The 2010 guide to egg nog

By Tim Jones

Courtesy Isaac Wedin via Flickr
The holiday season is officially here, and that means the return of my favorite drink of all time: egg nog.

I wouldn’t consider myself a connoisseur of the stuff, but my obsession over it transcends most people. This is a guide to egg nog, and an insight into what should be bought, and what should be avoided at all costs. It isn’t entirely thorough, as one can only buy and consume so much of the delightful drink, but it should provide you with an idea of the cream of the crop.

Big Y Brand/Hood/Garelick – Original Egg Nog

Starting with the basics, these three are all quite good. There really isn’t much of a difference between the original egg nogs for both Hood and Garelick, but that’s most likely because of a strict recipe that follows similar guidelines. Egg nog isn’t too complicated to make, but its density and unique taste will vary between brands. When it comes down to it though, Garelick’s egg nog is the least thick, and I prefer Hood’s over all, but it varies from person to person.

Silk Nog

Soy milk brand Silk provides an egg nog alternative for the vegans out there. As the name should imply, this drink contains no egg, but strange enough, it is able to retain most of the flavor. The main difference is that without the eggs, it does not have the thickness of original egg nog. For those who are also looking to cut back on calories during the holiday season, this is a perfect alternative that doesn’t sacrifice much taste.

Horizon Organic – Organic Egg Nog

When it comes to organic food, I’m normally nonchalant about the subject, but something struck me as odd about this nog. Not because it’s bad, but because it’s amazing. Yeah, it’s pasteurized like all other store-bought ones, but it’s worth picking up.

Hood- Cinnamon Egg Nog

It’s egg nog infused with cinnamon, a perfect topping to anyone’s nog. But this time it’s mixed together. Yes, it’s on the sweet side, but this limited edition nog shouldn’t be missed.

Hood- Gingerbread Egg Nog

As the name implies, this nog tastes like a gingerbread cookie. It’s not the greatest, and it leaves somewhat of a strange aftertaste. The gingerbread should stick with cookies; it works much better that way.

Hood- Vanilla Egg Nog

To sum it up, it tastes just like a vanilla milkshake without the texture of the blended ice cream.

Hood- Sugar Cookie Egg Nog

Don’t get me wrong; this nog is delicious. But whether or not it actually tastes like sugar cookies is debatable. Traces of sugar cookie can be found, but it tastes more like egg nog than sugar cookies. Still, it’s worth a try.

Homemade Egg Nog

In case store-bought drinks put a damper on your holiday spirit, making egg nog yourself is actually quite simple. Here is a recipe describing how to make a very basic version of egg nog.

It requires six beaten egg yolks, two and a half cups of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla, a cup of whipping cream, 1/3 cup of sugar and two tablespoons of sugar.

To prepare it, you’ll need to mix the egg yolks, milk, and the 1/3 cup sugar. Then cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is just enough to coat a metal spoon. Add the vanilla extract as you stir. Place the pan in the sink and stir for a couple of minutes, then cover it up and chill it for at least four hours.

Before serving the egg nog, blend the whipping cream and the remaining sugar, until small peaks show up. Then fold the whipped cream mix into the egg mix in a bowl and serve immediately.

The end product is good, but unlike the familiar mass-produced taste one is used to. It definitely doesn’t taste like what comes in the cartons, but it’s an interesting alternative that is worth trying out at least once.

Most egg nog calls for alcohol to be added to the mix for cooking and flavor, but this egg nog is perfectly acceptable without any. As far as egg nog with alcohol in it, rum is a common additive, although you could probably use any kind. In all actuality, egg nog is supposed to have alcohol in it. “Nog” is derived from an Old English term for a very strong liquor, funny enough.

Egg nog is best enjoyed in moderation, because it is actually horrible for the body, which is probably why it is only available at stores usually during the holiday season. Enjoy it while you can, because it’s going to be a while before it comes back.

Tim Jones is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]