DIY Egg Cream Bar (+ Printables!)
I love egg creams for two reasons: 1) They’re delicious, and 2) they contain neither eggs nor cream, which makes them an enigma of sorts. If they weren’t already a quintessential New York THING by way of, you know, geography, this fact would make them so.
Which brings me to a third reason for loving them: They’re quintessentially New York!
But how did the idea for a DIY egg cream bar come about, you ask? Well. I was at the world’s most fabulous birthday party for my boyfriend’s bubbe a month ago...and there were egg creams. (There was also Hora-dancing and latkes and...well, it was the best early August party you’ve never been to, I can tell you that much.)
Anyway, I saw the egg creams, and I thought to myself, “What about a DIY egg cream bar?”
And that was that.
For once in my life, I’m going to keep this post relatively short (really) (REALLY) so we can get to the heart of the matter (the egg creams themselves!). I’ve included a shopping list below as well as some instructions for set-up, and I’m thinking this would be an altogether lovely addition to any dinner party, birthday shindig, Shabbat dinner, or old-timey-themed gathering of just about any kind.
Find all the details after the jump!
Milk (whole milk, skim milk, and oat milk; egg creams are traditionally made with whole!)
Chocolate syrup (U-Bet is the classic one used in old-fashioned egg creams and it works well because of its thin, runnier texture; you can, of course, go with Hershey’s or another syrup if that’s all you’ve got! I went with U-Bet chocolate, U-Bet coffee, U-Bet strawberry, and Hershey’s caramel. U-Bet Vanilla’s another classic.)
Seltzer (use an old-fashioned syphon bottle if you’re able to get your hands on it; otherwise, individual seltzer bottles (mini Pellegrino / Perrier works!) are probably the easiest way to give each guest a chance to make his or her own egg cream—maximum, “just-opened” fizz is crucial! No, this post is not sponsored by La Croix (though that is a HILARIOUS thought); the coconut La Croix bottles are just dang cute and the flavor works well here.)
Tall glasses (these are the ones I went with because I thought they were just too cute to pass up, and they came with long metal spoons, which I needed for stirring!)
Long metal spoons, for aggressive and effective stirring (these came with my glasses; check if they come with yours!)
Rock candy swizzle sticks, to dress up the table and add some fun
Table runner or table cloth (if only to keep your space clean!)
Serving boards to house each “category” of item (milk with milk, syrup with syrup, etc.) and keep things looking tidy
Kahlua, rum, amaretto…I didn’t include these, but all would be fun to add!
Start by arranging your bar into three distinct “stations” like the ones pictured here. As I mentioned above, I like the idea of using serving platters beneath each station to keep everything looking tidy and cohesive.
Note that if you’re going by the traditional egg cream recipe, the visual order of “ingredients” should probably go: milk, then seltzer, then syrup. But if you feel like confusing everyone, follow my lead and do it ANY OLD WAY YOU PLEASE. (It was just so pretty when I placed everything this way. So sue me.)
Add fresh flowers, a table runner, and whatever other decorative elements tickle your fancy.
One easy way to direct traffic at make-your-own / DIY bars like these is to put the empty cups wherever you want the “starting line” of all the action to be. This is probably fairly obvious, but worth mentioning anyway.
It’d be wise to keep a roll of paper towels out on the table to deal with the somewhat inevitable mess that comes with 84 bottles of various liquids. A small garbage pail on one side of the table is not a bad idea either.
That’s about it! Have fun with it and make it your own.
Nearly every “traditional” and “authentic” egg cream recipe on the internet is different—this one says to start with seltzer in the glass; this one doesn’t seem to care which order you pour the milk and syrup in, but definitely wants you to hold off on the seltzer till later on; this one encourages you to wait until the last second to throw in the syrup.
It all feels very controversial.
Anyway, I decided to stick with my favorite—Country Living, duh—and use our test kitchen’s basic recipe for a class Brooklyn egg cream, reprinted from The Soda Fountain. You can find that over here!
In terms of telling your party guests how to make their own, though, what’s most important is the order of things and a simple ratio. Milk first, then seltzer, then syrup, then vigorous stirring. You’ll want a 1:3 ratio of milk to seltzer, and an eyeballed three tablespoons of syrup.
If at first they don’t succeed, well…that’s what the extra seltzer bottles are for! Anyway, it’s fun to try (and fail, and try again) to make an egg cream. Promise. Don’t worry so much about perfection here—it’s more about the overall experience.
Have fun, and remember to tag me on Insta if you do end up making this!