Lazy Vegan Friday – Vegan Eggnog Research
On a recent visit to the USA we picked up a whole bunch of soy/coconut/almond based nogs. Here in Ontario we have two varieties to choose from, and both are made by the Earth’s Own group of soy and almond milk companies – So Nice and Almond Fresh. Once upon a time there was a pretty nice third nog option called Vitasoy Holly Nog, but as I learned recently on their facebook page (“I’m afraid that all VitaSoy products in Canada have been discontinued.”) so I wont be seeing that product here anymore.
In the USA, things are a little bit different. There are several varieties. You want coconut nog, or almond nog, or soy nog? You got it. There is also the choice of different brands and different flavours of “holiday beverages”. When I walked into the Whole Foods Market in Cleveland Heights this is what I saw right after entering:
Welcome to Vegan Nog Town, population me.
On To The Tasting.
- Califia Farms Holiday Nog
- Silk Soy Milk Seasonal Nog
- So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk
- So Nice Noel Nog
Bonus Holiday Beverages:
- So Delicious Pumpkin Spice
- So Delicious Mint Chocolate
“Research” Method* for Part One.
(*please note: not actually scientific)
- I used four identical 300 ml glasses.
- Each carton or bottle was shaken vigorously before being measured.
- I measured out about 250ml of test nog and poured it in its own glass
- I took one sip from each glass.
- I rinsed my mouth with fresh water, and drank some water between tastings.
- During part one, I didn’t add anything to the nog.
- During part two, I added one ounce of Kraken Spice Rum to see how the nog would react to alcohol.
Research Method for Part Three – JC Drinks Nog
- I poured about two ounces of each nog in a plastic cup
- Numbered each cup and each corresponding nog. JC didn’t know which nog was which.
- JC tried a nog, drank some water, and tried the next nog.
- JC rated things by taste, texture, sweetness, and spice, and marked his favourite with a check mark.
Notes: Our observations are completely subjective, and you may disagree (because we didn’t agree with each other either). But I would love to hear what you think of these nogs if you have tried them! (or if you have any other recommendations.)
And of course, thanks to JC for drinking so much nog!
JC’s thoughts in a beautiful chart form.
Sure I could have made a table on a computer, but what better way to do something fun and silly than to reuse the back of an envelope.
Califia Farms Holiday Nog
This was my least favourite. It wasn’t thick and it wasn’t particularly delicious either. I’ll admit I wanted to like it, as I’ve liked many of the other Califia Farms flavoured almond milk products before. There is something strange about it, that I can’t quite put my finger on.
JC’s ratings were the lowest for this variety too. (You can see it in the chart above – Califia was Test Nog 2)
Taste – 4
Texture – 4
Sweetness – 5
Spice – 5
Califia Farms and Alcohol.
You can see the photo here on Flickr, but the Califia Farms nog and kraken spiced rum did not immediately incorporate. They did mix together and stay mixed together after vigorous stirring. After letting the nog sit for an hour or so, I didn’t see any separation or layering.
So Nice Noel Nog
This one is one I’m most familiar with, as it’s one of the first Soy Nogs that arrived across Canada. I’m still pretty fond of it, in terms of nostalgic attachment, but it doesn’t have a very high viscosity when compared with the other nogs. It’s light, but spiced nicely.
So Nice Noel Nog was Nog 3 in the rating table, and ranked about second last on average.
Taste – 6
Texture – 5
Sweetness – 8
Spice – 6
So Nice Noel Nog and Alcohol.
You can take a look at the photos here on flickr, but So Nice Noel Nog mixed readily with the Kraken Spiced Rum, and they paired well together. The 1oz rum to 250ml nog ratio seemed to work well for flavour and alcohol content. Not overpowering.
Silk Soy Milk Seasonal Nog
This was JC’s favourite, and I thought it was delicious, but it wasn’t my favourite. It was fairly light, but had a nice level of spice and sweetness.
Silk Nog was Nog 4 in the rating table, and averaged out at the top for JC.
Taste – 8
Texture – 8
Sweetness – 8
Spice – 9
Silk Soy Milk Seasonal Nog and Alcohol.
You can see a photo of the nog immediately after Kraken Spiced Rum was added here on flickr. It mixed readily. Paired well with the rum, and the spice blended together very nicely and stayed blended.
So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk
This was my favourite. I though it was spicy, thick, and rich in flavour.
On the rating table above this was Nog 1.
Taste – 7
Texture – 6
Sweetness – 7
Spice – 10
So Delicious Nog and Alcohol.
So Delicious Nog didn’t readily blend with the kraken spiced rum as you can see here on flickr, but after a minute or two of vigorous stirring, it did eventually blend and stayed blended even after an hour of being left out to settle.
Bonus Seasonal Drinks
These are both So Delicious brand beverages, and they are both only available part of the year, mainly around December. I’m usually a fan of anything pumpkin or chocolate-peppermint, so I found both of these beverages really tasty.
They are not as thick as the So Delicious Seasonal Nog, but the Pumpkin Spice variety was almost nog-like in consistency (we have been referring to it as pumpkin nog most of the time). The peppermint-chocolate milk had a rich chocolaty flavour augmented by peppermint, and paired nicely with coffee or straight in a glass (or from the carton. don’t tell anyone.)
We like both the So Delicious Nog and Silk Soy Seasonal Nog for flavour and texture.However we have different favourites, the So Delicious Nog was my favourite, and the Silk Soy Seasonal Nog was JC’s, although both of them ranked really highly. Soy based Noel Nog was next, and Califia was at the bottom of both of our lists.
Now I’m curious about trying to make vegan nog at home, especially after finding a few really great looking recipes online like these:
Matroshka Eggnog on the PPK
Vegan Nog: Classic and Peppermint on Oh She Glows
Two Healthy Vegan Eggnogs – Fat Free Vegan
What’s your favourite store bought vegan nog?
What else did you pick up at WF in Cleveland? I’m going next week and it is one of my favourite WFs and places. I love Cleveland!
Oh so many things. Eat Pastry, Sophies seafood analogues, a bottle of Califia farms Mocha beverage (I wish I got more. That stuff is delicious)
Too vague, too vague! I need more details.
Have you tried the other nondairy iced coffee brands? When I was in Florida in the summer for a bit, I bought a bunch of them to try (Almond Breeze, et cetera).
I can grab you more when I go to Cleveland next week if you think you’ll be coming down to Niagara at all in the next bit — usually this stuff has a long(ish) unopened shelf life.
Holy moly that’s too kind – and I would normally take you up on that kind of offer BUT we’re heading back to the USA next week (Florida even)!!! I’m going to drink myself into some kind of dairy-alternative heaven.
One thing I forgot to mention is the Dream brand coffee/milk combos. They’re super good, so if you see them try them out! I was kind of on the fence about them, so we just bought two to try… then went back and bought… a lot more to take home. 😀
Unfortunately, a lot of the Dream brand stuff is mislabeled and actually containing barley, which is a no-go for me.
BUT, if you are going to Florida, get yourself some Earth Balance chocolate soy milk (if you like chocolate soy milk). It is the BEST soy milk EVER and I cannot wait to go to Cleveland next week to hopefully score some. I regularly cross the border to Buffalo/NF to get my groceries, and they don’t have it here.
Anyway, though, I do go over all the time — let me know if you are heading down to Niagara whenever but not going over, and I’ll let you know if I am heading over the border anytime beforehand. I go about every two weeks to stock up (Wegmans mostly, and sometimes TJs and Orchard Fresh). I never mind picking up extras!
I think I’m alone in my love for the Califa Farms nog, although the Silk nog is still my favorite. I want to like the So Delicious, but it’s too sweet and thick for me straight up, but mixed with rum or coffee, it’s amazing.
I’ve heard a lot of negativity about the Califia Farms Nog, but it’s nice to hear that someone likes it.
It’s actually pretty decent in coffee. 😀
As a Cleveland Hights native, I have to share a few more delicious vegan fixes in my city for any future visits. First, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, which makes mostly dairy ice cream but makes the best coconut ice cream I have ever tasted. The vegan varieties can be found at Whole Foods or, better yet, one of their ice cream shops. Another good choice for vegan foods, The Melt Bar and Grill, which, while not a vegan restaurant, has a large variety of vegan sandwiches. Also, No Whey chocolates (have you heard of them?) now has a storefront about ten minutes from the Heights Whole Foods. I could go on and on.