Too many carbs
Too many carbs
Too many carbs
Too many carbs
Just kidding! Let’s talk about egg nog.
Today is December 24th, aka Christmas Eve, aka National Egg Nog Day. Egg nog is a very divisive holiday beverage. Some people love it, more people can’t stand it. If you can’t stand it, I really don’t get you at all and this post probably isn’t going to interest you much so you can move along, have a Merry Christmas and I promise I’ll review some sort of snack food or cheese product again soon.
Ok now that they are gone, seriously WTF is going on with all of these people who don’t like egg nog? It has so many things going for it:
(1) It is DELICOUS. The flavor is like cream and eggs and vanilla and nutmeg and cinnamon and if I gave you a cookie and said it tasted like those things you wouldn’t turn it down don’t even front
(2) It raises existential questions about what its flavor really is and how Starbucks is able to infuse it into seasonal lattes
(3) It goes great both with booze and without
(4) It screams Christmasy merriment
(5) It could, in theory, have raw egg in it if you want to pretend to live dangerously
(6) It looks like milk (which, ahem, you should be drinking more of Mz. Brittlebones) so you kind of feel like you are doing something right when you drink it, even though you totally aren’t and stop thinking that, for real.
For a nog lover such as myself, there is only one bad thing* about egg nog and that is the dangerous combination of it having like a bajillion calories and me not being able to stop drinking it once I start.
Well, this year I was surprised to learn that there is a second, lesser known dispute among us, the minority noglovers, and that is the question of hot versus cold egg nog. Yep: hot egg nog is a thing. I know. This was brought to my attention by my dear friend, former roommate, Curious Shopper enthusiast and noglover April, who recently posed the hot vs cold egg nog question on Facebook. Granted, the responses were like 99.5% cold and then this one dude who said hot, but no matter. My curiosity was sufficiently piqued. I was determined to try hot egg nog.
In the spirit of nog curiosity I also ran through some new and old nog products I have been curious about at some point or another. I’ll get the reviews out of the way first before we start heating stuff up. Here is a summary:
Hood Classic Golden Eggnog
This is the default regular egg nog. There is nothing weird or interesting about it, but I have been drinking so much coconut nog I needed a standard control egg nog against which all other egg nogs could be judged. The one disclaimer is that there were a LOT of regular (and light) egg nogs to choose from. A girl can only purchase and consume so many egg nogs, and this is the one I went with. Also note the unique spelling of “egg nog” as “eggnog,” and oh god I have fallen down the rabbit hole of nog controversies, get me out of here.
Wegmans Holiday Egg Nog
I wasn’t planning on buying this one but when I saw the price I couldn’t not buy it. What is so great about this egg nog that warrants charging $5 more per gallon for it? I had to know. The answer: fat content? whiteness? I don’t even know.
So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk
I have long been a fan of this stuff. Non-dairy nogs are great in concept because they are calorically reasonable and are thus a more responsible vehicle for nog flavor. If you are looking for a healthier nog experience I think this stuff tastes way better than “light” egg nog and has less fat and calories to boot. I think they have also added a new emulsifier or two in the past couple years, because this year’s alcoholic mixability is much improved compared to the curdled disasters of Christmas past. Another recent change is the packaging, and this is one area where I do not approve.
I am conditioned to think that food containers that bulge out like this are harvesting botulism or listeria or leprosy or something, and So Delicious really needs to rethink this new box pronto.
Rice Dream Rice Nog
OK, if the descriptors “brown” “watery” and “rice flavored” didn’t already clue you in, I’ll just say that this product is bullshit and leave it at that.
Old New England Classic Egg Nog
I stumbled across this alcoholic egg nog in the liquor store and couldn’t not buy it. This product is absolute perfection from the standpoint of my laziness, and let’s just get this out of the way: it tastes absolutely fine. However, there are a couple of things that weird me out about this stuff. First: I am skeeved out, in general, by any dairy product that for some reason does not need to be refrigerated on store shelves. Bailey’s and certain permutations of Coffeemate, as well as I’m sure many other products I can’t currently think of, are like this. It is not right and I do not understand it. Second, this stuff is: “Made with Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Rum, Brandy, and Blended Whiskey.” On what planet is it really necessary to put four different types of alcohol into cheap storebought EGG NOG, let alone two different types of whiskey? This is just unneccesary and totally undistinguishable in the final product. Also, while we are at it I’m pretty sure that once you mix Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with Blended Whiskey, you get a little thing called Blended Whiskey.
Hot Egg Nog
And now, with all that out of the way we get back to the point of this post: hot egg nog. For this experiment, I went with the expensive stuff, because if you know April, you know that April is worthy of the expensive stuff. Per her advice, I heated it carefully with constant stirring in a saucepan on the stove* which essentially resulted in a vote for cold egg nog because under normal circumstances I can barely bring myself to heat food in a saucepan on the stove, let alone a beverage.
The Verdict: This stuff was fantastic. I was actually blown away, because not only was the flavor amazing, it was also completely familiar: hot egg nog tastes precisely and unequivocally like the cold ice cream/hot pie interface of apple pie a la mode. While I can’t say I’ll make it all the time, I suggest that anyone who is the least bit curious try warming up their egg nog one of these days because it is a flavor worth the effort.
Merry Christmas everyone!
*As it turns out the second bad thing about egg nog is its ability to form a plasticized residue on any piece of glassware or cookware it touches, which REALLY pisses your wife off when you sample / cook like eight different kinds of egg nog and then leave the dishes in the sink overnight.