Egg cream soda, which despite its name is traditionally prepared both egg-less and cream-less, is an iconic New York City soda fountain drink. While most food historians agree that the drink originated among Eastern-European Jewish immigrants in New York City, there are only theories as to who created the nostalgic turn-of-the-2oth-century beverage, and as to why the name of the drink includes ingredients that are not present. Brooklyn candy shop proprietor, Louis Auster, is most often credited as the creator of the egg cream soda, documented as having served it in his candy shop in the 1890s. As for the name of the drink, some surmise that the beverage originally did contain both egg and cream, which were eventually removed from the recipe in order to save money during the Great Depression. Others claim that "egg cream" is simply a distorted Brooklyn English for "a cream" or an anglicized version of the Yiddish "echt keem," meaning "pure/real sweetness," the Yiddish "echt kream," meaning "pure/real cream," or the French "chocolat et crème." Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that you just gotta love this Yankee drink. At least this Southern gent' does. I think it's a Jewish thing.
Chilled cream (which I brought back to the recipe, if it were ever really there) or milk, and ice-cold seltzer water are key to making the ultimate New York City style egg cream soda. Many egg cream enthusiasts insist on using only Fox's U-Bet brand cocoa syrup, but you can use your preferred brand or make your own. Adding bourbon may be viewed as sacrilegious , but that's my Southern twist. After all, if a Southern guy is allowed to enjoy a Northern drink, he's got to put some Dixie in it. Y'hear? Enjoy, y'all.
Measure 3 tablespoons each of chocolate syrup and chilled cream/milk, and 1-2 tablespoon bourbon into 2 16 oz. glasses. Pour in seltzer until the glass is half full. While pouring, stir with a long iced-tea spoon. Increase stirring speed and pour seltzer from a height to produce a frothy, foamy head. Drink immediately.
Film clip from The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940), Columbia Pictures