Taste History Today: Ray’s Candy Store Egg Creams

eggcreamsLemon-lime, mango, coffee, and strawberry egg creams.

I went on an egg cream tasting rampage with some friends from the Brooklyn Farmacy. Egg Creams are  a classic New York drink, invented somewhere on the Lower East Side  (although it’s debatable where).  The drink is made from seltzer, milk, and Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry Syrup (made in Brooklyn).  It’s best crafted at a soda fountain because the pressurized seltzer gives the drink a creamy, foamy head.  It’s sweet and refreshing and great when it’s hot (or chilly and rainy, like the day we had them).

Purists say there’s only one way to make an egg cream, but I’ve got a problem with purists.  I believe recipes are meant to change and evolve; so while an egg cream made with Fox’s Syrup is traditional, Ray’s Candy Store in the East Village changed up the old recipe by offering mango, tamarind,  lemon-lime, coffee, and strawberry egg creams, to name a few.  I liked the strawberry the best, because it reminded me of Frankenberry cereal.  I’m classy.

I’ve also made egg creams with the addition of rum or vodka, which was great.  And if you keep a careful eye on the Farmacy’s menu, you may one day see nouveau flavored egg creams pop up there, too.

UPDATE: I’ve heard many stories about where the egg cream came from, and how it got its name–what have you heard? What are you memories?  Please share in the comment below.

7 thoughts on “Taste History Today: Ray’s Candy Store Egg Creams

  1. I had to look these up on allrecipes. OK, now that I feel a little more up to speed — where’s the egg? Why do you (they?, thems?, y’all?, whom?) call it an *egg* cream? Where did the egg come from? Where did it go? Is it strictly New York, or do they have them in Boston/ Philly/ etc.? Please forgive the honyocker, but I’m curious.

    • No apologies necessary– I should have included more info for the uninitiated in my original post! Like a lot of iconic foods, no one is quiet sure the answers to all of these questions. It was invented in New York sometime in the early 20th century, and is pretty specific to Manhattan and Brooklyn; I’ve never seen it in other cities although someone out there might be able to correct me.

      There’s a lot of little anecdotes about how it got its name–again, some other readers might be able to provide some–but the one that makes the most sense to me is the fact that the foamy top on the drink looks like meringue (egg) and the drink has a creamy mouth-feel.

      I hope that helps–anyone else out there have some more info?

  2. I have heard a bunch of etymologies for egg cream. One is that many small groceries were run by (or sold to) German folks and had signs in the window proclaiming they had “real milk” “echt cream”.
    The other tale I heard was that there was a fashionable french drink, made to this recipe or thereabouts called “chocolate et creme” and the words got slurred together as the drink got popular.

    Mango egg cream sounds amazing, like a lighter mango lassi!

  3. My favorite book as a child was Harriet the Spy, and I remember she would drink chocolate egg creams after school. I always wondered what they were like. I’m going to New York this weekend for the first time ever, maybe I’ll get to try one!

  4. i heard that it was because the drink was created during the depression when things such as eggs were a luxury, so calling it an “egg cream” made it sound decadent but in reality there was nothing eggy about it.

  5. Pingback: The Soda Fountain: The Founding Father of Seltzer & A Brooklyn Egg Cream « Four Pounds Flour

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