The best milkshakes in New York City

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Take a few scoops of ice cream, add in some milk, maybe some syrup, and blend… the recipe for a milkshake couldn’t be any simpler. So why do so few places get them right?

We don’t know exactly, but in the meantime, the places listed below know their way around a blender. They produce thick, frothy elixirs, perfect for sating thirst or filling you up when you’ve missed a meal.

What brgr is missing in vowels, it makes up for in taste. All milkshakes use ingredients from the excellent Ronnybrook Dairy, a sustainable, family-owned farm in upstate New York. In addition to vanilla and strawberry, brgr mixes up a black and white (half vanilla with chocolate syrup) and a blueberry-pomegranate. The Chelsea location is at 287 Seventh Avenue, close to the Eventi hotel, while the recently opened Upper East Side location is at 1026 3rd Avenue. Both are open 11 am–11 pm, Monday–Thursday; 11 am–12 am, Friday–Saturday; and 11 am–9 pm, Sunday.

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
Capitalizing on nostalgia, Brooklyn Farmacy is a re-created mid-twentieth-century soda fountain on a quiet corner of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Servers, proudly wearing paper hats and t-shirts that say “jerk” (as in “soda jerk”), will make shakes with any ice cream, including mint chocolate chip (pictured above) or peach (available seasonally). In addition to a nice pour in a heavy, old-fashioned glass, you’ll get all the leftovers in an elegant silver container—just the way they used to do it in the olden days. Also, you might recognize the space from the Discovery Channel’s “Construction Intervention” show. Located at 513 Henry Street, it’s open 12 pm–10 pm, Monday–Sunday. Stay at the Nu Hotel.

Lexington Candy Shop
In a city that changes faster than you can say “New York minute,” finding a restaurant that’s been doing things the same way for a long time is as refreshing as a big slurp of a malted. Get both authenticity and milkshakes, in classic flavors like coffee and vanilla, at the Lexington Candy Shop. Part of the pleasure comes from watching your treat get made on vintage equipment, some dating to 1925, which is when the restaurant first opened. Just remember: here they’re called “frosteds,” not “milkshakes.” The candy shop is old school like that. Located at 1226 Lexington Avenue, it’s open 7 am–7 pm, Monday–Saturday, and 8 am–6 pm, Sunday, and close to the Franklin NYC.

Momofuku Milk Bar
The creations at Milk Bar, the sweet sibling to David Chang’s other Momofuku restaurants, might sound like something dreamed up by college students, late at night, in a haze of pungent smoke. But they don’t taste that way. Chef Christina Tosi blends unconventional tastes and textures to produce goodies like crack pie™ (yup, that’s a trademark), kimchi-and-blue cheese croissants, and compost cookies, which are chockful of oats, coffee, pretzels, and potato chips. The shakes are equally inventive. You choose a soft serve and a flavored milk from a rotating selection, and they’ll do the rest; these days offerings include BBQ, creamed corn, cereal milk™, and purple drink. Milk Bar Midtown is open every day, 7 am–12 am, at 15 W 56th Street, and is attached to the Chambers hotel. Close to the Cooper Square Hotel, Milk Bar East Village is open every day, 9 am–12 am, at 207 Second Avenue.

Shake Shack
From a humble cart has sprung a vast empire, serving some of the city’s best burgers, with the lines to prove it. Shake Shack prepares a mean hand-spun shake, made with signature frozen custard, a top-secret blend of soft serve and ice cream. The wait — and rest assured, you will have a wait — is worth it. To replenish the calories you burn standing on line, try the vitamin creamsicle (vanilla custard and orange juice). With five locations around New York City, you’re likely pretty close no matter where you’re staying. We’re partial to the original shack, in Madison Square Park, at Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street (open 11 am–11 pm), near the Gramercy Park Hotel.

Shakes at Stand come in several separate setups (say that three times fast). First, you have to choose which type you want: classic, in flavors like blueberry pie and banana; gelato, including honey lavender chocolate and the beloved toasted marshmallow; or alcohol, which combines Campari with orange, or bourbon with fresh mint. Then you have to consider size: regular provides a satisfying heft of goodness, but the minis mean you can sample many, rather than just one. Decisions, decisions. Stand is located at 24 East 12th Street, close to the Union Square Inn, and open every day, 12 pm–12 am.

–-Jessica Allen and Garrett Ziegler of We Heart New York

[Photo credit: Flickr/gsz (Garrett Ziegler)]

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