Answering The Age-Old Question: What's The Difference Between A Milkshake And A Malt?

Which brings more boys to the yard?

Milkshake cherry

You may be of the poor misguided persuasion that milkshakes and malts are bit, well, samey.

My friend, I'm going to stop you right there: you couldn't be more wrong. Let us educate you in the difference between the milkshake and the malt.

What even IS a malt?

The origins of the malt lie back in 1920s America, although the exact date is debated (presumably by people with nothing better to do). Soda jerks figured that adding malt milk powder to their trademark shakes would have an intriguing result: the malt was born.

Soda jerk

The effect

When malt is added to a shake the powder gets rehydrated and, once it's blended, its distinctive flavour is distributed throughout the drink. While milkshakes tend to be lighter, frothier and more refreshing, the malt is less milky, thicker and much sweeter.


They finish differently

We all know that pang of sorrow, the one we get at the bottom of a milkshake only to be left sucking at froth. Malts finish differently, with much of the malt extract settling at the bottom of the glass just begging to be slurped up.

This is what gives the drink its “malt personality” that distinguishes it from a shake, at least according to rock star Jack White. Which reminds us...


Jack White Prefers Malts

The White Stripes frontman actually has some pretty strong feelings about malts, as he outlines on the band's official website: "One thing that concerns me [...] is the dying art of making a chocolate malt. I have to admit it is one of my favorite vices [...] it is the dying art form of the malt maker/soda jerk that does bother me, I think we should all be aware of this and help to continue this dying, beautiful, comforting aspect of life, for our children if not for us ourselves."

Serious words.


While actor Daniel Day-Lewis is a notorious milkshake hound

It's common knowledge in Hollywood that the Oscar winner cannot be trusted around a shake of the milky variety.


When all's said and done, malt's capacity to bring boys to the yard remains unclear


So you'd better test both, this Saturday at our 4th of July Festival in association with Eddie Rocket's.

You know. Just to be safe.

Written By

Seán Kenehan

Seán is known for eating, drinking and writing, making him uniquely qualified to work for Lovin Dublin. Seán enjoys skipping stones wistfully, puns that'd make a dad blush, and referring to himself in the third person.