Milkshakes aka frappè: the magic of mixing gelato and milk

Milkshakes are classic drinks made with gelato and ice-cold milk. They were invented in the US, but it’s the Italian gelato that makes them memorable. Milkshakes, aka frappè, are easy to make, and delicious to drink.

A popular trio of milkshakes created with the the best flavors from GIO Gelati.

“You don’t need to go to heaven to find out what a milkshake is like, because we bring heaven to you in our milkshakes.”
― Anthony T. Hincks

What’s the history of gelato milkshakes?

Gelato milkshake, called frappè in Italian, is a drink that was born in the 1800s. The original milkshake version was a healthy and robust drink with whiskey and eggnog as base ingredients. At the time, pharmacies were selling milkshakes as a tonic.
Throughout time, syrups and gelato were added to the recipe. Milkshakes slowly changed to become the popular creamy drink we now know and love.

Get the the best gelato flavors for a perfect milkshake

Still to this day, the most popular flavors for a milkshake are the gelato classics: chocolate gelato, vanilla gelato, strawberry gelato, and banana gelato. You will always find those flavors in our stores in San Francisco and San Ramon. You can also get them at home thanks to our GIO Club, gelato subscription and our online store. Nevertheless, we always suggest to try new, more particular combinations with our ever-changing selection of gelato flavors. What about a milkshake made with White-Mint-Chip or Bacio, our Gianduja chocolate chip inspired by the famous “Bacio Perugina?”

Making gelato milkshake the old way

Nowadays, as we all have a modern mixer, it’s fascinating to look at the first mixers used to make milkshakes. These old and heavy machines did not run on electricity but rather on human strength.

How to make milkshakes at home

Let’s start with a milkshake banana, a simple flavor everybody loves. Preparing the milkshake is a reasonably straightforward process.

  • Start by pouring into your mixer a glass of cold milk.
  • Add two medium scoops of banana gelato, and a teaspoon of cardamom or cinnamon.
  • Mix until the texture becomes creamy and homogenous.
  • Then pour your milkshake in a cold glass.
  • Lastly, add a few slices of banana for texture and a bit of cocoa powder on top.

This simple receipt makes for a perfectly healthy sweet snack for both kids and grown-ups. Of course, you can have fun with the recipe by mixing and matching your favorite gelato flavors.

A soda jerk throws a scoop of ice cream into a malt cup to prepare a milkshake (The Library of Congress).

Your next milkshake experiment?

Are you ready for some culinary adventure? If you are a coffee lover, we have a suggestion for a tasty caffeinated milkshake. Mix a scoop of stracciatella gelato and one of hazelnut with a glass of hazelnut milk. Add two espresso shots and you have a fantastic breakfast alternative. Healthy, nutritious and caffeinated!

Milkshakes in the American pop culture

Milkshakes are now part of the American pop culture and appeared in uncounted movies. One the most famous milkshake scene is in Quentin Tarantino “Pulp Fiction” with John Travolta and Uma Thurman.

Another famous milkshake scene is in the famous movie “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” released in 2016 by Netflix.

How not to make a milkshake, according to Pee-Wee “Big Holiday.”
This entry was posted in Gelato Culture, GIO Club and tagged , , , on by .

About Patrizia Pasqualetti, Gelato Chef

Patrizia is a pastry chef specializing in gelato. She comes from a long family tradition of artisanal gelato makers in Orvieto, Italy. Patrizia has shared her experience and knowledge with the Department of Nutritional Science in Milan to support research and experimentation in the gelato field. Her love for original gelato has taken her from the production lab to the Italian national TV and radio, where she has conducted regular programs on food. Patrizia has also been involved in food trade shows with the Slow Food Movement to promote the Italian tradition of gelato making. As Gelato Chef at GIO Gelati, Patrizia makes sure every single pint of gelato, sold at our stores or delivered to the GIO Club members, is carefully prepared according to her original Italian recipe with the best and freshest ingredients.