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Top five milkshakes around the South Sound

We’re talking hand-dipped, real ice cream shakes with the option to spike

The Blueberry Old Fashioned Shake from Boathouse 19 featuring Oregon blueberries and brown sugar ice cream. Photo credit: Boathouse 19

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More than any other warm-weather, childhood treat, milkshakes seem to stay with us as we grow up. Many adults who have long outgrown Popsicles and ice cream cones don't have to think twice about ordering a thick, creamy, cooling shake on a hot summer day. As an ageless indulgence, shakes have grown up, too, now popular as alcohol-infused "boozy shakes" or "spiked shakes."

There's certainly no shortage of quality milkshakes around the South Sound. And while plenty of burger drive-ins produce a perfectly palatable shake, instead, the focus here is on spots that serve hand-dipped, real ice cream shakes mixed to order in a stainless-steel shaker -- not poured into a waxed cup from a soft-serve ice cream machine.

First, though, a quick history. It seems shakes' relationship with booze has come full circle. The first mention of milkshakes came in the mid-1880s, when the term referred to a hearty, thick, eggnog sort of drink with whiskey. With the introduction of the blender in 1922, soda fountains started churning out the first malted milkshakes, the prototype for our modern milkshakes, like the five listed here:

Norma's Burger Hut

Drivers on the often-maddening Nisqually stretch of I-5, between Lacey and Lakewood, may have noticed it out the window as they crawled by. Just off the freeway to the West is Norma's @ I-5, occupying the spot formerly called Tiny's Burger House. Under both names, the family-friendly restaurant has been creating quality shakes for years. Featuring more than 40 flavors, typical chocolate and strawberry are joined by unique versions such as B-52, tiramisu, s'mores and caramel pecan. 7210 Martin Way E.; Norma's @ I-5, 10322 Martin Way E.,

Lunchbox Laboratory

Now that this gourmet burger chain has an outpost in Gig Harbor, you can sip your shake surrounded by the whimsical nostalgia of dozens of retro lunch boxes. Boozy shakes are an option here: just ask for your favorite flavor to be "spiked" with the booze of your choice from the establishment's small bar. A standout is the banana cream pie shake, topped with whipped cream and a slice of fresh banana. Other flavors are across the board, from Straight-Up Vanilla to strawberry, Nesquik Chocolate, Nutella, Oreo, mint chocolate chip, Orange Creamsicle, Reese's Peanut Butter and Boston Cream Donut. Outdoor seating is available on a small patio. 4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, B800, Gig Harbor,

Antique Sandwich Company

This longstanding neighborhood lunch go-to is also known for soda fountain favorites, and is a great stop on the way to or from Point Defiance Park for a sweet, cooling treat after a day of summer play. The historic building houses an antique blender, or shake stand mixer, behind the counter where staff handcraft your shake in a sturdy silver mixing cup. Flavor choices are limited, but unique and fresh, often infused with seasonal fruit. 5102 N. Pearl St., Tacoma,

Bair Bistro

Enjoy a shake here at the long, dark wood counter old-school soda fountain in the former hardware store, which has been a part of Steilacoom since 1908. Or, take your treat outdoors to enjoy it in the shade at a checkered tableclothed picnic table. The extensive, retro soda fountain menu includes Italian sodas, ice cream floats, root beer floats, egg creams and -- of course -- milkshakes. Multiple classic flavors are offered in regular, malted or espresso shakes, all made with hard ice cream hand-dipped and mixed to order. 1617 Lafayette St., Steilacoom,

Boathouse 19

This casual seafood and burger restaurant features a deck overlooking an active marina, with Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain views as a backdrop on a clear, bright day. Take it all in with a refreshing sea breeze and a cooling milkshake -- boozy if you prefer. Simply ask your server to add Amaretto, rum, brandy or Kahlua for a "spiked" shake. Either way, choose from an interesting array of flavors, including salted caramel, blueberry, triple chocolate, s'mores, banana caramel and brown cow. 9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma,

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