"When I was a young man, no bigger than this
A chocolate egg cream was not to be missed
Some U-Bet's Chocolate Syrup, seltzer water mixed with milk
Stir it up into a heady fro', tasted just like silk
You scream, I scream, We all want Egg Cream"
— Lou Reed from Egg Cream
If you ever move to New York — and lots of folks do just that each year — you are bound to encounter the classic beverage that goes by the name Egg Cream.
My coworkers graciously provided egg cream-makin' supplies for my birthday fest. Ain't they sweet?
If you don't see the egg cream in some ironic "deconstructed" form at a schmantzy bar, you'll meet it at a luncheonette or deli (the 2nd Avenue Deli makes theirs in a dairy-free version). Or maybe you'll try one at the Lower East Side Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival that the Museum at Eldridge Street puts on every summer. No matter. You'll find it.
Of course, you could always cut out the middle-man and make your own. They're mighty tasty. And as Lou Reed reveals, it's truly simple process: all you'll need is a glass, a spoon, chocolate syrup, milk and seltzer water.
But first, what's the deal with the misleading name? An egg cream does taste creamy, so that part of the term isn't much of a stretch. But as it turns out, there's some contention about the "egg" in an egg cream.
It's possible that the "egg" came from the Yiddish word "echt" (good), as in "good cream," and that's a popular theory — but knowing how common raw eggs used to be in cocktails and in the drinks at soda fountains, I suspect that original versions of the egg cream used creamy, frothy eggs in the raw... Rocky Balboa style.
I can almost hear the vigilant souls at the New York Health Department shudder as I type that.
But the modern egg cream has not a drop of egg, so relax and follow the authentic directions conveniently provided by Fox's on every bottle of their famed U-Bet Chocolate Syrup:
* Take a tall, chilled, straight-sided, 8oz. glass
* Spoon 1 inch of U-bet Chocolate syrup into glass
* Add 1 inch whole milk
* Tilt the glass and spray seltzer (from a pressurized cylinder only) off a spoon, to make a big chocolate head
* Stir, Drink, Enjoy