August 7, 2008 6 Comments
We all have our own New York. The New York of our youth, or the one we’ve adopted. The one we love or the one we hate. You’re welcome to yours, but my New York is the real New York (note the New York attitude). From time to time I’ll deign to share some of my New York with you.
My New York: The Egg Cream
Also known as the Chocolate Egg Cream, it contains neither egg nor cream (“tawk amongst yerselves”), and is proffered as the quintessential NYC beverage. It is also the one whose simple recipe is most often passed along as gospel — incorrectly.
The ingredients are simple: milk, chocolate syrup (more on that later) and seltzer (ditto). The trick is in the execution.
First up, the ingredients:
- Milk (whole milk, please, as close to the kind the milk man used to deliver to our doorstep left in those utilitarian metal boxes)
- Chocolate syrup: You want a real NY Egg Cream? Fox’s U-Bet syrup is what you need. No, it’s not the best on the market, it’s a bit runny and has an inconsistent texture at times, but we’re talkin’ real Lower East Side Egg Creams here — not some fancy white-bread suburban version.
- Seltzer. Yes, Seltzer. Not Club Soda. Not Perrier or club soda or even Pelligrino =:o Seltzer (preferably in the fountain-head bottle)
The big mistake people make (and others swear by) is in the order of the ingredients. They typically say (yes, even the “experts”): Milk, syrup, seltzer and then stir. No. No, no, no, no! This does not produce an egg cream! It produces a chocolate soda with milk – blech!
Now, the correct method:
Milk (about a 1/2 inch of the glass)
Seltzer, until about an inch from the top of the glass
The carbonation will cause a white creamy head to rise to the top (leave the spoon in the glass!)
Then, carefully, slowly, with precision, pour the Fox’s U-Bet into the glass – pour it just inside the edge of the glass; do not disturb the creamy white head!
You see, it’s all about the head. It needs to be fluffy and white — reminiscent of meringue created from beaten egg whites (hence the egg reference).
Note: Even Fox’s recipe for an egg cream on its web site is wrong. It emphasizes the chocolate (as we say in French, ‘Quelle surprise’) and not the cream.
If you are ever offered an egg cream and the head is an everything-mixed-together sticky-brown — throw it in the face of the one who committed the blasphemous act of giving it to you.
Tell ’em Ron, from New York city, says “Hi”