The dog days of summer are here and maybe it’s time to ditch that hot Irish Coffee for a cool Irish Whiskey Egg Cream.
One of the great culinary contradictions of New York is the quintessential Big Apple drink called the Egg Cream. It is a paradox because it has neither egg nor cream.
Anyone who grew up in New York City in the 20th century, like a homing pigeon, drifted towards the eponymous neighborhood candy store right after school. There you could get “smokes,” maybe “Lucys”—loose cigarettes going for pennies—and get a chance to catch up on how badly beaten up the Mets were that day in the New York Mirror. And, of course, you would top it all off with a cool Egg Cream, which might put you back 15-cents, tops.
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As a kid in the heavily Irish-Catholic north Greenwich Village of my youth (or “yute” as Joe Pesci pronounced it in My Cousin Vinny) after school on cold days we would find ourselves at Joe’s Candy Store on the corner of Jane Street and Eighth Avenue. Joe and his wife were substitute teachers in the New York City Public School system and, as a side, they ran the neighborhood safe haven for kids who were not quite juvenile delinquents, but they weren’t angels either.
We were warned away from Joe’s by Mrs. Mulvaney, our sixth-grade teacher at St. Bernard’s Parochial School, which was about three blocks away. The reason being that Mrs. Mulvaney was on the warpath against Joe because he sold “dirty” magazines. Mrs. Mulvaney wanted to stamp out “smut” and warned us of the dangers of looking at filthy pictures of women’s naked behinds which, of course, only encouraged us even more to go to Joe’s after school. Joe was of the egalitarian type—just so long as you didn’t drool into the centerfold, it was OK to look and leer. If it wasn’t for Joe, most of the Irish, Italian and Puerto Rican kids in the neighborhood would have had no sex education at all.
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But I digress. Now that the brutal heat of summer is upon us it is obviously too hot for an Irish Coffee. I suggest instead my recent invention of the cool Irish Whiskey Egg Cream. Around New York City today they have these fancy throwback soda fountains. You can get everything from a Sundae to an Egg Cream—for a steep price. My Irish Whiskey Egg Cream is affordable to all.
How to make your own Egg Cream at home!
There are four simple ingredients—chocolate syrup, milk, club soda and Irish Whiskey.
Take a tall tumbler and give it a liberal application of chocolate syrup.
Pour in about three-fingers of milk and stir vigorously.
Then drop in the appropriate amount of Irish Whiskey, the more the better.
Top off with a careful pour of club soda (seltzer), add ice if you like, then again stir vigorously.
Think of it as a Bailey’s Irish Cream milkshake—only cheaper!
It’s cool, it’s refreshing, and it’s the most Irish thing you can get in the hot summer this side of an Irish Coffee. After three or four, you may go looking for that ghost of long ago—the New York Candy Store.
Thanks, Joe. Your life lessons and the Egg Cream sticks with me fifty years later.
Dermot McEvoy is the author of the The 13th Apostle: A Novel of Michael Collins and the Irish Uprising and Our Lady of Greenwich Village, both now available in paperback, Kindle and Audio from Skyhorse Publishing. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.dermotmcevoy.com. Follow The 13th Apostle on Facebook.