The Thirsty Reader: A Guinness Milkshake

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we probably won't be wearing green. We might not even eat any corned beef and cabbage. But we'll definitely be making tall, frosty Guinness milkshakes.

The concept is simple: combine vanilla or chocolate ice cream with Guinness stout, blend until thick, and enjoy. A good general rule is equal parts of beer and ice cream, but you can adapt the proportions to suit your preference for thick or thin milkshakes.

Some of you are probably agog at the idea, thinking it's a good way to screw up a nice stout (or some great ice cream). But trust us on this one. The malt in Guinness adds a nuttiness, while the sweetness of the ice cream complements the bitterness of the beer. You can make a beer milkshake with any kind of beer, but the thickness and maltiness of Guinness make it the best choice.

If you're entertaining for the St. Patrick's Day holiday this weekend, these are a fun way to celebrate. With something as rich as a Guinness shake, you won't have to worry about anyone getting sloshed. And it's far more unique and interesting than the tasty but pedestrian black and tan.

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Still skeptical? Try this recipe for Guinness ice cream from Food & Wine. Or skip the booze but keep the flavor with Martha Stewart's malted milkshakes.

Because March is Hungry Reader month, here's an inspiring excerpt from John Steinbeck's Cannery Row:

While he ate his sandwich and sipped his beer, a bit of conversation came back to him. Blaisedell, the poet, had said to him, "You love beer so much, I'll bet some day you'll go in and order a beer milk shake." It was a simple piece of foolery but it had bothered Doc ever since. He wondered what a beer milk shake would taste like. The idea gagged him but he couldn't let it alone. It cropped up every time he had a glass of beer. Would it curdle the milk? Would you add sugar? It was like a shrimp ice cream. Once the thing got into your head you couldn't forget it. He finished his sandwich and paid Herman. He purposely didn't look at the milk shake machines lined up so shiny against the back wall. If a man ordered a beer milk shake, he thought, he'd better do it in a town where he wasn't known. But then, a man with a beard, ordering a beer milk shake in a town where he wasn't known - they might call the police.

Photos: Guinness photo from Guinness.com, malted milkshakes from MarthaStewart.com, Guinness ice cream from Food & Wine