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Hamilton Beach Commercial Blog


Concrete Shakes vs. Classic Milkshakes (and the Best Drink Mixer for Both)

10:51 AM on May 13, 2024

shutterstock_2195312009Thin enough to be slurpable? Or thick enough to be spoonable?

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect shake, whether it’s a classic diner drink with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry or a super-thick concrete shake with five different mix-ins. Both are popular additions to any dessert menu. All you need is the right milkshake machine to mix them.

What defines a milkshake?

The classic milkshake has just two ingredients: hard scooped ice cream and milk. Put them together in a steel tumbler and blend with a commercial milkshake machine, like Hamilton Beach Commercial’s iconic Single-Spindle Drink Mixer. Flavored syrups and malted milk powder are optional. In a traditional diner setting, the milkshake is served in a tall glass alongside whatever’s left over in the steel cup.

(Why is it called a “milkshake,” anyway? Because before Hamilton Beach introduced the Cyclone Drink Mixer in 1911, milkshakes were made from crushed ice, sugar, milk and flavorings, shaken together like a cocktail.)

The key characteristic of a milkshake: It should be drinkable through a straw. Even if the ice cream used contains textured ingredients, such as cookie bits or frozen strawberries, the pieces should be small so that a spoon is not required.

The top commercial drink mixers for classic shakes:


What’s a concrete shake?

Similar concept, totally different experience. Like a milkshake, a concrete shake (or just “concrete”) is a blended frozen dairy dessert. A concrete is made with frozen custard, hard ice cream or soft-serve ice cream. It typically doesn’t include milk, but does incorporate mix-ins: candy, fruit, chocolate, etc.

The main thing that distinguishes a concrete is its texture. Concrete shakes are so thick they’re often served upside down, or with a brief upturned flourish. The concrete has a delightful origin story: In 1959, a 14-year-old boy had a daily habit of ordering a chocolate malt from Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, Missouri.

Every day, the teen asked proprietor Ted Drewes Jr. to make his shake thicker… and thicker… and thicker. Finally, the annoyed Drewes turned the cup upside down. “Is this thick enough for you?” he demanded. “If it falls out, it's free.” The boy paid.

Years later, an owner of several St. Louis-area Dairy Queen franchises added candy to a soft-serve concrete and called it a Blizzard. (He gave Drewes credit for the original inspiration.) Today, the concrete with mix-ins has been adopted and popularized by several U.S. chains, including Culver’s (which calls it the Concrete Mixer) and Rita’s.

The best commercial milkshake machine for concretes? We recommend the HMD1000 MixStation Heavy-Duty Drink Mixer. The HMD1000 features both power, with a 3/4 Hp motor that’s capable of blending the most challenging mix-ins, and precision, with a variable speed dial and pre-programmed mixing cycles.

Don’t overlook the agitator

 Whether you’re making creamy milkshakes, solid concretes, or something in between, having the right agitator for your Hamilton Beach Commercial drink mixer is key.

  • Wavy AgitatorThe wavy agitator comes standard with single- and triple-spindle mixers. This versatile steel agitator mixes shakes and other liquids (batter, tea beverages) quickly, while also aerating to increase yield. It’s meant to be used with a steel cup, as the wavy edge can shred a paper or foam cup.
  • The plastic cone 928 agitator gently distributes mix-ins. Its rounded edges won’t tear paper, so you can blend right in the serving It’s best for softer mix-ins, such as fruit. The 928 can also froth milk, which is a bonus for restaurants that serve coffee drinks.
  • The wheel-shaped 929 agitator, which comes standard with MixStation mixers, expertly blends standard mix-ins, such as candy and cookies. It, too, is disposable-cup friendly.
  • The dimensional, stainless steel 930 agitator is a pro at speed-blending the most challenging mix-ins, such as jagged candy pieces, nuts, or brownie chunks.
  • The vortex-shaped 933 agitator rapidly incorporates mix-ins, including larger pieces.


Thinking of adding milkshakes, concretes, or other treats to your menu? Explore all Hamilton Beach Commercial foodservice equipment solutions for ice cream and yogurt shops, bars and cafés, and quick-service restaurants.

Topics: Hamilton beach Commercial drink mixer, commercial milkshake machine, milkshake mixer hamilton beach, commercial drink mixer, concrete shake, concrete milkshakes

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