Food & Drinks, Pop Culture, What's trending?

What’s Purple, Sweet, And Posted All Over? Reviewing The McDonald’s Grimace Shake

grimace shake trend explained

Photo of PJ Cunningham Courtesy of Olivia Topalian

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer editorial intern PJ Cunningham. Find him on Instagram at @peachycunningham. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

If you’ve been on TikTok at all recently, chances are your ‘For You Page’ is currently full of videos of people trying McDonald’s newest special edition shake and then pretending to experience odd reactions that can be described as everything from whimsical to downright terrifying.

While this purple shake, a celebration of its namesake McDonald’s mascot character Grimace’s 52nd birthday, is hardly the fast-food chain’s first promotional special, it may be its most popular. While there was plenty of online buzz regarding the Travis Scott burger, the Adult Happy Meal and the seemingly perennial return of the McRib for ‘limited time,’ the Grimace birthday meal with its distinctive purple hued shake, stands alone.


grimace happybirthdaygrimace grimaceshake

♬ Zach king tries the Grimace – Zach King

However, despite all the videos, coverage and even a feature on CNN, there appears to be very little description of what the shake actually tastes like. Both myself and those I know were keen to find out. I decided to take action and see if I could get the grimace shake trend explained.

As the brave journalist I am, I decided to risk both life and limb in the pursuit of culinary truth.

I ventured deep into the land of golden arches, undeterred by the apparent deaths of TikTokers that came before me.

This is my story, the Zillennial Zine’s official review of the Grimace shake.

Happy Birthday Grimace, you devious purple menace.

(The Zillennial Zine’s totally real legal team has advised me to inform all readers that some elements of this review are in fact satirical. They also claim Grimace is ‘not real.’ You make your own decisions.)

The Quest for Truth… and a Shake

90S Mcdonalds GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

As I boarded the plane, I felt a pit in my stomach. While those dear to me thought I was only going on a trip to Los Angeles to celebrate the Fourth of July with my friends, my undercover mission was to try this shake. As a proud American, I felt it was my duty to uncover the mysteries behind this shake. After all, if there’s one thing that this nation can agree upon, it is the integrity of dairy-based fast food products.

I knew I would have to get inside the belly of the beast, a purple one in this case, to inform the public.

However, my quest proved to be more difficult than I expected. Despite being seemingly everywhere, McDonald’s proved to be a difficult participant in this saga. At the first one I went to, they claimed that they were ‘out of Grimace shakes.’ While the fast food industry elites would have us believing that the supply chain was behind the mysterious disappearance of the ingredients necessary for this shake, I believed there were more sinister forces at work. Grimace is rumored to have criminal ties after all (looking at you Hamburglar).

Despite the roadblocks, I continued undeterred on my quest for the milkshake. At the second McDonald’s, I ran into more luck. As I began my drive up to the drive-through window, I felt a mix of tremendous excitement and cautious fear. As I took the shake from the worker’s hand, I knew there was no going back.

The Taste and Review

grimace shake trend explained

Photo of PJ Cunningham Courtesy of Olivia Topalian

As the shake’s cold flavor struck my taste buds, which apparently Grimace is supposed be, I was pleasantly surprised. Coming in the same type of cup as its less controversial McDonald’s shake counterparts, this shake was topped with whipped cream.

Since many of the TikToks surrounding this dessert turn tragic before the reveal of the shake’s flavor, I did not know what to expect. However, I found the actual taste to be rather good. With a flavor reminiscent of a mixture of blueberry and raspberry, the shake had a sweet, fruity aroma and taste, alongside the signature ice cream-adjacent texture of any milkshake.

The aftertaste of the berry flavor seemed a bit tart and almost artificial, however, it is worth noting that McDonald’s Grimace shake ingredients list states the flavoring is natural.

While I was half-worried I may explode any minute, or perhaps even start bleeding purple blood, my body felt and appeared unchanged other than my gut, which appeared larger, likely due to the mix of the Grimace shake alongside the Panda Express dinner I ate before.

With nearly 580 calories and 15 grams of fat per shake, it appears that Grimace is not a fitness junkie. Then again, this is a birthday celebration. Let’s live a little!

With both my thirst for ice cream and truth satiated, I can say with self-appointed authority that the McDonald’s Grimace shake is a solid choice for those looking for a new sweet-treat. While the berry flavoring is certainly not for everyone, I found this shake to be something different, yet not too bad.

If I had to give it a rating out of ten, I would say it is a solid seven, which, in my personal food review conversion table I just made up, translates to about three and-a-half stars out of five.

Mcdonalds GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Despite all the wild posts, it would appear that this is a pretty decent shake. Heck, I’d probably get it again to be honest.

It’s certainly nothing to worry about, I’m really not sure what the fuss even was. Maybe people just need to get out more. I think that basically is the Grimace Shake trend explained in a nutshell. People wanted to have fun, nothing more nothing less. Obviously, it has no side effects, it’s just a yummy snack.

Wait… something feels off. My legs don’t seem to be moving. My eyes feel tired. It’s quiet outside…

…and purple.

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