The Trick to Finding the Best Holiday Eggnog

When I was a kid and we hosted Christmas dinner for our extended family, my mom had a rule: if you wanted to drink pop, you had to split a can with your pop partner.  My pop partner was my cousin Jessica, of whom I have a very clear memory sadly rolling her eyes and saying “MY partner drinks EGGNOG”.

Egg Nog in a mug

Several decades later, my fondness for the sugary, dairy concoction known as eggnog has not diminished. It is my favourite holiday treat – and was always my favourite, even through the ’90s when I was counting calories and petrified of eating fat. I always saved room in my “calorie budget” for at least one Starbucks Eggnog Latte every year.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re drinking low-fat or fat-free nog, a vegan soy version or a fancy organic brand: unless you’re making it yourself, eggnog is, by necessity, laced with ingredients that make it safer to drink and more shelf-stable. That’s not to say some brands use more thickener than others or that some add artificial flavours and colours – they do. And there’s nothing more disappointing than saving room for a special treat only to find it thin, slimy, and lacking the subtle flavour that makes eggnog so incredibly perfect.

(And for the record, I’ve had traditional homemade eggnog and was pretty disappointed. It tasted thin. Let’s face it, who wants to risk raw eggs these days? The commercial stuff, at least the good commercial stuff, in my opinion, is uncontestedly better. Mark my words, because I don’t say THAT often!)

Harmony and organic meadows egg nog bottles

I don’t recommend reduced fat eggnog for many of the same reasons I believe full-fat dairy is the way to go: reduced fat doesn’t taste as good, it’s not as physically or mentally satisfying, and the texture is all off. Also, in general, when companies remove fat they substitute more sugar or additives to compensate.

Now, I’m actually thankful eggnog is a limited time release because, I’m not kidding, it is literally akin to drinking melted ice cream. So if slurping down liquid eggs doesn’t gross you out and you’re looking for the creme de la creme to treat yourself this holiday season, do yourself a favour and seek out an organic brand. My favourite is from Harmony Organic, which is 3.8% fat. Whether because of the added fat or the recipe itself, I find it a lot thicker and richer than the similarly priced Organic Meadows Egg Nog at 3.2% milk fat. It’s not cheap, so please don’t complain in the comments. This is your heads-up that a litre will cost you in the neighbourhood of $7. But maybe that’s a good incentive to not drink the whole bottle in one sitting.

Side note: these are the organic brands available to me in Ontario. There may be others that have found the right blend of flavour, texture and minimal amount of additives that make it worth seeking out.

All store-bought nog will contain some additives like carageenan, added colour and natural or artificial flavour.

If you’re going to have eggnog, go for it. Just make sure you enjoy. Merry Christmas!

Hand stealing a Christmas cookie

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