This weekend the Sunday Funday bloggers are all about eggnog with an event hosted by Colleen of Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice is hosting. And I totally blew it because I've been busy birthdaying and didn't realize it was already Sunday. Yikes. She graciously said I could join in late. So, here I am. Apologies to everyone else who can keep their head on straight during the holiday season.
Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. I was very inspired by Colleen's prompt. Here's the line-up of eggnog recipes...
Eggnog Carrot Kheer from Sneha's Recipe
Eggnog Cookie Bars from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Eggnog Mini Flans from Mayuri's Jikoni
Eggnog White Russian from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Family Style Eggnog from Palatable Pastime
Homemade Eggnog from Amy's Cooking Adventures
Snowy Eggnog Melt-Away Cookies from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Revisiting an Eggnog Tasting
This was a tasting that we did over half a decade ago, but we pull up the results every single year to remind ourselves which ones to buy and which ones to skip. My three boys - and, yes, I am including my husband in that category! - are nog-hounds. Well, technically what makes 'eggnog' is the alcohol. So, no, my youngest isn't actually a nog fanatic. But from the beginning of December until we can no longer find it in the store, we always have eggnog, the virgin kind, in the fridge.
Before the original tasting, I was not very discerning and would just pick whatever brand is available at the store in which I happen to be shopping. Actually, I have to admit that I've never paid too much attention to the brands. So, when a trusted foodie friend told me that Bud's was the best, I went on the hunt specifically for that kind and I found it at Safeway.
We decided to exclude any non-dairy nogs such as those made with rice milk or almond milk And, yes, there's a ton of those, too. So, we poured and rated Bud's, Humboldt, Clover, and Straus which, they tell me have been favorites in years past.
When I posted photos of the tasting almost everyone in my circle declared that Bud's would be triumphant. Sadly, no. But read on to discover which one took the title in the Mann household.
We poured. We noted what D called 'glass appeal' (Oh, my goodness! Do you think that I've dragged that kid to too many wine tastings with me?!?).
We tasted. We ranked based on spice, viscosity, sweetness, and best overall. We discussed. We tasted again. And, before falling into a major sugar coma, we crowned a winner.
And the winner...wasn't Bud's!
We decided that Humboldt Creamery's Organic Egg Nog was at the top of our list.
Note that in the years after this tasting, I have had a tough time finding this brand. Boo!
Just a couple of other comments...
Bud's had already been bumped down on the list based on the tasting alone, then my label readers started to read. Bud's was the only one of the four that included high fructose corn syrup and had the most amount of sugar per serving with 22 g. Yikes! But Bud's has the best color.
Straus had the best "gulpability," according to the nog gulpers! And it also had the most visible spices at the bottom of the glass.
Something in the Clover was reminiscent of maple syrup or caramel.
The Adults-Only Tasting
Then Jake and I decided to taste the different nogs, not as sippers but as mixers. I picked to mix them with a 21-year rum and a gingersnap liqueur. Across the board, we both preferred the gingersnap liqueur to the rum. The rum seemed to overpower the nog in every instance except for the Bud's. A-ha. Maybe that's it: all my friends must use Bud's as a mixer for booze!
And, while we both picked SNAP as our booze of choice for nog, I liked it best with the Straus nog; Jake chose Clover as his favorite. Thankfully, those two brands have been available every year since this tasting. In fact, I have two bottles of each in my fridge as I write this...just in time for Christmas morning.
And with that little exercise done, I decided to make my own eggnog...from scratch. It's pretty easy.
8 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup packed organic dark brown sugar
pinch of fleur de sel
2 cup organic heavy cream
2 cup organic whole milk
1 cup brandy
1 cup rum
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
freshly grated nutmeg
Note: eggs are more easily beaten when they are at room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt until thickened and maple-syrup colored. It might take 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the cream and milk, then the rum, brandy, and vanilla.
In another bowl, whip egg whites with a hand-blender until soft peaks form. This might take 2 minutes. Slowly add the granulated sugar and whip until the egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.
Fold the eggwhites into the booze mixture. Ladle portions into glasses - I used shot glasses for small servings - and sprinkle with nutmeg for garnish.
That's a wrap for my very belated eggnog offering. Next week I am hosting the group. I told them: "The holiday season is full of long-standing traditions, but my favorites always tend to center around eating. People from around the world eat traditional foods as the clock strikes midnight in hopes of bringing a little more luck and good fortune into their lives. What are you eating!?!" Stay tuned!