A smoothie is a blended and sometimes sweetened beverage made from fresh fruit (fruit smoothie) and in special cases can contain chocolate or peanut butter. In addition to fruit, many smoothies include crushed ice, frozen fruit, honey or contain syrup and ice ingredients. They have a milkshake-like consistency that is thicker than slush drinks. They can also contain milk, yogurt or ice cream.
The main difference between smoothies and milk shakes is that fruit is the principal ingredient of the smoothie and ice cream is the primary ingredient of the milkshake.
When the term "milkshake" was first used in print in 1885, milkshakes were an alcoholic whiskey drink that has been described as a "sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat". However, by 1900, the term referred to "wholesome drinks made with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla syrups." By the "early 1900s people were asking for the new treat, often with ice cream." By the 1930s, milkshakes were a popular drink at malt shops, which were the "typical soda fountain of the period... used by students as a meeting place or hangout."
Health food stores on the West Coast of the United States began selling pureed fruit drinks in the 1930s, based on recipes that originated in Brazil. The 1940s-era Waring Blender cookbooks published recipes for a "banana smoothie" and a "pineapple smoothie." The name "smoothee" or "smoothie" was used by books, magazines, and newspapers for a product made in a blender. The first trademark for a fruit slush was in the mid-1970s with the name "California Smoothie", which was marketed by the California Smoothie Company from Paramus, New Jersey. Smoothies from the 1960s and early 1970s were "basically fruit, fruit juice, and ice"; in some cases in the early 1970s, ice milk was also blended in to create the "fruit shake". These shakes were served at local health-food restaurants and at health-food stores alongside tofu, fruits, carob, and other health-oriented foods.
Smoothies appeal to a wide range of age groups because of their sweetness, fresh fruit flavor, and nutritional value. Most are high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Smoothies are often marketed to health-conscious people, and some restaurants offer add-ins such as soy milk, whey powder, green tea, herbal supplements, or nutritional supplement mixes. Smoothies became widely available in the United States in the late 1960s when ice cream vendors and health food stores began selling them. By the 1990s and 2000s, smoothies became available at mainstream cafés and coffee shops and in pre-bottled versions at supermarkets all over the world.
The U.S. sales of milkshakes, malts and floats rose 11% in 2006, this may be due to the increasing availability of innovative chef-designed milkshakes in high-end restaurants. Chefs from "hipster hangouts and retro landmarks" are using "macerated farmers market strawberries, Valrhona chocolate and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla" to make new milkshake flavors. Other novel ideas offered in restaurants include milkshakes made with toasted pecans, saffron-rose water or orange-blossom ice cream, taro root, vanilla beans steeped in rum, Valrhona chocolate and Grey Goose vodka, and vanilla custard mixed with Russian Imperial stout.