Well, I adore eggnog. It’s one of those things that has haters or lovers, and I am most certainly a lover. Hence, when I opened my cooler of fresh milk and eggs from Meadow Brook Farms Dairy (see previous “milkman” post) I was delighted to see a half gallon of eggnog. Yippee!
Eggnog is certainly a seasonal favorite (although I would love to see the season extended) enjoyed by many. Growing up, my mom always mixed milk into the eggnog so it wasn’t as thick, so that’s the way I prefer it now. This year I made eggnog cookies for the first time and they were a hit. Eggnog is also known for making its way into the “spiked” world, and there are many delicious versions to try (my favorite). If you want to buy ready made try Evan Williams Holiday Eggnog, which is made with bourbon and is tasty, although a bit strong (try adding milk).
All this being said, which eggnog is best? I enlisted my friends into an eggnog taste test with products from Meadow Brook Farms, Stewart’s, Stewart’s Light, Price Chopper, Hood, and Garelick Farms (all plain varieties) . We used beer sampling glasses to conduct two rounds of tastings: the first plain and the second spiked with a little Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. We judged four categories, “spices,” “richness,” “drinkability,” and “when spiked” based on a one to five scale (one being “awful” and five being “amazing”). The results were very interesting, and a little bit sad for me personally.
There were a total of five of us judging: myself, Chris, Brad, The Artist’s Quaff, and A Tale of Two Slices. As you can see from the graph, Stewart’s and Hood topped our taste bud charts. Averaging out the scores, Stewart’s received a 3.8 in spices, 4.0 in richness, 3.4 in drinkability, and 3.6 when spiked. This gives Stewart’s an average score of 3.7, .25 points higher than Hood in second place. Although I was bummed to see a franchise beat out Meadow Brook, I was glad the winner was Stewart’s because it is a smaller franchise and has a sort of hometown appeal. The only average score that Hood had higher than Stewart’s was in drinkability, with Hood averaging 4.2. It is interesting to note that while tasting, the five of us stated that we had grown up with either Stewart’s or Hood eggnog at the dinner for holidays. It seems evident that we favor our traditions.
I mentioned earlier a hint of sadness at the results, and this was with Meadow Brook Farms Dairy. With a measly 38 points, Meadow Brook was far below the competition. The Meadow Brook eggnog is extremely thin compared to the thicker, more traditional eggnogs. On its own it tastes fine, but when comparing to the other eggnogs (Stewart’s Light included), it didn’t stand up to the competition.
-Garelick Farms saw the largest decrease when rum was added. Stewart’s Light showed the most improvement.
-Stewart’s may have won the taste test, but it certainly didn’t win the calorie contest, with 240 calories per half cup (Stewart’s Light is 140 calories per half cup, and the others averaged about 190. Meadow Brook caloric value unavailable, but likely lower considering the thin nature).
-Aside from Meadow Brook with the twist off cap, the Garelick Farms carton was the easiest to open.
-A Tale of Two Slices stated that eggnog F, which was Stewart’s Light, tasted like shrimp. Oddly, The Artist’s Quaff agreed.