The Best Eggnog Has No Eggs in It
BY KENDRA VACULIN December 1, 2020
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There are plenty of sensible reasons why someone might purchase an almond milk–based eggnog knockoff, but I cannot claim any of them. I am not vegan. I am not lactose intolerant. I am simply beverage-curious, and I stopped dead in my tracks the first time I saw the signature Califia Farms bottle decked out with holiday colors at my local grocery store. My favorite almond milk, done up for Christmas? Absolutely going in the basket. And ever since, it’s been a staple in my wintertime fridge, an annual finalist in my personal festive drink power rankings. In my opinion, it’s the best eggnog you can buy.
Before you yell at me, please know: I love actual eggnog too. The real stuff, with real eggs in it, so thick that it coats your whole mouth with each sip. Like melted vanilla ice cream in a glass. Magic. But in my household of two, I am the only true eggnog fan, and I can never finish a carton of the dairy version all by myself. I’ve also had more than one friend come over in Decembers past only to refuse a glass of eggnog because they don’t like the presence of eggs in their drinks. Not to be dramatic, but finding a delicious, egg-free alternative single-handedly solved all my problems.
Califia Farms Holiday Nog is made almost entirely out of nuts, and yet, somehow, still tastes eggy. It defies logic. It has all of the rich, nutmeg-y, faintly boozy (do you know what I mean?) flavor of regular eggnog, only it’s less viscous. Slightly thinner. More…drinkable. In my opinion it makes a better cocktail because of this sippable quality—you’re not left drinking alcohol the consistency of a puréed soup. You can actually drink a whole glass of it without spoiling your dinner. And with the help of a tool, it froths nicely, so it makes a lovely café au nog.You can actually drink a whole glass of it without spoiling your dinner.
The truth is, the Califia Farms version works everywhere your regular, degular eggnog would, checking all the festive boxes with ease. Straight up, spiked, and with coffee? Yes, absolutely, and duh. In oatmeal? Definitely. In lieu of milk in baking recipes, or stirred into pancake or waffle batter? You bet. Mashed into sweet potatoes? HELLO. Shockingly, it even makes a great French toast, which I figured would be its egg-free Achilles’ heel. Somehow, even without the key ingredient, bread soaked in Califia Farms Nog before hitting the griddle gets a perfect luxuriously custardy middle and crisps up beautifully on the outside. It’s subtly sweet and spiced, so delightful you don’t even need maple syrup.
If you cannot imagine the holiday season without a glass of eggnog so thick you can flip it upside down like a Blizzard, Califia Farms Holiday Nog is not for you. But for everyone else, I think there’s no better store-bought brand for instantly feeling merry and bright. It’s ideal for anyone who balks at a cocktail with raw egg in the ingredients list or avoids dairy for whatever reason, obviously, but also just the beverage-curious, out here trying to finish an entire nutmeg-scented container by themselves. At least twice a day until the new year, you’ll find me pulling the bottle from my fridge and pouring myself a glass, whispering “To me, you are perfect” to the very best eggnog in the game.