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Friday, March 13, 2009

Jeff's Chocolate Soda

I have been hearing about other varieties of soda-like beverages for some time. Legends have come my way about a northeastern favorite, the "egg cream". Such a concept has always been both fascinating and offputting for me; in my mind, I always imagined some sort of soda/quiche hybrid, and that never sounded all that good. However, the Weird Soda Review is NOT about "good"--it's about WEIRD, dangit, and any beverage called an "egg cream" is automatically weird. Thus, while collecting samples for quaffing, when I ran across something calling itself "Jeff's Amazing New York Egg Cream Chocolate Soda", I was compelled by the sacred Weird Soda Oath to purchase and consume it.

I suspect that something as weird as an "egg cream" has a devoted following, and if any of them were reading this, they would feel compelled to submit their opinions on this particular manifestation of eggcreamitude. In all likelihood, those opinions would be that this was a woefully inadequate example, and that to taste a REAL egg cream, I would need to travel to some secret location in New York City accessible only by a series of knocks and code phrase such as "I'm looking for a certain Dr. Ayigcrim to help with my dropsy", whereupon I would be ushered down dark hallways, catching glimpses of shadowy figures quaffing nameless brews in tenebrous corners. After passing through several dank stone archways of dubious integrity, I would find myself in a chamber hewed of rimed and nitrous basalt, watching a figure in a yellow silken mask exchanging alarming hand signals with my guide to the thin and monotonous piping of detestable flutes. At the conclusion of the ritual, the masked figure would open a box covered with carvings and runes which suggest mind-shattering truths about the true nature of the universe, and produce a dusty bottle whose heady scent produced trembling visions of quaint and hoary sunset cities, where tiny lamps peep pleasantly through mossy shutters. After drinking from the bottle, my tenuous grip on sanity would be forever shattered, and I would spend my remaining days gibbering and capering under a leprous moon.

And THAT would be a REAL egg cream.

But I have stuff to do around the house this weekend, so I'll try Jeff's Chocolate Soda instead.

Where and when: purchased 3/12/09 at BevMo in Escondido, CA
Color: Light brown, opaque, yet carbonated.

SPECIAL NOTE: I hate to interrupt the pattern, but I have to mention this. The bottle says "do not shake", but as I poured it into cups, I couldn't help but notice that it was somewhat thicker/creamier than soda. Then the lumps started glopping out into my cup. I may have to wax Lovecraftian again. The horror! "It wuz craimy, end it tuk a laong time to git aout uf th'bottle, and it had little lumps, lahk my Pappy after he got chainged by them perfesser types what came out of th'sky. Ia! Ia, Cthulhu fhtaghn!"

Scent: definitely chocolate. Chocolate milk or cocoa. Just a hint of bite (carbonation?) in the scent.
Taste: Weird, quite weird. Creamy like cocoa, and chocolatey, but fizzy, with a pretty strong citrus/acid bite. The carbonic acid from the carbonation is very present, and contrasts oddly with the chocolate. Fizzy, creamy chocolate milk with a dash of lemon.
This is probably an acquired taste.

Lead Assistant Taster: "It's like sweet, fizzy cocoa, with...(considers)...lemon!"
Junior Assistant Taster: "Yeah. Cocoa. Like lemon or lime."

It is probably worth noting that this is the only soda I have ever had which felt it necessary to point out on the bottle that it is 97% fat free. I never really considered fat content relevant to soda. Its also the only one I've had which actually supplied cholesterol.
Inspecting the ingredient list reveals that it is sweetend carbonated water with milk, cream, cocoa, and vegetable gum stabilizers. No eggs. Im not sure if that's good or bad.

Quaff rating: 2. I'll bet that those who are egg cream afficionados love this stuff. I'm not quite there yet, but it's an interesting experience.
Cough rating: 3, but mostly from the sight of glops. The taste, isn't all that offensive, though Im not sure about the acid/fizz/cream mix. It is unpleasantly reminiscent of milk and orange juice. But so far, it's staying down.

Afterburp flavor: pretty much the same.


  1. What, exactly, is wrong with milk and orange juice? Are these not the foundation of the highly sought-after Orange Julius? Whatever mysterious magyks used to keep the ingredients from becoming a disgutingly curdled mess may well be applied to this beverage as well.

    All hail Orange Julius!

  2. Indeed, the Orange Julius is a remarkable concoction, and Jeff's Chocolate Soda is not unlike it. Perhaps they do share an alchemical principle. However, I was thinking of what happens when milk and orange juice are mixed by those without the gift, and much vomiting ensues.

  3. We purchased Jeff's Chocolate Cream Soda and used it to make ice cream sodas. That was in May...they were great. Have been continuing to make them all summer. The price, $1.49, for a 9 oz. bottle, is a little high, but the taste is worth it. Never experienced any lumps glopping out, just a consistent liquid. We've probably purchased about 24 bottles so far. Your critique is witty, but I still think this soda is a pretty good product.

  4. If you want to make real a really delicious egg cream at home try this. Make half a glass of chocolate milk. Take any kind of cream soda and stir it into the chocolate milk and there you have a delicious egg cream with a good head.

    If you don't like cream soda try sprite.

    Where the name egg cream came from.
    Here is the truth about egg creams. Years ago in the 1940's in NY there was a popular notion that raw egg was nutrious. So to get kids to drink it they mixed a raw egg with carbonated water chocolate syrup and milk to make an egg cream. This drink was only for kids whose mothers had money. It cost a nickel.

  5. Is the title "kibbitzer" a yiddish word?

    1. Yes, It's a mildly disapproving word for someone who is somewhat intrusive in a not-completely offensive way -- not obnoxious enough to be intolerable. A borderline pest. More narrowly it applies to non-participant at a card or chess game who gives unsolicited advice to the players.

  6. I believe it is, but I don't speak Yiddish, so I can't be absolutely sure.

  7. Re: Jeff's Chocolate Egg Cream Being a Brooklyn native, I feel qualified to render an opinion on this product. First - there were never any eggs in an egg cream. The foam that was formed by the milk and seltzer was smooth and creamy as if there WAS egg white but there wasn't. Second - Jeff's Diet Chocolate Egg Cream has a better taste than the regular one ( I have no idea why ). Third - neither one tastes as good as the original fountain or homemade drink. Fourth - there should not be any clumps in the soda. I just spent several weeks trying to locate said diet drink. Even the rich resources of the computer were of little help. Finally, the manager of my local BevMo found some at a BevMo three hours away. She managed to get them brought to my local store. That's dedication.

  8. If you are purchasing this from afar...yes, shake up the bottle to prevent the "g'lumps", then chill it and let it settle before opening. Jeff's is not bad at all. Egg creams from the local "fountain" was a part of my childhood. Milk and Chocolate Syrup (60%)...add the carbonated water (40%) while stirring for the famous frothy head. Make mine vanilla and use Vanilla Syrup instead...don't skimp on the syrup! Add a dollup of ice cream and you have an Ice cream soda. Yea, I'm from Brooklyn, wanna make somethin' of it?

  9. I didn't get any lumps with mine either, but I sure as heck got the lemon-lime flavor and while it's strange, I didn't find it jarring. This made me wonder what would happen if I mix a Yoohoo with some Sprite.

  10. I was raised on Kayo Chocolate Drink, chocolate phosphates, and egg creams. I purchased my first and only bottle bottle of this carbonated, mystery drink at a local deli this afternoon. Al I can say is "FEH!" Now I finally have a gift for the people that I hate.

  11. 1. "Kibbitz" is Yiddish. It sorta means to chew the fat, gossip, make small talk.

    2. A REAL egg cream (from the corner luncheonette, what we used to call a "candy store;" it sold candy, but also newspapers, magazines, etc., and had a counter and served diner food): pour about 3-4 Tbsp. of U-Bet chocolate syrup into a tall glass, add about a cup of milk, then fill the rest up with seltzer, stirring vigorously as the glass fills to achieve a "head." There were never any eggs in an egg cream to my knowledge. Try this at home; it's absolutely delicious!

  12. I haven't yet had Jeff's chocolate soda...but I recently tried my first egg cream at a soda fountain and all I can describe it as is "carbonated yoohoo". Mine had the very noticeable, soury acid bite of an italian soda that seems to come with carbonated water/club soda.

  13. I love that this one gets so much discussion. All is proceeding as I have foreseen...

  14. Seconded on the u-bet and seltzer. That's the proper way To make an egg cream.

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