Dutch Cream – a 12 Bottle Bar Original
1.5 oz Genever
U-Bet Chocolate Syrup
To a large glass, add about 0.5 inch chocolate syrup.
Next, add milk, filling glass to the halfway mark.
Do NOT stir.
Slow add club soda while moving a bar spoon quickly up and down in the glass.
Continue until glass is overflowing and proper chocolate drink with white foamy head has been achieved.
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It’s hard to say where inspiration comes from — most of the time, that is. With the Dutch Cream, I can tell you exactly how it popped into my head and, subsequently, onto the 12 Bottle Bar menu.
Spark Number One. I was catching up on episodes of the show Justified, in which one of the characters, a native New Yorker, is obsessed with Egg Creams. Being highly suggestible when it comes to food cravings, I suddenly had a hankering for the soda fountain classic. I had never had one, but the way they were described, I found them irresistible. Scouring the web for recipes and YouTube for technique videos, a few hours later, I sat with tall, delicious beverage in hand.
Spark Number Two. Philip Duff, one of the Amsterdam’s — and the world’s — great bartenders and Dutch gin experts had contributed the Genever Alexander to my wife’s forthcoming book on Gin. Upon trying the drink, I was surprised at how well the malty Genever married with Creme de Cacao.
Spark Number Three. The Egg Cream is a New York fountain staple. Of course, greater New York was originally the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (not to overlook the native inhabitants, of course). A Dutch egg cream — why not? I could take one of the city’s greatest drink creations and bring to it an even deeper history and tradition. This, in my mind, gave the concoction the integrity it needed to justify itself.
With those three moments of impetus behind me, I ultimately found myself enjoying the first of many Dutch Creams. The only real experimentation here — as the egg cream base was solid as is — was how much Genever to include. As always, I try to find that point of balance where the alcohol is neither lost nor overpowering. Your palate may differ, but in a home-size egg cream, 1.5 oz of spirit hit the mark for me. The result is clearly an alcoholic beverage, but the maltiness of the Genever brings a quality to the equation that is reminiscent of premium, high cacao percentage chocolate. Combined with the effervescence of the egg cream, the Genever produces something that no other spirit can achieve — an earthy, dark delicacy.
For a proper New York egg cream, many claim that there is no substitute for Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup. If you can’t find it (if you’re in Los Angeles, go to Gelson’s) and you’re not serving native New Yorkers, feel free to use another high quality syrup. It’ll be our secret. Videos on the proper mixing technique are all over YouTube. I’ll leave you to your own devices there, but do note that stirring the milk and the chocolate first will destroy the drink. The techniques on this one are there for a damned good reason. Some recommend slightly freezing your milk first — just until it gets “chippy”.
The final stroke of inspiration was to call the drink a Whopper (after the malted milk balls), but for some reason, I changed my mind. I guess I liked keeping the name in the same family as the egg cream while also devising a moniker that sounded somewhat… seedy. I’ll let you pick which name you prefer to call yours.
Did You Know: The egg cream contains neither egg nor cream.