Egg cream

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Egg cream
Egg cream.JPG
TypeFountain beverage
Country of originUnited States
FlavourVarious; primary chocolate, but can be any flavored syrup
IngredientsFlavored syrup, milk, soda water

An egg cream is a cold beverage consisting of milk, carbonated water, and flavored syrup (typically chocolate or vanilla). Despite the name, 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 have been wholly successful, as its refreshing taste and characteristic head require mixing of the ingredients just before drinking.

Etymology 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 among Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City. This has led to a variety of theories to explain the widely noted paradox that the New York City egg cream is made with neither eggs nor 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 word echt — also found in Yiddish, meaning "genuine" or "real" — and this was a "good cream".[citation needed]

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]

Another explanation comes from reports that it grew out of a request for chocolat et crème from someone, possibly the actor Boris Thomashefsky[3] who had experienced a similar drink in Paris, which according to his heavy accent morphed the name into something like "egg cream", which then developed into the current term.[4]

Similar beverages[edit]

Some other sweet soda and milk-based beverages include:

  • In Indonesia, a soda gembira (literally, "happy soda"), comprising soda water, sweetened condensed milk, and grenadine. It can use cola instead of soda water as a mega mendung ("Rain Clouds").
  • 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 and comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, orange, and muskmelon.
  • The Vietnamese soda sữa hột gà, a beverage prepared with sweetened condensed milk, egg yolk, and soda water.

Some alcoholic cocktail variants that make use of eggs include:

  • A Smith and Curran (or Smith and Kearns), an alcoholic beverage, developed in North Dakota during the mid-20th-century oil boom, made of coffee liqueur, cream, and soda water. Others in the United States include the fizz, the flip, and the sour. Rompope is a similar type of beverage from Mexico.

In popular culture[edit]


To celebrate the egg cream and the many handmade drinks of the soda fountain, a group of independent soda fountain operators have declared March 15 as National Egg Cream Day.[5]

Media References[edit]

  • In The West Wing episode "The Midterms", President Bartlett enjoyed the beverage[6]:

President Bartlett: "I'm drinking the most fantastic thing I've ever tasted in my life. Chocolate syrup, cold milk and seltzer. It sounds terrible, but I don't know where it's been all my life."

Toby Ziegler: "It's called an egg cream. We invented it in Brooklyn."

President Bartlett: "In Brooklyn?"

Toby Ziegler: "Yes, sir."

President Bartlett: "Not New England?"

Toby Ziegler: "There are good things in this world not from New England, sir."

President Bartlett: "Toby, don't ever say that again."

  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Dog", Jerry and Elaine argue about whether the milk or the chocolate syrup should go in the glass first when making an egg cream.[7]
  • In The Golden Girls episode "The Accurate Conception", Dorothy attempts to trick Sophia into going to the doctor with the promise of a chocolate egg cream.[8]
  • In the 1976 film Squirm, Mick orders an egg cream at a small Georgia diner only to find an unexpected treat at the bottom.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mariani, John F. (1999). Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. Lebhar-Friedman:New York.
  2. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2014). New York City: A Food Biography. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 111.
  3. ^ Gould, Jillian (2002). "Candy Stores and Egg Creams". Jews of Brooklyn. UPNE. p. 203.
  4. ^ Stern, Michael and Jane (Jul 10, 1985). "Egg Cream is a delicacy at candy store in Bronx". The Evening Independent. p. 3B. Retrieved 29 March 2015.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ "National Egg Cream Day".
  6. ^ "The West Wing s02e03 Episode Script | SS". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  7. ^ "The Dog". Seinfeld Scripts. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  8. ^ "The Accurate Conception". IMDB. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  9. ^ "Squirm". IMDB. Retrieved 2019-04-14.

External links[edit]