Lake Minnetonka Malt and Shakes

Quench your thirst with a cool malt or shake from around the lake.
PB&J Malt from Gold Nugget.

The snow has melted and our corner of the world is turning green again. Thankfully, winter couldn’t be further away and these sunny days are perfect for a family excursion. Load up the kids and head out to any one of these family friendly spots for your favorite traditional blended malt or to find a new favorite with a little more panache. We advise you keep this list handy all summer long for a tasty companion on a warm sunny day.

PB & J Malt
Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille
Make your own concoction from six select ingredients or choose from one for the four unique creations provided to you at the Gold Nugget. Our favorite, the PB & J malt, hits you with the richness of peanut butter-y goodness. A moment later, the sweetness of the strawberry puree shines through. Their malts are topped the good old way with whipped cream and a cherry. What’s even better is that alongside your malt, you receive the old-fashioned malt tin which contains a second round of malted goodness,  a welcome tradition that continues at this slightly more contemporary restaurant. Come in on your birthday and you can enjoy any one of their malts—or any dessert—free of charge! $5.50. 14401 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.935.3600

Butterfinger Malt
Snuffy’s Malt Shop
This classic burger-and-malt joint feels like you’re stepping back into a simpler time. From the classic phosphates, fresh-cut fries and, of course, the malts, you’ll be sure to forget the complexities of our technologically advanced world, if at least for a moment. Choose from more than a dozen ingredients to satisfy your sweet tooth or try the Butterfinger malt (new this year!), sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. This malty production is full of sticky Butterfinger bits blended with locally made ice cream. If you’re like us, you’ll appreciate the concentrated treat of candy bar bits at the bottom after you’ve spooned up the last of this blended drink. The half size will be plenty for most (a full malt glass with a bit left over), but the better value is the full size, which will fill your glass to the brim—twice. $3.35 half, $4.35 full. 17519 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.475.1850

bunny malt

Raspberry Bunny
Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room
At a place that takes their drinks as seriously as they do at Hazellewood, you’d expect to see some interesting concoctions. The restaurant had a sommelier put together their wine lists as well as develop cocktails such as this one. This spring, they’ve introduced their take on the traditional Pink Squirrel. The Raspberry Bunny is a new-age twist, and one sure to please as a sweet after dinner drink. It’s a mix of raspberry and white chocolate liqueur, and locally made vanilla ice cream, all blended with fresh raspberries. We agree it’s a dessert and a digestif all in one. The drink is topped with whipped cream, fresh berries and a tasty amaretto cookie to round out this modern adaptation of an old classic. $7.95. 5635 Manitou Rd., Tonka Bay; 952.401.0066

Chocolate Shake
Hilltop Family Restaurant
A traditional spot serving up traditional diner fare, they offer three flavors of cool shakes to sip on, including vanilla, strawberry and everyone’s favorite, chocolate. The chocolate version comprises three different incarnations of everyone’s favorite mahogany-colored flavor, giving this potentially mundane shake new life. The chocolate ice cream is blended with milk and poured into a classic shake glass, but not before a generous swirl of chocolate syrup is added for a tasty treat at the bottom of your glass. The shake is then topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips for the final coup de grâce. $3.85. 727 Water St., Excelsior; 952.470.4592

Hand-dipped Vanilla Malt
Scotty B’s
A trip to Scotty B’s will reward you a cool, refreshing and flavorful vanilla treat. The sweet flavor of vanilla and nourishing malt pair so well you’ll forget vanilla is supposedly boring. The ingredients are simple enough: milk, hand-scooped ice cream and real malt powder—lots of it, if you so prefer. Likewise, the friendly staff will also make your shake or malt as thin or as thick as you wish. This malt was so thick, we could literally turn it upside down in the tin without it budging. This option is a winner from every perspective, from the personal attention to personal preferences to the generous serving size. Next time you visit Scotty B’s for some home cooking, don’t skip the handmade shakes and malts. $3.95. 2195 Commerce Blvd., Mound; 952.472.5050

Brandy Alexander
Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge
The bartenders at Lord Fletcher’s know what they are doing. Even though the Brandy Alexander has been around for nearly 100 years, this cocktail is will rarely find its way onto many drink menus. You may have never had a Brandy Alexander before, or you just don’t know where you can find a properly made rendition. Look no further. This mixture of Korbel Brandy, light creme de cacao and vanilla bean ice cream topped with a pair of hazelnuts is a spot-on example of this vintage cocktail. If you’ve never tried one, you will surely enjoy it sitting in their cozy bar, or we think you should order this in lieu of dessert for a sweet end to your meal and a nice warm feeling in your belly. $8.50. 3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park; 952.471.8513

Turtle Concrete Mixer
Culver’s of Navarre
You might stop at Culver’s for a quick bite of fresh cooked hamburgers and french fries or as we can now conclusively state, for their tasty frozen custard. The frozen custard is made fresh on-site, and results in a thick and velvety sweet sensation. With it, you can order sundaes, shakes, malts or their signature Concrete Mixers. They offer a different mixer each day—all told some 200-300 different varieties. But every Tuesday, due to popular demand, you will find the Turtle Concrete Mixer available for purchase. This is an excellent combination of vanilla custard, caramel swirls, brittled chocolate coating and pecan pieces. The drink is then topped with more whole pecans and a cherry. This blended drink lives up to its name as you won’t have any luck consuming this with a straw, so grab a spoon and enjoy. $3.99. 3340 Shoreline Dr. Navarre; 952.471.7500

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie
Ben & Jerry’s
There’s no more ideal of a summer moment than strolling a cozy downtown main street with a cool drink in hand. The strawberry lemonade is a little different at the downtown Wayzata Ben & Jerry’s. They blend lemon sorbet with lemonade and strawberries for a cool mix of fruity sweetness and sour citrus. The additional sorbet makes all the difference in the world. This drink is more substantial than your typical strawberry lemonade while still refreshing. Grab a straw and head out around the town gazing into storefronts and over the inviting water of Wayzata Bay. $4.49. 539 E. Lake St., First Floor, Wayzata; 952.473.1705

Editor’s Note: Adele’s Frozen Custard and the Minnetonka Drive In are two other hot spots for blended drinks on a warm summer’s day. They were not open at the time of this review, but will gladly help you with your fix for a cool blended shake or a tasty malt.