Classic Egg Cream
Classic Egg Cream

Recreate that old-school soda fountain feel right at home with this classic egg custard.

In this recipe

  • Why is it called egg custard?
  • No Italian soda
  • The best chocolate syrup for custard
  • Use whole milk
  • It’s all about the bubbles and the technique
  • Serve custard in a tall glass

Of all the old-fashioned drinks I’ve come across, custard conjures up the most delicious notions—most of which are wrong. For example, an custard contains neither egg nor cream. It’s just three ingredients: Milk, chocolate flavored syrup and seltzer. These easy-to-find ingredients create a drink that’s more than the sum of its parts.

An custard may look like a milkshake, but the milk’s creaminess is less pronounced and is diluted by seltzer – it has a unique, sparkling and light chocolate flavor.

Why is it called egg custard?

No easy answer here. Some historians argue that “egg” in custard comes from the Yiddish word real, meaning genuine. Others claim it’s a variation on a drink that used eggs and cream – both popular cocktail ingredients in the 19th century. Nobody really knows.

History showcases a vast and exciting trove of soft drinks, most sourced from local soda fountains. The custard hails from Brooklyn, although its exact provenance is unclear, so we’ll never know the full story. But like many famous drinks, custard makers will tell you that it’s the details – the quality of the chocolate syrup and the mixing technique – that make their version superior.

No Italian soda

Don’t confuse an egg custard with an Italian lemonade! An Italian soda is a generic term for combining seltzer or club soda, a sweetener and flavoring, on ice, with an optional tablespoon of cream or milk.

The best chocolate syrup for custard

Traditionalists will tell you that the best custards are made with Fox’s chocolate-flavored U-Bet syrup. (Hint: It’s a syrup, not a chocolate sauce, which is thicker and chocolatier.) It’s been the brand of choice since the drink became popular and made it onto menus across Brooklyn.

Use whole milk

Although this drink does not contain cream, use whole milk, non-skimmed, 2% or a non-dairy alternative. Whole milk goes well with the aggressive bubbles in seltzer. Anything less greasy will result in a watered down drink.

It’s all about the bubbles and the technique

To make a traditional custard, use plain seltzer. You can get it from a can or a soda siphon if you have one! Do not use club soda or sparkling water. Both contain artificial or naturally occurring minerals that alter the taste of the drink.

Splashing water directly into the glass from a siphon will give you lots of bubbles and a foamy finish without much work.

If you’re using canned seltzer, here’s a trick to getting more foam: Pour it over the back of a spoon, then stir vigorously. This will help create that iconic foam top. And whatever you do, don’t leave it lying around – drink it right away! The foam, an essential part of the drinking experience, disappears.

Serve custard in a tall glass

Use a tall glass, like a Collins glass, that holds at least 12 ounces. There will be plenty of room for your drink, plus the frothy top. You can stir it without spilling it all over the place – it’s okay if the foam tips a little over the rim of the glass!

More milk drinks to try

  • milk punch
  • Strawberry milk
  • Horchata
  • Traditional eggnog
  • Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Eggnog)

Classic egg custard

preparation time
2 minutes

total time
2 minutes

1 serving


  • 1/3 cup whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 cup seltzer


  1. Combine the milk and chocolate syrup:

    In a tall glass, such as a 12 ounce Collins glass, add the milk and chocolate syrup. Stir until the chocolate syrup has completely dissolved. A classic custard doesn’t have a strong chocolate flavor like chocolate milk or a chocolate milkshake. If you want more chocolate, add more!

  2. Pour in the seltzer and serve:

    Open a fresh can of seltzer—you want it super fizzy—and pour it into the glass over the back of a large spoon. Stir the drink vigorously until a froth forms on top. You can also use seltzer from a siphon. Enjoy immediately!

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!