A staple of the New York diner, the egg cream is one of those childhood items that always seemed a little more special than the typical soft drink. And since it contains neither eggs, nor cream, it’s also a wonderful example of false advertising, but nobody cares much about that.
There is much debate over the origins of both the origin of the drink, and its misleading moniker. Popular opinion gives credit to two brother-in-laws in Brooklyn named Nathan Herman and Jack Witt.
Around 1910, they were dabbling in the flavored syrup business and trying to come up with a new and inexpensive drink that could help promote their syrups. To that end, they created the egg cream, a drink that sounded more expensive than it actually was.
That syrup company, by the way, eventually became Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup, and purists will tell you that it is the only syrup allowable in a traditional egg cream. Experiment at your own peril. Here is a pretty good video instructional on how to make an egg cream, just in case you live out of the area and have a craving:
No matter how you like your egg creams, no matter who invented them, the only thing that really matters is that egg creams still exist, at least in the local diner or in your kitchen. They cannot be bought in any store, and that’s not to say that people haven’t tried to market a bottled egg cream; they just don’t taste right unless you make them fresh.
They need to be experienced in all of their frothy glory, just like in those magical days of youth.
If you grew up drinking egg creams on Long Island, I hope you’ll take a moment to share your memories in our comments section.