If you are from Massachusetts, and you are of a certain age, and you enjoy ice cream, I can name a few places that will surely bring nostalgia to your hearts. Friendly’s, Brigham’s, Bailey’s, Steve’s and Herrell’s. There are probably countless others. All of these are ice cream stores/parlors that have closed or have dwindled down to just one or two in the area. But these are the ice cream places of my youth. Bailey’s used to have sundaes that were so messy that the toppings dripped over the sides of the metal fluted cup, falling into the metal saucer placed there for just that purpose (The only place that comes close to this today is Cabot’s in Newton, which I highly recommend). Friendly’s was where I got my peanut butter sauce fix. Steve and, later, Herrell’s was where we “smooshed in” toppings into the ice cream. Brigham’s was the place where my mother would double park, hand me $2.10 and send me in for two cones, mocha almond for her, usually m&m chocolate for me.
If you’re from Massachusetts or really, New England, then you already know that ice cream is a year round necessity, not saved just for summer. But in the summer? For me, there is nothing more refreshing than an ice cream soda. Perhaps you’re not familiar? According to Wikipedia (that trusted source), ice cream sodas also go by the name ice cream float. To me those are completely different things but Wikipedia says, “it is a beverage that consists of ice cream in either a soft drink or in a mixture of flavored syrup and carbonated water.”
If you’re from New York, you probably know what an egg cream is, right? Chocolate or vanilla milk, with carbonation from seltzer. New Yorkers get very particular about their egg creams- very specific about the brand of chocolate syrup, about the type of seltzer, about the milk. For me, an ice cream soda is an egg cream with ice cream on top. The perfect blend of Boston and New York. It’s refreshing, sweet and not too filling. When you’re hot and thirsty, the best part is definitely the cold, not too carbonated, creamy soda part.
I was recently taught how to make an authentic New York egg cream by a native New Yorker. And when I say taught, I mean that I watched while he made it for me. He narrated the whole process and I will do my best to offer that narration as I document it here.
Authentic New York Egg Cream
Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup (no other brand will do)
Fox’s U-Bet Coffee Syrup (again, only this brand, lest you be mocked by true New Yorkers)
Plain, unflavored seltzer (we used the local kind, from Polar)
Gather your ingredients, along with a tall glass and a long spoon. Make sure that your milk and seltzer are very cold.
Now, there were no measurements for this. My New Yorker was able to do this all by sight/feel/taste. Bear with me, we can figure this out.
Mix some chocolate and coffee syrup in the bottom of your glass. Should be way more chocolate than coffee.
I was told that the coffee syrup enhances the chocolate flavor (I do this with coffee powder in chocolate cake so I was completely in agreement). Add a little bit of milk (maybe 1/4 of the glass?) so that you can mix it all together.
Once it’s mixed, add about 1/4-1/3 cup more– enough to be a little more than half the glass. Mix it well.
Now it’s time to add the seltzer. Apparently, you are supposed to hold a spoon in one hand, and sort of pour the seltzer down, over the spoon. Sort of like when you pour a black and tan except instead of having the spoon upside down, it’s right side up. So, do this and pour in enough seltzer to fill the rest of the glass. (Shhh! Don’t tell NY man but I’ve done this without the spoon trick and it’s JUST AS GOOD.)
Once you’ve added the seltzer, give it a quick stir- but not too much, as you don’t want to flatten the carbonation- just enough to combine it. Then? Drink away.
Sweet, bubbly, creamy and cold. Just the thing for a sweet treat. But as a true Boston girl? I’d have to add a scoop of ice cream on top, perched on the side of the glass.
But? You do you. Yummy, regardless of how you do.