August 22, 2021

The 8 best places to get milkshakes in Alabama

4.5 min read

Growing up, hand-spun milkshakes were a special-occasion treat for “people of a certain age,” like me. (My teenagers call us “old.”)

Scoops of ice cream, splashes of milk, and maybe some enhancements would be added to large metal cups and blended under a fast-spinning rod. Some would be poured into a glass and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The rest would arrive in the frosty blending cup, a bonus.

Modern premixed shakes dispensed from machines sully those joyful memories. But there are still some places that do it the old-fashioned way, often whipping throwback themes, from food to décor, into the entire experience.

And there’s a new trend—colorful, over-the-top (literally and figuratively) enhanced shakes that are perfectly suited for Instagram. Proprietors like Kristal Bryant, who opened an ice cream shop and later expanded as K&J’s Elegant Pastries and Creamery, specialize in modern milkshake monstrosities that are as much as visual treat as gustatory pleasure.

Bryant is a social media queen, amassing nearly 60,000 followers on Facebook and some 26,000 on Instagram (@kjselegantpastries) with posts featuring the milkshakes and other goodies from her store in Alabaster.

Here are 8 places around Alabama that serve milkshakes that will create memories for people of all ages.

K&J’s Elegant Pastries and Creamery (Alabaster)

K&J’s signature Kolossal Jawdropper “freak shakes” have drawn attention from Southern Living, The Travel Channel, Food Network, and home state media. They’re edible works of art, towering above the rim of the serving glass and adorned with candies, cookies, cakes, and fruit. The S’mores K&J, for example, is topped with graham crackers, chocolate syrup, and torched marshmallow. Basic shakes are $3.50-$4.20, Kolossal shakes are $8.99 and the Kolassal Jawdropper (aka “The K&J”) is $12.99.

(K & J’s Elegant Pastries/Facebook)

The Mason Jar (Auburn)

The self-styled “Home of the Extreme Milkshake” features a Milkshake Bar, which only is available evenings Monday through Saturday and at lunchtime on Sundays. The huge, shareable $10 DIY shakes can be personalized with candy, popsicles, cake, fruit, cotton candy, colorful sprinkles, and other treats. You can even make a shake with an Auburn University theme (no tiger milk, though). Regular shakes are $5.95.

(The Mason Jar/Facebook)

Big Spoon Creamery (Birmingham)

Their $8 shakes can be made with any ice cream in stock, but the choices are far from plain vanilla. It sources its ingredients locally and seasonally, including current selections like Peach Buttermilk, Sweet Basil, Lemon Passion Fruit Chiffon, Cookies and Cream, or (in the spring) Honeysuckle-blackberry ice cream. On the current menu, bases for the Beach Bonfire and the Watermelon Sorbet shakes ($8.50) are vegan.

(Big Spoon Creamery/Facebook)

Stacey’s Olde Tyme Soda Fountain (Foley)

Established in 1927, Stacey’s lives up to its name with its throwback soda fountain counter where staff (can you call them “jerks” these days?) wearing traditional white paper hats dispense phosphates, ice-cream floats, cream sodas, sundaes, and, of course, milkshakes ($5.25; malts are $5.50). Ice cream flavors (from Mayfield) can get creative, including Red Velvet Revival. The Key Lime milkshake is on the state tourism departments “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama” list.

(Stacey’s Olde Tyme Soda Fountain/Facebook)

The Yard Milkshake Bar (Gulf Shores, Madison, and Fairhope)

The home of mondo shakes spun an investment from Mark Cuban during a 2019 appearance on the “Shark Tank” television show. Started in Gulf Shores, it now has stores in three Alabama cities and nine other states. Regular shakes are $7–$12. Special “crazy shakes” like the Old School Banana Split (strawberry and banana-pudding ice creams in a jar lined with chocolate syrup, rolled in peanuts and topped with traditional banana split ingredients) are $15 a pint, $20 a quart.

(The Yard Milkshake Bar/Facebook)

Oscar Moon’s Milkshake Shop (Huntsville)

Oscar Moon’s in Huntsville’s Stovehouse development offers 16 signature milkshakes ($7.50) made from Blue Bell ice cream. “Exquisite flavor, generous portions, tasteful toppings … and you don’t have to rob a train to sip one,” the website says. The Chocolate Buzz blends Dutch Chocolate ice cream, a shot of espresso, Ghirardelli chocolate-caramel drizzle, espresso dust, house-made whipped cream, and an espresso-rolled cherry.

(Oscar Moon’s Milkshake Shop/Facebook)

The Cheesecake Empori-Yum (Montgomery)

The unique milkshakes ($5) at The Cheesecake Empori-Yum follow the bakery’s overall theme, featuring a blend of cheesecake and ice cream that is topped with a slice of the bakery’s signature cheesecake (original or red velvet) and whipped cream. Flavor options for these sweet and pleasantly tart concoctions include Pecan Pie, Golden Oreo, Caramel Frappe, Cookies and Cream, and Red Velvet.

(The Cheesecake Empori-Yum/Facebook)

Pop the Top Soda Shop (Talladega)

A favorite among locals and NASCAR fans, the family-friendly soda shop opened in 2014. It’s a throwback, down to the 1950s music and wall-mounted televisions showing reruns of “Andy Griffith” and “I Love Lucy.” With scores of combinations made with Blue Bell ice cream available, regular milkshakes are $3.99. Specialty shakes, $4.49, include white or dark chocolate, banana, and combinations like chocolate-peanut butter, white chocolate-raspberry, and Irish Cream.

(Pop the Top Soda Shop/Facebook)

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Subscribe to the newsletter

The inside scoop straight to your inbox.