It’s almost Passover, which means I’ve got a hankering for a bowl of matzo ball soup and a chocolate egg cream. What is a chocolate egg cream, you ask? It’s a drink containing milk, seltzer and chocolate syrup — basically an old-fashioned chocolate soda without the ice cream. And it can absolutely be made with non-dairy milk.
The first time I heard of an egg cream was when I was a teenager and worked at an ice cream parlor. We didn’t have egg creams on the menu, but the manager taught me how to make one. He said it used to actually contain eggs (whipped to create foam, like Orange Julius used to do), but not anymore. Not that the raw egg would’ve deterred me.
Back in New York, my favorite place to get an egg cream was Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, a basement dive on the Lower East Side. The waiter would make my my egg cream at the table, first stirring the milk and seltzer together to make a foamy base, then trickling in a stream of U-Bet syrup from high above my glass. He never measured anything, and it always came out perfect.
Just be sure to use seltzer (plain carbonated water), rather than club soda or tonic water. The latter two contain additional ingredients that will make your egg cream taste weird.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Egg Cream Recipe
1/4 cup cold coconut milk
3/4 cup cold seltzer
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup (preferably Fox’s U-Bet)
Pour coconut milk into a 12-ounce drinking glass. Slowly pour in seltzer, using a long-handled spoon to constantly stir until foamy. Add chocolate syrup; stir from the bottom until just blended, leaving the foamy head white.