ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
When the mercury climbs, Phoenicians indulge in cool treats to cope with sidewalk-buckling temperatures. For the quintessential over-the-top frosty experience, try the Tropical Dreamsicle Show Stopper Shake ($16, pictured) this June at ZuZu. Designed to taste like a popular Hawaiian fruit drink called POG, the shake features vanilla Häagen-Dazs mixed with guava and passion fruit purées, and fresh orange juice. Festooned with a mini pineapple upside-down cake, custard fruit tart, orange slices fashioned from Jell-O, a pair of coconut macaroons, an orange Creamsicle on a stick and cubes of fresh kiwi, pineapple and strawberries, this whimsical shake lives up to its head-turning name. ZuZu’s shake theme changes monthly, says executive chef Russell LaCasce. “We have a lot of fun. It’s like, ‘How ridiculous can we get?’”
3538 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
Owner Eva Hofstedt designed her specialty shakes at The Stand ($5.75) to be simple but “elegant.” Using Thrifty ice cream and half-and-half, Hofstedt creates thick and creamy dessert beverages, including the salted dulce de leche shake laced with house-made caramel and coarse pink Himalayan sea salt. The sticky caramel lends a toasted taste to the sweet and salty blend, making for a well-rounded flavor profile. Hofstedt also makes a mean chocolate-chile shake packed with bits of scratch-made, gluten-free chocolate chile brownie with just enough heat to shine through the buttery ice cream. Other specialty flavors include the Banana Stand, inspired by a family recipe for banana pudding trifle; and strawberry, crafted with fresh strawberries.
MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain
2303 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
If you’re up for a dose of nostalgia, make tracks to this midtown soda shop, where you can sit at the Formica ’50s-style counter and watch the server scoop ice cream and blend your old-fashioned shake ($6.99). Choose from 11 Thrifty ice cream flavors, from chocolate to pecan praline, and 99 house-made syrup varieties ranging from blueberry and hazelnut to licorice and dill pickle, which tastes much better than it sounds, according to owner Monica Heizenrader. The shakes are blended with whole milk and, in true soda fountain fashion, presented in a tall glass (with the extra in a metal tin) and topped with fresh whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry. Butterscotch syrup and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream? We’re screaming.