The Special Shamrock Shake Straw You Never Knew About

If you've ever ordered a McFlurry, chances are you've tried (and failed) to slurp your drink through the hollowed-out rectangular spoon that it comes with. However, the McFlurry spoons aren't actually designed to double as straws. Contrary to popular belief, they're just spoons that attach onto the ice cream machine to blend the McFlurry. Though any McDonald's loyalist would agree it would be nice to have a fully functional McFlurry straw, McDonald's instead decided to focus their innovative efforts on another one of their beloved drinks: the Shamrock Shake (via Fast Company).

Every year from mid February through late March, the Shamrock Shake makes its triumphant return to McDonald's locations across the country. Since 1970, the St. Patrick's Day-themed milkshake been an enduring part of McDonald's tradition, so in 2017, the fast food chain decided to shake things up a little. That year, as Vox reports, McDonald's introduced four new Shamrock Shakes, a special straw to drink them with, and an ad campaign that was quickly pulled due to its offensive nature. None of these were ever brought back, not even the special straw, despite how innovative and effective it proved to be.

The straw was designed for a discontinued Shamrock Shake

The most notable of McDonald's 2017 Shamrock Shake varieties was the Chocolate Shamrock Shake, a double layer mint and chocolate milkshake. Fast Company explained that in order to create a shake-drinking experience like no other, McDonald's hired a team of aerospace engineers from Google and NASA to create a straw that could suck both layers of the Chocolate Shamrock Shake at the same time. "My first reaction was, that doesn't seem too hard," the straw's principal engineer, Seth Newburg, told Fast Company. "We could have a double straw — one longer, one shorter. No problem." This however only worked when the shake was completely full. After a series of trial and error, the team engineered a J-shaped straw with two flute holes that allowed for double drinking in a single straw from the top to the bottom, instead of from the bottom to the top.

"If it's a success, it could be mass-produced for a wider market in the future," Fast Company wrote in 2017. The special straws were distributed for free with the Chocolate Shamrock Shake to an 80-city test market, but have not been brought back since. As it turned out, McDonald's customers were happy to enjoy the OG Shamrock Shake with a regular straw.