Serious Eats: Drinks
Destination-Worthy Milkshake: Braum's Black Walnut
You may be familiar with Braum's from the early career of Ernest, but even if you're not, if you spot a branch of this Great Plains dairy gem on the side of the road, you'd best pull over.
Braum's services its regionally confined 275 stores from their headquarters in Tuttle, Oklahoma (pop. 4294) —they won't go more than 300 miles from the Tuttle dairy farm to ensure freshness. And though what you'll find amid the grocery aisles and burger counter may look like standard fare—you'll find the dairy bar to be truly a cut above.
What you want here is a milkshake, a Black Walnut milkshake, and if you want a real good time, I do recommend you have it malted. Braum's black walnuts hail from nearby Stockton, Missouri—home of the Black Walnut Festival—and they lend an earthy, woody, maple-nut flavor that you'll be hard pressed to replicate anywhere else. (Incidentally, the black walnut's notoriously hard shell makes it exceptionally difficult to break the nut open into intact halves—cracking them instead results in crumbled bits and pieces that are just perfect for ice cream goodies.) This speckled, creamy shake yields an intense, soft-nut flavor you might even call "adult".
Also noteworthy are Braum's chocolate malteds—very rich if on the sweet side—and the straw-clogging strawberry shake. Whatever your pleasure, each shake is delightfully almost too thick to draw through the straw (spoons are for cheaters), and full of local dairy pleasure. Make sure to watch the soda fountaineers hard at work, too—there's nothing like seeing your modern to-go cup fitted with a classic stainless steel milkshake machine collar and pulverized to your satisfaction.