(compilation of posts written 12/10/2008, 12/21/2008, 12/24/2008, 12/25/2008, 12/6/2009, and 12/23/2009)
I have this thing for egg nog. I don’t spike it. I’m not using the nog as a way to deliver more alcohol into my system. I drink it for the intrinsic value of the nog. I have passed this love-of-nog unto my children. Every Christmas season, we all look forward to the great nog migration (when nog passes through the grocery store on its way to its wintering grounds). Egg nog and putting up the tree are a big part of our Christmas ritual.
My all-time favorite nog is Smith’s Dairy low fat custard style nog. It’s sold in containers with nutcracker faces on it. I love this nog. It’s thick and yummy and filled with noggy goodness. (My second favorite nog is United Dairy Farmers’ Holiday nog. As UDF has a severely deficient website and I haven’t yet purchased my own bottle this year, I can’t show you a picture. I’ll have to stop there and pick some up. Last year, they had a low fat nog. I don’t know if this was their only nog but the low fat one is the only one I tried. )
Last night I went to my local grocery store to pick up some nog so that I could drink it and wrap some Christmas presents. To my horror, the store had not a single bottle of any kind of Smith’s egg nog. Deep, deep depression washed over me. How was I supposed to get into the holiday spirit without my egg nog?
So, I picked up 4 different kinds of nog to have my own little nog taste test. First up was the store brand (Giant Eagle)egg nog. This is a full fat egg nog. And it’s ok, but not good enough to justify all of the calories. It was a little watery. The consistency was not much thicker than milk.
In a pinch, I would use this egg nog, but it’s definitely not my first choice. And it contains corn syrup which, in case you’ve been sleeping for the past five years, is really bad for you.
Next up was Dean’s Custard egg nog. It was thick and custardy, and tasted strongly of eggs. That should be good, but it just wasn’t it. I don’t know if my nostalgia for Smith’s Low Fat Custard Style Nog was clouding my judgment, but this just wasn’t good enough to justify the calories for me..And again, this contained corn syrup. Why, why, why must they use corn syrup?
The next candidate was Dean’s Ultimate Egg Nog. Apparently, nutmeg makes it “ultimate”. Since I tasted the custard nog between the store brand and this nog, I went back and tasted the store brand again to see if I was hallucinating. This time, I wasn’t. Dean’s, or someone who does a really great imitation of Dean’s, makes the store brand. The nutrition labels, ingredients, and place of origin for both are identical. And, so is the taste. So, for my review and nutrition facts, you can see above.
So we were down to the last nog. My hopes of finding Christmas cheer in a noggy glass were fading fast. The last candidate was Horizon Low Fat Organic Egg Nog. Doesn’t sound very promising, does it?
It really didn’t sound promising to me either. But,
wait for it…………..
This was far and away the best of the bunch. It was thicker than the Dean’s Ultimate Egg nog and store brand nog, but not as thick as Dean’s Custard nog. If I was spiking the nog, this might be a problem because the final spiked product would be a bit watery for nog. But, since I don’t spike it, this works well for me.
And best of all:
- it’s organic
- it’s low fat *(for nog, I must qualify that, this is a relative definition)
- it contains NO corn syrup
This is great because, while trying to find a picture of my favorite nog for this blog (HEY!!! That RHYMED! Ooh, now I’m feeling a bit Suess-y. Ah, but I’m entirely to lazy to keep that up) I saw that the Smith’s Dairy website has no mention of my favorite nog. They do have a lowfat nog, but it’s not in the old containers with the nutcrackers on them and it’s not called custard style. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! The Horizon eggnog is good, but not as good as the other one.
Now I’m going to have to go try some more brands and styles of nog. There were at least two or three other kinds at the store last night that I didn’t buy. But I’m not going near that pumpkin egg nog. Caribou coffee pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin coolers? Sure. Actually, those things are wickedly addictive. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies? I’m there. Pumpkin soup? Pretty good. Pumpkin muffins? Still there with ya. Pumpkin ravioli? Really pushing my love for all things pumpkin. Pumpkin egg nog? NO! Bad! Stop it! Go sit in the corner!
So, it’s off to buy more nog, and maybe I’ll find some Smith’s Dairy nog and see if they really changed my old favorite. If they did, I might have to start a one-person letter campaign pleading with them to bring it back. I’ll go on a hunger strike (I know, I’d be doing myself a favor. Well, nah! It’s winter. I’ll just wear big sweaters for a few months, you’ll never know).
I am bravely continuing my search for the best egg nog. This past week, I picked up some CF Burger light Egg Nog. This still isn’t as good as my favorite egg nog, which is no longer available. But, I have to say, of the 5 brands/kinds of egg nog that I have tried this year, this is in the top two.
This egg nog is fairly thick and creamy. However, although this is light, this apparently doesn’t apply to the amount of sugar this stuff contains. 23 grams of sugar is a little rough. That’s more sugar than was in the regular egg nogs that I purchased recently.
I still need to pick up some UDF holiday nog this year and compare. I wish I could find Silk nog. I could only find it one year. Cleveland isn’t a really good place if you like healthful alternatives. It’s just the past year or two that I’ve been able to find more than one brand of low sugar, refrigerated soy milk (I’m just not that hip to shelf stable soy milk. It’s a mental thing. I know soy milk isn’t really milk, but somehow, I am a bit weirded out by a milk-like substance that can stay indefinitely on a warm shelf).
One year, I tried making egg nog myself. I’m a pretty solid cook. And my husband is an excellent cook. Between the two of us, we’re able to make just about anything at home and it usually turns out as good or better than what we’re able to buy. This just wasn’t the case with the egg nog. It was ok, but certainly not worth the work or the calories.
Darn, I’ll just have to keep looking.
So, I just picked up 3 new nogs.
- Silk Soymilk Nog (hooray, hooray, hooray)
- Trader Joe’s Light Egg Nog
- Trader Joe’s Egg Nog
On the positive side, the Silk Soymilk Nog only has 90 calories and there is no corn syrup involved. Additionally, this has a really nice nog-gy flavor. On the negative side, this is really watery. And, unfortunately, I just can’t get past the watery-ness. If I drank nog all the time (and oh, dear, I’d like to), I would be happy to give up the consistency to get the lower calories, but since this is a special, seasonal thing, the positives don’t outweigh the negative for me.
First, the light nog. The Trader Joe’s light egg nog has a really nice flavor and a nice consistency. It isn’t as thick as the Dean’s Golden Custard nog, but I think this is a good thing. Unfortunately, and I really can’t understand this, there is corn syrup. What’s up with that Trader Joe’s? Seriously? Corn syrup in the light nog? How terribly disappointing. Trader Joe’s, I expect better from you!!!!
The Trader Joe’s nog is very good, but it’s full calories, full fat, and contains corn syrup. It isn’t good enough to justify all the calories, or the corn syrup.
So, of the 8 nogs I’ve tried so far this year, the best, by far, is Horizon Organic Egg Nog. I have to admit that I’ve avoided trying some of the types that I’ve seen simply because they have corn syrup or are full calories. There could be a brand that is so good that I wouldn’t be overly concerned with drinking full calorie, full fat nog, but I would rather find a slightly less harmful kind. I swear that I remember the Silk Soymilk Nog as being much better than it was. Oh well, I guess I just have to keep up the search!
So, I think I found it: My favorite egg nog of the season.
I had to go to the drug store to pick up batteries (why, why, why do people insist on giving my kids gifts that require odd size batteries. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but it sucks to have to explain to my 4-year-old that he has to wait to play with his gift. You can’t expect him to open a really cool RC car and not want to play with it immediately) and while I was there, I saw some egg nog and figured, “eh, why not”.
It’s Dairyman’s Holiday Nog. No fancy label. No fancy name. 140 calories, 4 grams of fat and it uses corn syrup. But it’s good. The only egg nog that came close to being this satisfying was Horizon Organic Egg Nog, and the nutrition info wasn’t that much different between the two (except that Horizon doesn’t use corn syrup). Although my egg nog consumption peaks today (and I swear off the stuff after New Years’ Day), I’ll still be on the prowl for different brands to try. My kids are really enjoying the nog-tasting also. Ah, a new generation of nog love.
My husband is an enabler. He just bought me some Organic Valley Organic Egg Nog. It has a lovely vanilla flavor. I just love a GOOD vanilla flavor. Many vanilla flavorings are very fakey and too sweet. This is nice. The nog is thick and creamy. It does not have corn syrup (hooray!) but does contain 180 calories for 1/2 cup and 17 grams of sugar (ouch, but that is around the same as a lot of yogurts so I have to keep that in perspective because I find a 1/2 cup of egg nog to be much more fun than a yogurt cup). I’d definitely by it again.
So, in the past 2 years I’ve tasted:
- Giant Eagle Egg Nog
- Dean’s Ultimate Egg Nog
- Dean’s Golden Custard Nog
- Horizon Organic Egg Nog
- Dairyman’s Holiday Nog
- C.F. Burger Light Nog
- Silk Soymilk Nog
- Trader Joe’s Light Egg Nog
- Trader Joe’s Egg Nog
- Organic Valley Organic Egg Nog
They’ll all good in their own way, but maybe I’ll give making my own nog another go. Or maybe I’ll find some Smith’s Dairy holiday nog. That was my old favorite, but I haven’t been able to find it the past two holiday seasons. Some companies change their recipes from year to year so, maybe if I did find Smith’s Dairy, it wouldn’t taste the same. Or maybe, I’m just remembering something being better than it was. Next year I should throw a nog tasting party. That would be a lot of fun. Just blow a ton of cash buying every nog I can find and taste them all.
Yum, clogged arteries!