|The origin of the name “egg cream” is constantly debated. One theory was said that they used grade “A” milk calling it a chocolate A cream thus sounding like ‘egg’ cream. Stanley Auster, the grandson of the beverage’s alleged inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time. One commonly accepted origin is that “Egg” is a corruption of the German (also found in Yiddish) word echt (“genuine” or “real”) and this was a “good cream”. It may also have been called an “Egg Cream” because in the late 19th century, there were already many chocolate fountain/dessert drinks using actual eggs and Auster wanted to capitalize on the name.
Author of the book Fix the Pumps, historical look at soda fountains, Darcy S. O’Neil claims that the “New York Egg Cream” is a variation of the original milkshake served at soda fountains throughout America in the late 19th century Around 1885 the milkshake became a popular item at soda fountains. Unlike today’s thick, ice cream like consistency, the original milkshakes were made with sweet cream (sometimes frozen as “ice cream”), a whole egg, flavored syrup and soda water. The egg, cream and syrup were shaken in a cocktail shaker until light and frothy, then poured into a glass where the soda water was added.
The Egg Cream was most likely a version created to keep the price low, as most soda fountain items were sold for 5 cents. As eggs and cream became more expensive they would be removed (eggs) or replaced (cream) with milk leading to what we now know as a New York Egg Cream.
Sociologist Daniel Bell claims it was invented by his Uncle Hymie, who owned a candy store on Second Avenue in New York in the 1920s.