New York Egg Cream

A refreshing and simple drink for the whole family.

When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, my grandparents had a bakery in our home town of Cresskill. Across the street was a soda fountain named Dave’s — a place where you could go in for a soda or ice cream or ice cream soda or a variety other things. The counter was formica — I seem to recall it being yellow — and there were swivel stools in front of it. We’d go in with some loose change and walk out with whatever we could afford.

One of my favorite soda fountain drinks was something Dave called a “Gizmo.” It was a mixture of chocolate milk and seltzer. Many years later, I learned the real name for this beverage: an egg cream.

Egg creams are hard to get outside the New York area. They’re probably hard to get inside the New York area these days, too. After all, soda fountains are disappearing, replaced with fast food joints or vending machines. You can’t get an egg cream in a vending machine.

The recipe is easy:

  • 1 part milk
  • 1 part seltzer
  • generous helping of chocolate syrup

Take the milk and the chocolate syrup and mix it together to make a very dark chocolate milk. While still stirring (and this is important) slowly add the seltzer. If you stir just right, it won’t overflow the glass. Drink with a a straw.

A real New York egg cream calls for U-Bet chocolate syrup. I don’t think that’s available around here and, even if it was, I wouldn’t buy it. I never did like U-Bet. I prefer Hershey’s syrup, in the plastic squeeze bottle. Don’t get the “light” version — it’s terrible.

I actually keep straws on hand at home just for drinking egg creams.

I’m having one now. Quite refreshing.

I’m not sure where the name egg cream comes from. Someone told me that they used to put eggs in this drink. I can’t imagine that. I think it might have something to do with the creamy top that appears when you make it just right.

2 thoughts on “New York Egg Cream

  1. You’ve almost got it right. You can’t drink it with a straw if you want the full effect. And you MUST use U-Bet. It’s the only way. You can find U-Bet in NJ, but I don’t know about the rest of the country.

  2. I’ve tried U-Bet but I really don’t like the flavor. I prefer Hershey’s syrup. But not the “low fat” (or is it “low carb”?) kind.

    So I guess what I’m making is really not a genuine New York Egg Cream after all. But it is close enough for me.

What do you think?