After years of success in Japan, Shake Shack's spring-inspired treat makes its U.S. debut.
shake shack sakura
Credit: Shake Shack

Cherry Blossoms: an aesthetically pleasing symbol of springtime renewal and rebirth after a long, cold winter. There’s no doubting the joy that comes with gazing at these annual blooms, but what if you could taste a cherry blossom? Well, thanks to Shake Shack’s new Cherry Blossom Shake, that dream is within reach.

First, some background: As it turns out, the Cherry Blossom Shake has been sold at Shake Shacks in Tokyo since at least 2016, if a 2017 press release announcing its “return” is any indication. Over there it’s known as the “Shack-Ura” shake (a play on “Sakura,” the cherry blossom's Japanese name). This year, the shake is available for a limited time in the U.S. to coincide with the kickoff of DC’s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival on March 27th.

Shake Shack notes that the beverage is “inspired by the traditional spring flavor of Japan,” which translates to a vanilla custard base blended with “cherry blossom jam” and topped with pink chocolate curls. Between its pastel shade and the quirky topping, there’s no doubt that the Cherry Blossom Shake is almost as photogenic as its namesake. Despite its natural inspiration, the Cherry Blossom Shake packs a whopping 800 calories.

The vanilla custard definitely forms the backbone of this shake. For a limited-edition offering outside the normal flavor profile you’d find on Shake Shack’s menu, it makes sense not to go overboard. Don’t worry, though, as the “cherry blossom jam” is certainly present. To my taste buds, it didn’t seem all that different from other cherry shakes you’d find out there. But the fact that such a sweet flavor was used in moderation works in its favor.

The pink chocolate curls definitely drive the Cherry Blossom Shake idea home, at least visually. They started making their way through my straw when I got about halfway down the shake, and I was surprised to find they almost melted in my mouth, perhaps because they were so thinly shaved. Any chocolatey flavor they had to add was so subtle that it was essentially overwhelmed by the rest of the shake. A bunch of them clumped up at the bottom, so you could probably scoop them out if you’re still desperate for chocolate after downing a shake.

Overall, I’d say the Cherry Blossom Shake lives up to Shake Shack’s standards. It’s worth a shot if you want to sip on something decadent that’ll make you feel like spring is in the air. I’d even elevate it to a must-try if you’re down in Washington DC over the next few weeks and want to combine fast food and nature into the perfect Instagram post.