So the other night, on the way home, my new beau and I stopped by Sarge’s Deli on 3rdAvenue, for one of their open-faced Ruben sandwiches.
(Sarge’s is the only deli in New York currently curing its corned beef and pastrami on the premises, and it was fabulous – tender and flavorful without being too salty.)
We sat down and the waitress brought us a dish of coleslaw and a plate of fresh garlic and half-sour pickles to nosh on as as we perused the menus. As we were browsing I noticed under beverages they listed something called a “Legendary Egg Cream.”
If you’ve never been to NYC, it’s likely you have never had an egg cream. To the uninitiated, the name itself is a little off-putting. Mention to a native New Yorker your unfamiliarity with the drink, however, and your revelation will be met with a combination of pity and shock.
An egg cream is a combination of milk and chocolate or vanilla syrup (U-Bet syrup for the traditionalists) mixed with seltzer. The seltzer and the milk combine to make a froth that looks like beaten egg white – hence the name, and I have wanted to try one since reading Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers in the 1970’s. (The lead character has a taste for chocolate egg creams, and I thought she was super cool.) Despite having lived in New York for several years, however, I was still an egg cream virgin.
Here at last was my chance! My beau ordered a Dr. Brown’s cherry soda and, on his recommendation, I ordered the vanilla egg cream. A few minutes later it arrived in a traditional soda fountain glass with a half inch high meringue-like head.
I unwrapped my straw and took my first sip. Now, I got it! I finally understood that combination of pity and shock.
Cool, sweet, vanilla flavored, a little creamy but still refreshing, with a hint of effervescence… It was delicious! It was like a vanilla milk shake’s lighter cousin. (At 170 calories per 12 oz egg cream vs 340 calories per 12 oz milkshake it’s also a pleasure that’s only half as guilty.)
So, in an attempt to revive the egg cream, and share this old-school delight with everyone, here is a recipe for an authentic New York Egg Cream.
Authentic New York Egg Cream Recipe:
- one half cup whole milk
- three quarters cup seltzer
- 3 tablespoons chocolate or vanilla syrup
Chill a 12 oz glass (If you are sharing with a friend, remember to chill a class for them too.) In the bottom of the glass pour 3 tbs (1.5 oz) of your chosen syrup. Add the half cup milk and stir to mix it with the syrup. Finally, pour in the seltzer until you get a nice head on the glass. Serve quickly with a straw and love.
Note: Personally, I like Torani vanilla syrup which is made with real cane sugar. If you want to your New York Egg Cream to be really authentic, however, you will want to buy Fox’s “Kosher for Passover” U-Bet Syrup – indicated by a special seal around the lid of the bottle.
The reason for this is that, while the rest of the year the U-Bet syrup is made with corn syrup, for Passover Fox’s makes a special Kosher batch of U-Bet syrup that, like the Torani syrup, is made with real cane sugar . (If you are looking to cut back on either sugar or calories, Torani does make sugar-free versions of their syrups which are sweetened with Splenda®. Use of the sugar-free Torani syrup would lower the calorie count to around 70 calories.)