Egg cream

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Egg cream
Egg cream.JPG
Type Chocolate beverage
Country of origin United States
Ingredients Chocolate syrup, milk, soda water

An egg cream is a beverage consisting of milk, carbonated water, and chocolate syrup. The drink contains 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.

Origin theories and speculations[edit]

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

Most writing on the egg cream assumes that it originated in New York City and most often that it originated among Eastern European Jewish immigrants. This has led to a variety of claims meant to explain the widely-noted paradox that the New York City egg cream is made with neither eggs nor cream.

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".

Food historian Andrew Smith writes: "During the 1880s, a popular specialty was made with chocolate syrup, cream, and raw eggs mixed into soda water, In poorer neighborhoods, a less expensive version of this treat was created, called the Egg Cream (made without the eggs or cream)."[2]

Darcy S. O'Neil, author of the book Fix the Pumps,[3] 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.[4]

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.

Another explanation comes from reports that it grew out of a request for "chocolat et crème" from someone, possibly the actor Boris Thomashefsky[5] who had experienced a similar drink in Paris, which name morphed phonetically into the current version.

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. Rompope is a similar type of beverage from Mexico.

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.[6][7][8]

Cultural references[edit]

An egg cream

"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.

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

The opening track on the Lou Reed album "Set the Twilight Reeling" is called "Egg Cream".

One episode of the Nickelodeon show, Danny Phantom mentions egg creams.

The 1976 horror B-movie Squirm features the main character Mick ordering an egg cream, much to the confusion of the waitress. Upon getting his egg cream, Mick gets grossed out when he finds a worm inside it. Squirm was later featured as the second-to-last episode on the cult science fiction show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In The Lost City, Dustin Hoffman's character favored egg creams and mentioned the beverage several times throughout the film.

In the Seinfeld episode "The Dog", Elaine is seen making an egg cream while talking to Jerry in his apartment.

The Simpsons S25, Ep14. The Winter Of His Discontent: Marge is talking to Patty and Selma about Homer acting like a senior citizen and it flashes to Homer purchasing an Egg cream, but wanted to pay the olden day price of a nickel, so he couldn't afford it.

Also used in several episodes of "Golden Girls".


March 15 is National Egg Cream Day, which celebrates not only the egg cream but also the many handmade drinks of the soda fountain.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John F. Mariani (1999), Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, Lebhar-Friedman:New York 
  2. ^ p. 111 Smith, Andrew F. "New York City: A Food Biopgraphy,Rowman & Littlefield, 2014
  3. ^ Fix the Pumps
  4. ^ New York Egg Creams - An evolution of the original milkshake.
  5. ^ p. 203 Gould, Jillian Candy Stores and Egg Creams in Jews of Brooklyn UPNE, 2002
  6. ^ NY Post June 6, 1980 Page 35
  7. ^ Village Voice Centerfold Week June 4–10, 1980
  8. ^ The SoHo News. June 11, 1980 Page 5
  9. ^

External links[edit]