30 June, 2009

Egg Cream In A Bottle?

If you're not from the Northeast, you might not be familiar with "egg creams," the iconic chocolate fountain drink of New York City. Made with U-Bet Chocolate Syrup, milk, and carbonated water, an egg cream doesn't contain any eggs or cream, and just exactly how the drink got its name is something of an etymological mystery.

Can a drink so legendary and so celebrated be captured successfully in a bottle? Well, sort of.

I bought a bottle of Jeff's Amazing New York Egg Cream (by Egg Cream America Inc.) to give it a try. As bottled chocolate sodas go, this one was okay. It was thin and almost flat, and pouring it out made a skimpy rim of whitish foam around the edge of the glass. Although it comes close to the flavor of a real egg cream, a bottled product just can't quite hit the high notes because the wonderful milkfoam topping that develops on a fountain drink isn't possible out of a bottle. Despite Egg Cream America's claim that "Yesterday's egg cream is today's dairy based carbonated beverage and we consider ourselves the next link in the continuing saga of egg cream," I can't help but think that the saga is being written in crayon these days.

Luckily, though, an egg cream isn't too complicated to make at home. Pour about half a cup of whole milk into a glass and add about a cup of seltzer water. Stir the hell out of it with a long iced-tea spoon to make the seltzer and milk combo foam, then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup into the glass, gently stirring the drink at the bottom where the syrup is trying to settle. You'll end up with a mildly fizzy chocolaty drink with a foamy white head. Enjoy it quickly, because it goes flat pretty fast. (Linda Stradley, in her excellent New York Egg Cream article on the What's Cooking America website, says "It is perfectly proper to gulp down an egg cream. In fact, egg cream will lose its head and become flat if it is not enjoyed immediately."

Links:

Egg Cream America Inc. website. Information available here includes online sales.

New York Egg Cream - History and Recipe of New York Egg Cream, by Linda Stradley at What's Cooking America. Very well researched, includes memoirs and citations.

H. Fox & Co. website - Maker of Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup. Seriously, an egg cream doesn't taste right made with any other chocolate syrup.

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1 comment:

Mr. Dave said...

I seem to remember an egg cream being sold in bottle. It might have been the same brand but it used to come in a clear bottle with a tapered neck. I think they were advertised as "Fuzzy Egg Creams." My Ma used to get them for me at the grocery. God forbid you opened them after they had just been jiggling around in the grocery bag, those suckers would foam up for days. Fox's U-bet is the only way to go for chocolate/strawberry syrup for making sweet milks. Ahhh, wish I had me one now.