January 16, 2018

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Nog your way through the holiday season

Tried and true eggnogs for the Christmas drink lover

Out of all the holiday treats, eggnog is among the most polarizing. You either love the rich, sugary, egg yolk-based drink or you loathe it.

Some purists will tell you that the best eggnog is homemade eggnog. Other eggnog enthusiasts start buying cartons of the stuff as soon as it appears on grocery story shelves in, oh, October.

Either way, an eggnog must include eggs to truly be eggnog. Otherwise, it’s just nog. Or nogg.

On this week’s episode of the Bury the Lede podcast, we conducted a tasting of a bunch of commercially prepared eggnogs, including some dairy-free options and festive, eggnog-adjacent offerings from chains such as Booster Juice and Starbucks. We bravely busted through Nog Clogs — you know, the disgusting ball of phlegm that develops in your throat when you’ve indulged in too much nog — and played fast and loose with lactose intolerance so that you, reader, can make an informed eggnog purchasing decision this holiday season.

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Out of all the holiday treats, eggnog is among the most polarizing. You either love the rich, sugary, egg yolk-based drink or you loathe it.

Some purists will tell you that the best eggnog is homemade eggnog. Other eggnog enthusiasts start buying cartons of the stuff as soon as it appears on grocery story shelves in, oh, October.

Either way, an eggnog must include eggs to truly be eggnog. Otherwise, it’s just nog. Or nogg.

On this week’s episode of the Bury the Lede podcast, we conducted a tasting of a bunch of commercially prepared eggnogs, including some dairy-free options and festive, eggnog-adjacent offerings from chains such as Booster Juice and Starbucks. We bravely busted through Nog Clogs — you know, the disgusting ball of phlegm that develops in your throat when you’ve indulged in too much nog — and played fast and loose with lactose intolerance so that you, reader, can make an informed eggnog purchasing decision this holiday season.

Note: For the purposes of this test, all of the eggnogs were tasted as is, and all of the eggnogs would have been significantly improved by the presence of rum.

— Jen Zoratti

 

Dairyland Eggnog (Original)

(Photos by Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

(Photos by Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Your classic, straight-up store-bought eggnog.

Erin says: (Reading ingredient list) Eggs, butter and... salt? Oh disregard that, that’s how you make ‘Festive French Toast.’ I don’t mind that. It kind of has a weird smell, though.

Jen says: Hmmmm. That’s the eggnog I know and love. It’s very sweet.

Erin says: I thought it was going to be sweeter, to be honest, considering there’s 21 grams of sugar in half a cup. I can see why people like it with rum.

Verdict: It tastes like eggnog should. 10 nogs out of 10!

 


 

So Delicious Holiday Nog

Dairy-free, coconut-based nog.

Jen says: The consistency is a bit more watery.

Erin says: My friend Maddy, who is a pod listener, she texted me about the coconut nog many weeks ago and said, "it’s not that bad."

Jen says: OK, well, that’s an endorsement I can get behind. It smells like eggnog.

Erin says: It’s not that bad, Maddy, you’re right!

Jen says: I think I hate that? But it might be good with rum in it. It’s not so thick and cloying.

Erin says: I don’t love the aftertaste. It’s very synthetic. The more I drink it the less I like it. But it doesn’t taste like it’s dairy-free. It has a creaminess to it. And I appeciate that it’s not going to make my stomach explode.

Verdict: The coconut nog is too coconutty. Thumbs down on this nog.

 


 


Booster Juice eggnog smoothie

A smoothie made from skim milk, banana, nutmeg and eggnog.

Jen says: This looks terrible.

Erin says: The consistency looks a bit like what snot looks like in movies.

Jen says: It smells like bananas. But that’s the only note on the nose. Compared to actual eggnog, it just tastes like bananas.

Erin says: Yeah, I agree. It’s like healthy eggnog. No one wants healthy eggnog.

Verdict: It’s just OK.

 


 

Starbucks eggnog frappuccino

Eggnog, coffee, and ice, blended and topped with whipped cream and nutmeg.

Jen says: It tastes like the eggnog latte, but cold. But yum. Though I wouldn’t say it tastes like eggnog necessarily.

Erin says: That’s yummy. Very yummy. I taste the nutmeg most in that one.

Verdict: Would definitely drink again, though a little too sweet.

 


 

So Fresh Almond Nogg

Dairy-free, almond-based nog.

Erin says: Almond nogg with two Gs. And, in case you were wondering, it’s "an excellent source of holiday cheer" as it says on the bottle. "So fresh, so merry, ho-ho-hold the dairy!"

Jen says: OK, so, that smells real bad.

Erin says: You know what it kind of smells like? It smells like envelope adhesive.

Jen says: I’m going to hold my nose and drink this.

Erin says: Oh Jen is not making a good face.

Jen says: That is awful.

Erin says: The consistency is really well... It’s kind of slimy.

Verdict: Ho ho no. Points for the effusively festive label, though.

 

Listen to Bury the Lede or wherever you like to get your podcasts.

 

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Erin Lebar and Jen Zoratti.

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