Egg cream

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Egg cream
Type Chocolate beverage
Country of origin United States
Ingredients Chocolate syrup, milk, soda water

An egg cream is a beverage consisting of milk and soda water as well as vanilla or chocolate syrup, and is especially associated with Brooklyn, home of its alleged inventor, late 19th-century candy store owner Louis Auster. Most modern versions of the drink contain neither eggs nor cream.

The egg cream is almost exclusively a fountain drink. Although there have been several attempts to bottle it, none has been wholly successful, as its fresh taste and characteristic head require mixing of the ingredients just before drinking.


The ingredients of an egg cream: chocolate syrup, seltzer, and whole milk

The origin of the name "egg cream" is a subject of debate. One theory is that grade "A" milk was used in its creation, leading to the name "a chocolate A cream", thus sounding like 'egg' cream. Stanley Auster, the grandson of the beverage's alleged inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time.[1] One commonly accepted origin is that "Egg" is a corruption of the German (also found in Yiddish) word echt ("genuine" or "real") and this was a "good cream". It may also have been called an "Egg Cream" because in the late 19th century, there were already many chocolate fountain/dessert drinks using actual eggs (e.g. 'Egg Brin'),[citation needed] and Auster wanted to capitalize on the name.

Darcy S. O'Neil, author of the book Fix the Pumps,[2] a historical look at soda fountains, claims that the "New York Egg Cream" is a variation of the original milkshake served at soda fountains throughout America in the late 19th century.[3]

Around 1885 the milkshake became a popular item at soda fountains. Unlike today's thick, ice cream like consistency, the original milkshakes were made with sweet cream (sometimes frozen as "ice cream"), a whole egg, flavored syrup and soda water. The egg, cream and syrup were shaken in a cocktail shaker until light and frothy, then poured into a glass where the soda water was added.

The Egg Cream was most likely a version created to keep the price low, as most soda fountain items were sold for 5 cents, eggs and cream were replaced with milk leading to what we now know as a New York Egg Cream.

Another explanation comes from reports that it grew out of a request for "chocolat et crème" from someone, possibly the actor Boris Thomashefsky[4] who had experienced a similar drink in Paris, which name morphed phonetically into the current version. Yet another plausible answer is that the first version did, in fact, use egg and cream, but due to the food limitations in WWII they were dropped from the recipe. One work from 1859, Domestic and rural affairs.: The family, farm and gardens, and the domestic animals, does include a recipe that consists of barely more than these two ingredients:

"Egg Cream: The yolks of three eggs, and a dessertspoonful of good new milk or cream, add two drops of oil of cinnamon. This is a very good nourishing mixture. The oil of cinnamon is cordial and tonic, and the above has been recommended in lung complaints..."[5]

A similar recipe still was cited at the beginning of the 20th century, but had already dropped the cream:

"Egg Cream:

The yolks of 6 eggs, 1/2 pint of water, juice of 1 lemon, 2 oz. of sifted sugar, a little cinnamon. Beat up all the ingredients, put the mixture into a saucepan over a sharp fire, and whisk it till quite frothy, taking care not to let it boil; fill into glasses and serve at once."[6]

Another from the same year (1915) uses both ingredients, though the intent here seems to be to reinforce whipped egg whites:

"Egg Cream:

2 tablespoons fresh cream, the white of 1 egg.

Put the white of egg on to a plate and beat to a stiff froth with the flat of a knife. (A palette knife is the best.) Then beat the cream into it. This makes a nourishing dressing for either vegetable salad or fruitsalad. Especially suitable for invalids and persons of weak digestion."[7]

Because a traditional egg cream relied upon seltzer under high pressure being delivered via a siphon nozzle rather than poured from a bottle, modern preparation has been slightly altered to preserve the traditional layer effect.[8][9][10]

Similar beverages[edit]

Other sweet soda- and milk-based beverages include the Vietnamese soda sữa hột gà, a beverage prepared with sweetened condensed milk, egg yolk, and soda water.

Milkis, a beverage made by the Korean Company, Lotte Chilsung, is also a sweet-soda-milk drink. It is a citrusy soda base mixed with a little milk. Milkis comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, orange, and muskmelon.

A Smith and Curran (or Smith and Kearns) is an alcoholic beverage, developed in North Dakota during the mid-20th-century oil boom, made of coffee liqueur, cream, and soda water. Other alcoholic cocktail variants that make use of eggs include the sour, the fizz and the flip.

World's largest[edit]

In June 1980, Stuart Grunther and Ron Roth owned a siphon seltzer distributing company in NYC called Seltzer Unlimited. They were responsible for creating the world's largest chocolate egg cream in Central Park, NY. It was 110 gallons in size and the contents were given away. Major media coverage included the AP wire services. The event was sponsored by Fox's U-Bet syrup and the NYC Parks Department.[11][12][13]

Cultural references[edit]

"The Midterms" - the third episode of the second season of The West Wing has President Bartlet telling Toby Ziegler that he was drinking the best beverage he has had in his entire life; proceeding to describe it as a concoction of cold milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer. Toby tells him that the drink is called an Egg Cream, was invented in Brooklyn, and there are some good things in the world that aren't from New England - which 'offends' the President.

In the third-season episode of Seinfeld, "The Dog", Elaine can be seen fixing chocolate egg creams for her and Jerry.

In the television sketch-comedy series Saturday Night Live, an episode in which Jon Hamm hosts features a skit called "Two A-Holes At An Ad Agency in the 1960s" (parodying Mad Men), and the Pete Campbell character offers the clients an egg cream to assuage them.

In episode 3, season 3 of The Nanny" ("Dope Diamond"), Fran, Sylvia and Yetta go together to therapy. When Yetta lets it slip that she got knocked up "by the seltzaer man," (hence, Sylvia is his daughter), Sylvia wonders if that is why she loves egg cream. Niles also prepares an egg cream for Sylvia in episode 9 of season 4 ("Tattoo").

In season 4, episode 9 "Sniper (Part 2)" of Homicide: Life on the Street, Detective Frank Pembleton orders a chocolate egg cream at the end of the episode, only to reject it as "too watery" (leading to speculation that it might be made with skim milk). Pembleton, a New York native transplanted to Baltimore, might reasonably be assumed to be snobbish about the drink.

In season 1, episode 5 "Catherine" of Masters of Sex, Provost Barton Scully suggests to Dr. Ethan Haas that he take the Provost's daughter, Vivian Scully, out for an egg cream. The couple is later seen drinking chocolate egg creams in a diner.

In Louise Fitzhugh's classic novel Harriet the spy, Harriet "didn't really like sodas that much, so she had an egg cream, which she loved" at a drugstore with Ol' Golly and her date.

Track 1 of Lou Reed's 1996 album Set the Twilight Reeling is a tribute to the drink entitled 'Egg Cream'

In the "Rich Guy" episode of Hey Arnold, Sammy Redmond is shown to have a fondness for egg cream, even going as far as to create a robot butler for the purpose of serving it, named "Mr. Egg Cream".

Don Scardino's character orders an egg cream in the town of Fly Creek, Georgia in the 1976 horror film Squirm.

John Turturro's character orders egg creams at the local diner in Fading Gigolo. Although the film is set in the present (2014), the presence of egg creams and other anachronisms evoke the flavor of an older Brooklyn.

In DC Comics' Night Force (1982) issue 10 two characters time travel to New York and sample a chocolate egg cream in 1933 "the last year in which the perfect egg cream was made".

In the 1985 film Heaven Help Us, the neon sign in the local Brooklyn soda shop reads, "EGG CREAM FOUNTAIN."

In DC Comics at the end of the world war III arc, the character Black Adam has his magical transformative word changed from "SHAZAM!" to "CHOCOLATE EGG CREAM" without his knowledge, as it is a word that the character was unlikely to happen upon and say.

In the Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project episode 007 Rockin' and A Rollin' with Wolfman Hotdog, Wolfman Hotdog reads a passages from his dreams and aspirations journal in which he expresses his fondness for receiving fellatio from teenage girls and drinking egg-creams.[14]

Justin Bartha co-created an homage to 1920s radio plays with assistance from Tablet Magazine entitled, "King of the Egg Cream."


March 15 is National Egg Cream Day, which celebrates not only the egg cream but also the many handmade drinks of the soda fountain.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John F. Mariani (1999), Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, Lebhar-Friedman:New York 
  2. ^ Fix the Pumps
  3. ^ New York Egg Creams - An evolution of the original milkshake.
  4. ^ p. 203 Gould, Jillian Candy Stores and Egg Creams in Jews of Brooklyn UPNE, 2002
  5. ^ Elliot G Storke, Domestic and rural affairs.: The family, farm and gardens, and the domestic animals, Auburn, N. Y.,: The Auburn publishing company, 1859; page 102
  6. ^ Thomas R. Allinson, The Allinson Vegetarian Cookery Book, 1915
  7. ^ Florence Daniel, The Healthy Life Cook Book, 1915
  8. ^ - The "Real" NYC Egg Cream
  9. ^ Egg Cream, New York Egg Cream, How To Make An Egg Cream, History of New York Egg Cream, Egg Cream Recipe
  10. ^ Egg Cream Recipes For Classic Soda Fountain Drinks
  11. ^ NY Post June 6, 1980 Page 35
  12. ^ Village Voice Centerfold Week June 4–10, 1980
  13. ^ The SoHo News. June 11, 1980 Page 5
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links[edit]