I Drink Your Milkshake: Tips from Pastry Chef Mariah Swan and Councilmember Eric Garcetti

The personal diet is now intensely political. This ethic now even applies to lighthearted summer drinks like the milkshake.

City Council President Eric Garcetti is among the participants in the latest Got Milk? campaign focusing on milkshakes featuring recipes by Grace and BLD pastry chef Mariah Swan. Garcetti and other public figures (both political and pop cultural) are helping promote milkshakes that fall across the taste and ideological spectrum.

Councilmember Garcetti emailed to say that he "grew up drinking fruit licuados and when Got Milk? approached me about participating in their summer milkshake program, I knew immediately that I wanted mine to have a green tea flavor." The medium is part of the message, too.

Pastry chef Mariah Swan's making of milkshakes.
Pastry chef Mariah Swan's making of milkshakes.
Photo credit: Jessica Ritz

We were invited to a milkshake tutorial with Swan in the kitchen at Grace recently to find out which milkshakes might -- to borrow a newly old cliche -- bring the boys to the yard. While Swan is used to having pro tools at her disposal, these recipes are geared towards the home frozen treat enthusiast. No triple spindle machine required. And fortunately, the milkshake is an intrinsically forgiving dessert.

Swan recommends a foundation of "a really good ice cream that's hard." Although if you have a favorite brand that doesn't quite fit this description, that's okay too, since Swan believes good milkshake density and texture is about whatever is "gonna make you happy."

When serving milkshake flights (including some spiked with booze), Swan prefers to start of with something likely vanilla-based, such as a salted caramel milkshake, moving onto a fruit-based one in the middle, and finishing with chocolate.

For Garcetti's Green Passion Tea Milkshake, Swan researched fruit licuados and batidos, and even schlepped a set-up to Garcetti's City Hall offices to tweak the drink. (And security at 200 N. Spring St. thinks they've seen everything.) Swan figured the "passion fruit has the backbone to go up against the matcha," which proved to be the right call. Garcetti gives Swan props for her "amazing job of creating a tart and tangy licuado that I really enjoy."

Gavin Newsom also chose green tea as a featured ingredient in his milkshake, albeit combined with sweeter components of vanilla ice cream and cocoa powder. Might this signal a new twist on political rivalries?

Green Passion Tea Milkshake

Makes 2-3 servings

1 1/2 cups ice

1 cup milk

3/4 cup passionfruit juice

1 teaspoon green tea powder

1/2 cup honey

Pinch ground ginger (optional, for a little heat)

1. Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until well-combined.

2. Divide between 2-3 glasses.

Blueberry Malt Milkshake

Makes 2-3 servings

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 cup malted milk

To finish: whipped cream and 3-4 blueberries

1. Place the ice cream, milk, blueberries, and malted milk in a blender. Pulse on low speed until just combined.

2. Divide between 2-3 glasses.

3. Top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh blueberries.

Salted Caramel Milkshake

Makes 2-3 servings

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup caramel sauce

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon salt

To finish: whipped cream

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.

2. Divide between 2-3 glasses.

3. Top with whipped cream.

Frozen Mexican Chocolate Milkshake

Makes 4 servings

2 cups ice

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 brownies, crumbled

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.

2. Divide among 4 glasses.

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