The peculiarity of the matter is such that an egg cream contains neither eggs, nor cream…
Brooklyn Egg Creams and Classic Black & Whites are both spectacular singular indulgences. A quick trip back in time for a moment, back to 1900s New York. Back in the day, virtually every block in New York City had what was referred to as a candy shop. Not like the candy shops you would think of today. Back then, candy shops were neighborhood meeting spots. True bodegas. People of all ages frequented candy shops. And in addition to selling sweets as the name would infer, they also featured telephone booths, large newsstands with seats, and a soda fountain. One of the drinks that was often whipped up at the counter of these old-time soda fountains was the chocolate egg cream or Brooklyn Egg Cream as it is better known – one of the Big Apple’s most iconic and nostalgic drinks.
A soda made with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream is called a “black and white” ice cream soda.
When I was a kid, we had a luncheonette in Basking Ridge called The Corner Cupboard. We typically went for a special celebration, and only for dessert. This gem, the only one of its kind in town at that time, featured everything from egg salad on white to banana splits. A trip to The Corner Cupboard was a treat. No matter what the occasion, my choice out of everything on the menu to order was always a Brooklyn Egg Cream or a Black & White ice cream soda. Both were equally delicious, but you always got a little extra with a Black & White – the ice cream. My Mom did not always have the money for the scoop, so many a trip resulted in the gratification of the Egg Cream. I would watch with elation as the soda bubbled away slowly and met the chocolatey refreshment somewhere in the middle of that tall frosty glass. Once the soda was almost gone, I would look around to see if anyone were in earshot of my ‘intent to slurp.’
Celebrate the egg cream and the many handmade drinks of the soda fountain era. A group of independent soda fountain operators have declared March 15 as National Egg Cream Day.
I do not remember candy shops or soda fountains in their hay day. 1970 was when I came along, way past the America that made cola by the glass from syrup and seltzer. I am old enough however, to recall the Egg Cream and the Black & White. These days, the only ice cream being sipped through a straw is by way of a milk shake. And unfortunately, too many of those are made from a dry mix and contain no ice cream at all. Gone are the days of crafting by hand by blending ice cream, syrup, and milk to a froth.
The term soda jerk was a pun on soda clerk, the formal job title of the drugstore assistants who operated soda fountains. The reference was inspired by the “jerking” action the server would use to swing the soda fountain handle back and forth when adding the soda water.
And sadly, Egg Creams and Classic Black & White ice cream sodas seem to have disappeared from popularity along with the fountains and the soda jerks who crafted them. The Brooklyn Egg Cream and Classic Black & White ice cream soda were a singular indulgence. Egg Creams and Classic Black & Whites were built by hand and entirely opulent. The frothy head resembled a third-grade science experiment, lustrous and overflowing the glass. They took time to eat.
Brooklyn Egg Creams and Classic Black & Whites
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 24 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for Brooklyn Egg Creams and Classic Black & Whites
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chocolate syrup such as Hershey's
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk may be whole milk or 2%
- club soda or seltzer
- whipped cream
- Maraschino cherries
*if making a Classic Black & White, all of the above, and
- 1 biggie scoop quality vanilla ice cream
- Using the tines of a fork, whisk the chocolate syrup together with the milk in a tall milk shake glass.
- SLOWLY add the club soda to the chocolate milk. The mixture will bubble and rise to the top of the glass quickly. Fill as much club soda as it takes to get the mixture to the top without spilling over.
- If you are making a Brooklyn Egg Cream, simply add whipped cream and a cherry.
- If you are making a Classic Black & White ice cream soda, Add a biggie scoop of vanilla ice cream to the side of your glass. Top off with additional club soda if necessary. Add whipped cream and a cherry. ENJOY!