I love eggnog. “Real” eggnog (by which I mean “made from scratch with real eggs”), “real real” eggnog (real eggnog with booze) and even the eggnog-ish stuff you get in the cartons at the grocery store (which is pasteurized and has all sorts of other random things in it). I am a sucker for the Starbucks Eggnog Latte—although the fact that you can now start getting them before it’s even Halloween just makes them so much less special. However, eggnog gives you a fat ass and high cholesterol.
In a batch of from-scratch eggnog, depending on the recipe you consult, you’re looking at roughly four or five cups of full-on-fat dairy (milk, cream or a combination of both), six to 12 egg yolks and at least a half-cup of white sugar (if not twice that). A grande (16 ounce) Starbucks Eggnog Latte (using 2% milk!) has 60% of your saturated fat allowance for the day (33% of fat in general), 47% of your cholesterol allowance and 18% of your carbs (an amount that comes entirely from sugar). That’s roughly three to four times as much bad stuff as a regular latte. Whoa.
In light of this shocking information, I am thrilled that I discovered this lovely almond milk version of eggnog from Califia Farms. I switched this summer from using the office-supplied fake-ola powdered creamer (I know, gross, right?) to using almond milk in my morning coffee. It goes on sale at Whole Foods fairly regularly and it lasts forever—long enough for me to last between sales, anyway—so it’s a great option for my two-mug-a-day office coffee habit.
Just before Halloween, I grabbed what I thought was a jug of vanilla flavored almond milk only to discover that it was eggnog flavor. It was also the only flavor on sale. My thrifty side kicked in and I tossed it into our shopping cart. I wasn’t quite ready for eggnog season, but, eh.
I didn’t think it would be super-awesome, just mildly passable, the way almond milk is pretty much just a thin substitute for real cream. But you know what? It’s pretty damn delicious!
It lacks the same thick mouth-feel of real eggnog (or even the carton kind) but it has the same lovely holiday spice flavor profile. I’m a little dubious about where that comes from since it has no actual list of spice ingredients on the bottle, but I imagine it can’t be worse than the carton eggnog in the grocery store. And since almond milk has virtually nothing in it (no carbs, no gluten, no soy, no fat), I can’t quibble that this isn’t about a million times healthier than caving to my desire for a Starbucks eggnog latte. Not to mention about a thousand times cheaper.
And if you have always liked the holiday-ish smell of eggnog but you can’t get over the “weird” egginess, you’re one of those folks who are squeamish about the raw eggs, you’re avoiding dairy, or you just don’t like ultra-thick drinks, this is perfect for you! It’s nice in my coffee (I forego adding any extra sugar) although it is still not as creamy as I’d really like it to be. (Oh, the disappointments of trying to live healthier…) And it’s also nice to sip on its own. It is a bit thicker than regular almond milk, and if you shake it up hard it imitates the “real” eggnog froth, but definitely not as thick as the real goods. Shockingly, I have not yet sampled it with a shot of booze, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be awesome.
I’m really not ready for the holidays, but I am obsessed with this stuff.