One of the most enduring parts of my experience living in Brooklyn, New York for over four years is in food. In that time, I was introduced to one of the most delicious beverages ever: the egg cream.
Chocolate and Vanilla Egg Crèmes: Brooklyn’s Best Kept Secret
Go into a diner in Brooklyn and they are hard to miss! They are a Brooklyn tradition since the turn of the 20th century. They were a staple in drug store soda shops. What are they? Brooklyn’s best kept secret: egg crèmes!
What pray tell is an egg crème? A delicious, non-alcoholic soda you can make cheaply and easily in your own home. Dining out and they are not on the menu? Ask for one anyway. Most restaurants with a bar tender have the ingredients right there – they just may need the recipe from you. The Altoona, Pennsylvania Olive Garden recently made them for my dining party after I asked. The rest of my group was skeptical about this Brooklyn invention…that is, until it arrived and we each drank one!
Here’s what you need to make your own egg crème:
12 oz glass
Whole milk (or really indulge with a splash of half and half with your milk)
Seltzer soda water (club soda is more salty, but will work if you cannot find seltzer)
Fox’s U-Bet chocolate or vanilla syrup (Hershey’s can be substituted, but be aware that the Fox’s product is more of a semi-sweet chocolate and Hershey’s is more a milk chocolate that tastes sweeter and less bitter)
- Begin by pouring from 1/4th to 2/3rds of your glass with milk and/or milk and half and half.
- Add about one to three tablespoons of chocolate or vanilla syrup. The more syrup, the richer and sweeter the taste.
- Stir vigorously.
- Add seltzer to the top of the glass, tilting the glass to maximize the carbonated head. A thick head of about 2 inches is considered ideal.
- Stir vigorously.
- Drink immediately.
Some purists I know from Brooklyn say to stir only once and to make the dryer version with only 1/4th of the glass in milk. I personally love the richer, sweeter version created by using at least half a glass of milk and more syrup. You add more calories this way, but it’s a tastier soda.
Egg crèmes can make a great party drink. Simply mix the milk and syrup into a pitcher with a heavily chilled 1 liter or 2 liter bottle on ice on the table. Then ask guests to simply pour their milk/syrup in first and top with the seltzer. Those swizzle stick stirrers are great if you are serving egg crèmes this way. For a fancy touch, chocolate shavings make the perfect garnish. Simply set out a small dessert bowl of the shavings for your guests next to the egg crème ingredients.
Egg crèmes are the perfect balance between chocolate milk and regular sodas, giving you the best of both worlds. They are a delicious treat for your meal, your party, or just the end of a hard day.
So try the Brooklyn egg crème and discover what most Brooklynites have known for decades!