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Packaged Foods 22

Holiday Eggnog 2016

Melanie Wong | Dec 17, 201612:54 PM

Stumbling upon three popular brands of eggnog at discounted prices at Grocery Outlet this month inspired a taste-off.

In order of my least to most favorite:

6. Silk Soy Nog Original, $3 quart – If you need a vegan holiday beverage, I suppose this would be a suitable pick as it was inoffensive at least. Otherwise, something that tastes like neither egg yolks nor cream has little appeal to me. A bit too sugary, perhaps to mask the flavor of soy.

5. Bud’s of San Francisco Famous Eggnog $5.50 quart – A perennial winner in taste tests and a favorite brand in the Bay Area, Bud’s mostly tastes like melted vanilla ice cream to me (aka crème anglaise). I found the sweetness of high fructose corn syrup too prominent in the balance and a metallic aftertaste marred the finish.

4. Rosa Brothers Egg Nog, $6 quart – From the dairy in Hanford that sells rootbeer-flavored milk, Rosa egg nog comes in a returnable glass bottle. The most prominent flavor is a decided diacetyl buttery note. This is also one of the thickest with an almost gooey texture and plasticky mouthfeel with guar gum, mono diglycerides, carrageenan on the ingredient list.

3. Humboldt Creamery Organic Egg Nog, $5.50 quart – The least spiced of the group to show off the sweet natural taste of the milk and among the heaviest body. This makes it a good candidate for spiking with some alcohol and more nutmeg without thinning the texture too much. I loved my first glass, but not so much the subsequent one. Turns out that I did not shake it hard enough and the initial serving probably had more of the heavy cream component. If you let this sit in the glass for an extended period, it will separate out a thinner, nearly clear aqueous layer on the bottom. Still, it came very close to edging out Clover organic in my estimation.

2. Clover Stornetta 100th Anniversary Organic Eggnog, $5.75 quart – My long time favorite, this year’s label celebrates the dairy’s centennial. Clover Organic was the most spiced of the group and the thinnest in texture despite tapioca starch and carrageenan as ingredients. I’ve liked it because the taste of the egg yolks comes through more clearly and the balance of spices and sweetness needs no additions other than a nip of alcohol.

1. Straus Family Creamery Organic Eggnog, $6.50 quart – This year’s surprise was Straus Family coming out on top for me and beating out Clover Organic. In past seasons I’ve found the amount of nutmeg in Straus too dominant and bitter. Perhaps it’s a one-off, but this year the hand with the spices was more restrained and the richness of Straus cream and milk expressed more clearly. Straus is plenty thick enough to spike with two shots of bourbon without sacrificing texture.

What’s your favorite eggnog?

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