The Egg Cream

Of course it has no eggs nor any cream, which you know, are expensive. This drink is sometimes known as a “phosphate” since once upon a time soda jerks put dabs of diluted phosphoric acid in them to give a little extra kick. Sound scary? Actually it’s not, though when I went to look for phosphoric acid in the pantry I found I was fresh out. So I made do with the usuals: chocolate syrup, whole milk and soda. You start by adding about two tablespoons of chocolate syrup to a glass of your choice (Fox’s U?Bet syrup is the classic).

Next about half a cup of whole milk.

Stir that to blend. Here’s where a long spoon comes in handy.

Then add maybe another half to three-quarter cup of very cold seltzer water.

Insert straw and drink!

Straws are critical to consuming fountain drinks, for not only is there a foamy head at the top that gets all over your nose, there’s always a little residual chocolate syrup hanging around at the bottom of the glass waiting to be slurped up. Talk about a June day luxury.

25 thoughts on “The Egg Cream”

  1. Acid and milk appears to be an unusual idea to me. I’d expect it to clod, and that’s not good for a straw. I never tried soda, though.

    1. Hey Uptight!

      The acid isn’t strong enough to create curds, but that’s an interesting thought. Many thanks!

      – Joe

  2. Side shot, smide shot! You had me with the shot of chocolate syrup pooled at the bottom of the glass! 😀 YUM! I suppose you could add a bit of coffee or some espresso powder to the mix too to make it mocha-y. Double YUM!


  3. But Mr. Pastry, without a premium side shot no one can see the very cool variegation from the very dark chocolate at the bottom to the white foam at the top — but wait! What happened to the scoop of ice cream?

    1. Egg creams have only milk in them…but I promise to do something with ice cream soon!

      – Joe

      1. Maybe. But there were those old fashioned soda fountains that made their ice cream sodas on top of an egg cream. I can well remember having one and my father’s approval that someone still remembered how to do it “right”.

        Pretty yummy too!

        1. Forgot to say it came in one of those handled chrome bases that held a shaped glass. The ice cream perched on the rim of the glass and the foam rose a couple inches over the top and slid down the sides. ::sigh::

          That memory is at least 50 years old and maybe older.

        2. Good point, Rainey. It’s not like there were international soda standards that every jerk swore a solemn oath to protect. Different fountains would have done their drinks very differently.

          Thanks for the reminder!

          – Joe

  4. Thats a top-quality ballhead on your tripod, that can swivel 180• and support the weight, I’m thinking Really Right Stuff over Manfrotto. And you gave us a better-than-usual view of your balding coiffure in that resting spoon!

    1. Ya know Dave, sometimes I don’t know why I put up with you people. That gave me a hell of a good laugh. No question that the 40-something me has less hair that the 20-something me, but my father’s Scottish genes are keeping a surprising amount of it stuck to my head (they’re the same ones that give me eyebrows from hell). If I had the hairlines from my mother’s side it would be a whole different matter. Those guys really do look like that spoon! Honestly I wonder what’s reflected there…hm..

  5. This reminds me of a treat we loved as children, in the late 1960s. Add some coffee creamer to a generous tablespoon of sugar, stir, then add raspberry syrup and soda or sparkling cassis lemonade. This pink fountain drink was called “Sputnik” and very popular among Dutch kids at the time. Hey, it was a good excuse to have a straw (which we didn’t get often) and thanks to the name, we felt very much involved in astronautics.

  6. Wow. I come back from vacation and find egg creams. Life is good. (But Joe, where’s the Fox’s U Bet?)

    My maternal grandmother had a candy store on Southern Blvd. in the Bronx. I have only vague memories of it, since she sold it and moved by the time I was six, around 1961. (My first great ambition in life was to be a Candy Store Lady like my Bubbe. I should have heeded that call.) I still have a few of her ice cream soda glasses, long mixing spoons, and banana split dishes.

    I wish I could say I remember her egg creams, but I don’t. But I do remember that soda fountain. And I remember many an egg cream from other candy stores when I was growing up. Haven’t had one in years and years.

    How did you get those bubbles? From the carbonation / phosphate alone? That’s enough? It looks like you’re just pouring soda water from a bottle into the glass. It needs pressure, no? (And the seltzer has to hit the back of the spoon as it’s going into the glass, no? I mean, there’s decades of technique involved here. Are you getting tons of emails telling you about this?)

    We used to get a case of seltzer delivered to our apartment once a week, those old pressurized siphon seltzer bottles. I’m not usually nostalgic about the “good old days,” but egg creams and seltzer, gee whiz. 🙂

    1. Whew! A highly charged comment from NYC! 😉

      Loved the story! I regard to the questions, I wish I could find that brand of syrup here. Hershey’s has to do! Regarding the soda, my seltzer bottle (soda siphon) was running out of pressure in that shot because I’d been squirting soda around the yard trying to hit my daughter with it. I was nearly on empty, but there was still enough soda water in there to make a nice egg cream. So no, the soda itself doesn’t need to be delivered under pressure, just kept under pressure so the gas can’t escape. Bottled soda works just fine, though I like siphon soda quite a lot because it’s a bit mellower. I don’t know if it’s better or just different. All I know is it’s good!

      Cheers and welcome back!

      – Joe

  7. Amazon has Fox’s U-Bet if you can’t find it locally.

    I first heard of egg creams in the James Bond parody where agent oy oy 7, Israel Bond, substitutes them for the shaken not stirred vodka martinis of the original.

    1. On TV I’d presume? Where’d you see that? Sounds worth investigating!

      – Joe

  8. I was wondering what looked off from the pics as I am the worlds pickiest Egg Cream aficionado! As a kid I spent every cent of my allowance on these as soon as I was allowed to cross the street!
    The bubbles should be very tiny- making it more of a creamy head about 5/8″ high- similar to Stout- but almost pure white. Hershey’s is not nearly as good as Foxes- it’t too thick and has has a heavier flavor, and you need to use more for the same sweetness. You have the proportions correct- but need very fizzy fresh seltzer to handle going near 1/2 with milk, to get a perfect light but creamy taste. You won’t need to stir much at all when adding the seltzer. The other trick is to squirt the syrup down the sides of the glass and leave a few streaks not stirred in. Those you scrape off while sipping through a straw to get little bursts of chocolate. Foxes also comes in vanilla, and strawberry (haven’t tried that) and is carried by A+P. I have tried every other syrup out there, and I have to say, I think it’s really essential for this recipe.

    1. Ha! OK BB I believe you! Thanks for the feedback…I shall continue to perfect the Midwestern egg cream!


      – Joe

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