond, boozy raisins, fluffy, feathery bread chews, and teeny crunches of candied orange peel… Delectable. TRIPLE SCOOP


Shake Shack chocolate-orange chestnut swirl custard rating = triple scoop

December 2. This flavor is difficult to untangle—the first bite yields the Shack’s go-to round and smoky cocoa, and then an orange aftertaste. So I think the base is chocolate-orange, and soft blobs of chestnut cream are swirled in. This has the effect—and delight factor—of a more sophisticated Toblerone chocolate orange. I remember the year they took our stockings by storm, and we smashed whole oranges into “sections” as if by magic. TRIPLE SCOOP

Shake Shack Christmas bows pickup window illustration

"All I want for Christmas is a double Shack Burger"


Shake Shack candy cane custard rating = double scoop

December 17. Normally I object to Red Dye #40, but I do love the pink peppermint look here. The biggest candy chunks are teeth-cracking. The first bite, where I crunch down on cane, is a little toothpastey. Whether you like this custard or not depends on how you feel about mint. The base mellows out as I eat—weirdly, I detect a marshmallow note. Most fun are the veins of pulverized candy: the flavor and texture of those areas are most user-friendly. DOUBLE SCOOP

* sample cup of peanut butter hot chocolate = 😀


Shake Shack gingerbread custard rating = triple scoop

December 18. The ginger is strong and immediate, but not at all harsh because the smooth base is quite sweet. Sugar and spice are in perfect sync—this is my ideal gingerbread. It is rich and cakey-tasting. A molasses foundation gives a slight maltiness; a subtle hit of black pepper adds the finishing touch. TRIPLE SCOOP


Shake Shack spiced apple cider custard rating = splat

December 19. Spiced apple cider custard’s paleness is a bad sign—I expect a concentrated, apple butter depth of color and flavor. Creaminess hits, and then a slightly tart green apple taste fades in and out from bite to bite. I can see spice but not taste it. If I closed my eyes, would I know what I’m eating? This needs to go back to the cider press for some reworking. SPLAT

Shake Shack holy pigeon illustration

the Holy Pigeon of Madison Square Park

One Response to “Shake Shack December custard ratings”
  1. V says:

    So glad this review is up. I was on the fence about going out of my way to try the figgy pudding. I’m sticking with the panettone and chocolate orange chestnut instead, especially since I’m one for texture in my frozen custard. [Why does no one ever tell you if there are cakey bits in cakey flavors? Terribly important, I’d think.] Hurray!

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