Egg Cream: "Y'all Talking to Me?"

Nothing could be more purely Brooklyn, New York than an egg cream, right? The drink, yes, but there's something suspicious about the name of the required chocolate syrup, Fox's U-bet. Who says that in New York?

I wonder how long Robert De Niro's career would've been delayed, had he stood before a mirror as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, drawing his pistol and proclaiming, "You bet!"

It comes as no surprise to learn that Herman Fox, who founded H. Fox and Company with his wife Ida in 1900, decided he could make a fortune in the Texas oil boom of the mid-'20s. He didn't, but Fox went back home with a new name for his chocolate syrup.

Appropriately, room-temperature Fox's U-bet pours out a viscous brown-black, reminiscent of Texas light, sweet crude. The syrup is neither too sweet nor too chocolatey.

Most egg cream recipes involve fractions, but I keep the math simple: In a tall glass, pour one inch of whole milk and one inch of Fox's U-bet. Pour in enough seltzer (Topo Chico Mineral Water works well) to fill the glass half-full, and stir. Tilt the glass and pour the seltzer down the inside of the glass until full. Drink it immediately, if not sooner, as an egg cream may be past its prime in 60 seconds.

Egg creams are part of the renaissance of soda fountains in America. The new Café Luz offers the traditional chocolate, as well as vanilla, raspberry, and dulce de leche egg creams.

Fox's U-bet can be found at Rice Epicurean and in the kosher section of Belden's and Randall's.

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John Kiely
Contact: John Kiely