Yuppie Egg Cream

The egg cream, as anyone over a certain age who grew up in New York will be happy to tell you, is a transcendent soda fountain drink that contains neither egg nor cream. A strict interpretation of the egg cream contains seltzer water, Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup, and milk. It invokes summers in Coney Island, open fire hydrants, and Steeplechase Park.

The dirty little secret behind the traditional egg cream, however, is that it doesn’t actually taste good: imagine carbonated Yoo-Hoo, and you’re not far off the mark.

But tonight I wanted an egg cream anyway. Fortunately, I didn’t have any Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup, so instead I made an egg cream that tastes good.

I’m sure there are people (including my father, who will disown me if he ever reads this article) who will argue with me that a real egg cream, like the one from that soda shop in Canarsie, actually tastes good. I can’t know for sure, of course, because I wasn’t there, but for the most part I don’t believe these people. I think they aren’t remembering the taste of the egg cream, but the taste of their evanescent and distant youth. The taste of the memory of youth grows sweeter over time. But the traditional egg cream, that just tastes nasty.

Drink this one instead.


Put the cocoa powder and sugar (if you want it sweet), in a saucepan. Pour some boiling water on it and stir it until it is liquid. Pour a little – about 2 tablespoons – into a huge glass. Add an equal amount of the milkfat of your choice. I used heavy cream, just to be a jerk about it. But secretly, anything richer than half and half is a little wasteful, since it will be diluted and overwhelmed. Pour in the seltzer water. Get the bottle really high and splash it around a bit to work up a good head of froth.