What makes eggnog eggnog? Nominally: cream, milk, sugar, eggs and nutmeg, often with a dose of bourbon, rum or Cognac (or all three). However when the Punch crew lately amassed greater than a dozen store-bought nogs to pattern, we discovered few that contained the entire anticipated substances. Three had been dairy-free, and several other skipped the precise egg; one was described as “eggnog-flavored milk” versus the real article. However that wasn’t essentially a foul factor. In the case of this drink, it’s a vibe, moderately than a set components, that we’re on the lookout for: a creamy texture, a touch of vanilla, sufficient spice to learn as a vacation deal with. In different phrases, a drink that tastes like melted ice cream.
After making an attempt 13 commercially obtainable variations, we discovered the three that had been the perfect for consuming on their very own, spiking and even throwing right into a New Orleans–type Eggnog Daiquiri. Listed here are those to search for.
A traditional for a purpose, Hood’s Golden Eggnog had the suitable creamy, well-integrated texture and nutmeg taste. Discovered for as little as $2.50 for a quart, this reasonably priced possibility is essentially the most archetypal of the group (one taster described it as “nostalgic”), although additionally it is one of many sweetest that we sampled. However, hey, it’s the vacations.
A number of eggnogs we tasted had been too runny and skinny or tried to make up for an absence of physique (finest supplied by actual cream and eggs) with gummy stabilizers. Maybe that’s why this feature, made merely with milk, cream, eggs, vanilla and spices, is self-described as “eggnog prefer it used to style.” It has a wealthy texture and taste paying homage to cake batter, with a touch of salt to tie the entire thing collectively. Think about this a special-occasion eggnog—it’s one of the crucial costly we tried. Arethusa solely makes a couple of limited-run releases a 12 months, so if it’s at your native retailer, seize it.
Within the dairy-free subset of eggnogs, unsurprisingly, many lacked the spherical, decadent texture of the normal drink. Some had been chalky, popping out of the carton separated (even after shaking) or had been too skinny, studying extra like cereal milk than eggnog. (Almond Breeze’s nutty take on the drink was an exception; full-bodied and spiced, it’s price selecting up for any vegan drinkers.) Whereas not milk-free, Lactaid’s Eggnog is a stunning standout for anybody who’s lactose-intolerant. Of all of the eggnogs we sampled, it captured essentially the most “melted ice cream” really feel.