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What is the name of Friendly’s cotton candy drink?

Cotton candy is a classic carnival treat that delights people of all ages with its light, fluffy, sugary texture. The sweet spun sugar confection perfectly encapsulates the carefree fun of childhood. It’s no wonder that innovative ice cream chain Friendly’s decided to capture that nostalgic feeling in a new cotton candy flavored beverage.

The History of Cotton Candy

Before we can understand Friendly’s cotton candy drink, it helps to know a bit about the history of cotton candy itself. Stories differ on exactly who invented cotton candy, but we know it became popular in the early 1900s. Cotton candy machines allowed vendors at carnivals, circuses, and more to spin hot sugar into a web-like form and capture it on a stick. The process transformed plain sugar into a fluffy cloud that melted sweetly on the tongue. Originally called fairy floss, the treat gained the cotton candy moniker we know today in the 1920s.

The inexpensive sweet treat has remained a favorite at fairs and theme parks for over a century. Its light, airy texture comes from the cotton candy making process. Sugar is heated and spun at high speeds, stretching the sugar crystals into a weblike fiber. The lack of moisture prevents the sugar strands from crystallizing and gives cotton candy its characteristic fluffiness.

Cotton Candy Flavor Variations

While plain cotton candy provides a light sweetness, vendors have introduced all kinds of new spins on the classic over the years. Cotton candy now comes in a rainbow of colors and flavors, from blue raspberry to watermelon. The flavor varieties emerged thanks to food science innovations. By adding natural or artificial flavorings and food dyes during production, cotton candy can take on virtually any flavor imaginable.

The Creation of Friendly’s Cotton Candy Drink

Friendly’s took advantage of new cotton candy flavors to create a beverage that captured the nostalgia and joy of this childhood favorite. The restaurant chain is known for its innovative ice cream creations and wanted to translate that fun into a new drink concept.

After much testing, they landed on a formulation for their Cotton Candy milkshake. It perfectly balanced the sweetness of cotton candy flavor with the rich creaminess of ice cream. The R&D chefs added a dash of cotton candy flavored syrup to velvety vanilla soft serve. A drizzle of the blue cotton candy topping around the inside of the glass gave it an authentic carnival inspired look.

Release and Response

Friendly’s rolled the Cotton Candy milkshake out to locations nationwide in 2016. They promoted it on menus and with advertisements playing up the drink’s nostalgic fun. The response from customers was immediately positive. People loved the interplay of flavors and the reminder of carefree childhood days.

Within months it became one of Friendly’s top selling milkshake flavors. They found that it appealed not only to kids but also to adult customers looking to indulge in something sweet and reminiscent. Its popularity made the Cotton Candy shake a permanent part of Friendly’s drink menu.

The Taste Sensation of Friendly’s Cotton Candy Drink

So what makes the Friendly’s Cotton Candy milkshake so crave-worthy? Each sip captures the essence of this state fair favorite. Let’s take a look at the key components:

Creamy Vanilla Soft Serve

The base of Friendly’s shakes starts with their signature vanilla ice cream. They use only the highest quality ingredients like fresh cream, milk, and natural vanilla. The result is a smooth, creamy vanilla soft serve bursting with authentic flavor. It provides a rich, indulgent backdrop for the candy flavors.

Sweet Cotton Candy Syrup

The key to infusing each sip with cotton candy flavor is their specially developed syrup. It contains natural and artificial flavors that produce an authentic cotton candy taste. The syrup balances sweetness with nuanced notes to replicate the experience of eating fluffy carnival cotton candy.

Vibrant Blue Color

No cotton candy experience is complete without vivid color. Friendly’s Cotton Candy shake achieves its bright blue hue from cotton candy flavored syrup drizzled around the inside of the glass. Customers see wisps of blue that mimic the look of cotton candy swirled on a paper cone. It’s an eye catching effect that builds anticipation for that first sweet sip.

Straws and Spoons

Thick and creamy shakes require both spoon and straw for the full experience. A straw lets customers sip the melty cotton candy sweetness of soft serve blended with syrup. A spoon scoops up indulgent mouthfuls of dense, cold ice cream. The duo allows enjoying the shake’s smooth and thick textures.

Why the Cotton Candy Shake Became an Instant Hit

Within months of its launch, the Cotton Candy became Friendly’s #1 milkshake flavor. What made this imaginative new drink concept resonate so strongly with customers? A look at fan reactions reveals the key reasons this shake struck a chord:

Playful Flavor Combination

People couldn’t resist the fun of pairing creamy ice cream with light, sugary cotton candy flavor. The mix of textures and tastes made every sip enjoyable. Customers loved the unexpected blending of flavors they wouldn’t have thought to mix at home.

Feel-Good Nostalgia

The cotton candy flavor immediately evoked memories of childhood trips to amusement parks and fairs. It transported people back to carefree days of trying to catch spun sugar strands on their tongues. The shake offered a little escape into the past with each drink.

Splurge-Worthy Indulgence

Thick, old fashioned shakes tend to be reserved for special treats these days. The over-the-top cotton candy flavor made the Friendly’s shake seem extra indulgent. People saw it as worth the calories for special occasions or just when you need a lift.

instagrammable Color

In today’s social media world, eye-catching foods go viral fast. The Cotton Candy shake’s vibrant blue color made it instantly instagrammable. People wanted to share photos of this standout drink made to look like a festival in a glass.

Limited Time Offering

Friendly’s built buzz by first rolling the shake out for a limited time. The “get it before it’s gone” urgency triggered long lines and sell outs within days. People jumped at the chance to try this innovative new flavor.

The Future of the Cotton Candy Shake

The wild success of Friendly’s Cotton Candy shake changed the trajectory of this single new drink. Its ability to spike sales and draw crowds showed the power of experimental flavors. Here’s how the shake shaped the future direction of product development:

Permanent Menu Addition

Once thelimited-time shake sold out repeatedly, Friendly’s knew they had a smash hit. Popular demand made the decision easy to add it to menus year-round. Now customers can enjoy the nostalgic flavor anytime a cotton candy craving strikes.

More Adventurous Innovation

The shake’s popularity empowered Friendly’s product developers to get more creative. They realized customers craved fun, unexpected flavor creations and didn’t just want the standard chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. New s’mores, key lime pie, and cake batter shakes joined the menu.

Inspired New Treats

The cotton candy flavor was so beloved that Friendly’s looked for more ways to deploy it. They developed cotton candy flavored ice cream sandwiches and cones to expand the concept beyond beverages. More candy flavored food mashups soon followed, like Nerds flavored slushies.

Greater Emphasis on Nostalgia

Customer feedback showed the giddy response to flavors evoking childhood memories. Friendly’s doubled down on nostalgic items like updated takes on sundaes named after ’50s diners. The emotional connection to happy memories helps drive sales.

Nutritional Information

With its indulgent taste and feel, it’s no surprise the Cotton Candy milkshake delivers a considerable calorie punch. Here’s a look at the nutritional facts for a small 16 oz serving:

Nutrition Facts Amount
Calories 680
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 12g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 180mg
Total Carbohydrates 106g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 98g
Protein 7g

Just one 16 oz shake provides over a third of recommended daily calories and well over 100% of the daily value for added sugars. The treat packs a hefty caloric punch so it’s best enjoyed as an occasional indulgence. But for a special celebration or just because, the Creamy Cotton Candy shake brings a dose of whimsical nostalgia with each sip.

Where to Find the Cotton Candy Shake

If you’re intrigued by the sound of this flavor packed fair in a cup, head to your nearest Friendly’s to try this signature shake. Friendly’s has over 170 locations primarily in the Northeastern US. Use their online restaurant locator to find a spot near you dishing up this inventive new classic.

The Cotton Candy Shake remains a menu staple, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on a limited time offer. Prices may vary by location, but expect to pay around $4 to $6 for a 16 oz shake.

Order it on its own or make it part of a meal with Friendly’s sandwiches, burgers and classic American fare. You can also purchase it online along with other Friendly’s treats for nationwide shipping from their online store.

Whip Up a DIY Cotton Candy Shake

If there’s no Friendly’s close to home, recreate the magic of their Cotton Candy Shake with this easy homemade copycat recipe:


  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1⁄4 cup cotton candy flavored syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Rainbow sprinkles


  1. In a blender, combine ice cream and cotton candy syrup.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour into a tall glass and top with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  4. Enjoy this sweet nostalgic treat!

The homemade version captures the spirit of the original with the convenience ofingredients you likely have in your kitchen already. Mix up a cotton candy memory whenever the craving strikes.


Friendly’s Cotton Candy milkshake brings the whimsical flavor of a favorite childhood treat into drinkable form. Its creamy vanilla soft serve blended with sweet-tart cotton candy syrup delivers an utterly craveable and Instagram-worthy creation. This ingenious shake concept earned instant popularity for its flavor nostalgia, indulgence, and vibrant hue. The wild success of this inventive new milkshake inspired Friendly’s to keep innovating with fun, unexpected flavor mashups. Though high in calories, the Cotton Candy shake remains a menu staple for delighting customers with a dose of carefree happiness in every sip.