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Friday, November 19, 2010

Eggnog Taste Test: Which One's Best?

Like clockwork, every November our cravings set us in search of rich, creamy (and sometimes boozy) eggnog. With the busyness of the holidays, there isn’t always time to whip up a batch of homemade nog, and there are plenty of store-bought brands to choose from—but which ones make the cut? We recently blind-tasted six eggnogs—four dairy and two non-dairy. We tasted them all solo and also mixed with bourbon, and while the moral of the story ended up being that it’s tough to beat a good batch of the homemade stuff, there are a few packaged versions worthy of a little yuletide cheer.

Horizon Organic
This nog is light on spice and big on sweetness with a slightly odd banana pudding flavor that might make it appealing to kids. It’s creamy but not heavy and blends well with bourbon.


Mountain Dairy for QFC/Kroger
Mountain Dairy has a full and creamy body with loads of vanilla flavor, a touch of sourness and hint of mint, which some might find a little out of place. Bourbon, however, rounds it out nicely.


Rice Dream Rice Nog
It’s tough to compare a non-dairy nog to its creamier counterparts, but for those who can’t drink milk, Rice Nog might take the edge off a craving for the real stuff. It’s really more horchata-like with a light, grainy mouthfeel and strong spice flavors. Definitely not made for mixing with alcohol.


Organic Valley
This is a decadent nog, with a very thick, creamy body and lots of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla flavors. Bourbon flavors become very pronounced but not overwhelming when added to the equation.



Silk Soy Nog
Again, a tough comparison, but Silk’s Soy Nog tastes more like a slightly thickened version of vanilla soy milk than a spiced eggnog and becomes nearly undrinkable when mixed with bourbon.


Lucerne for Safeway
This one has the most classic eggnog profile of the bunch—rich and creamy (but not too heavy) with a balance of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon flavors. The addition of bourbon brings out the spice notes and thins the thick texture nicely.