Who has the best egg nog?

egg nog tasting lineup

The nog lineup.

We got an email from Meagan last week:

Every holiday season, I find myself in an egg nog debate with a friend/coworker/stranger about who makes the best egg nog. My family and I are loyal fans of Stewart's egg nog (the premium one, not that "light" crap). I've always immediately dismissed anyone else's rebuttal. I have given a couple other egg nogs a try, and in my opinion, they were nowheres near as delish as Stewart's.

So you know what this means? Yeah, that's right: egg nog taste test!

We went shopping for egg nog in local supermarkets and picked up five of them: Stewart's Gold, Hannaford brand, Price Chopper brand, Hood, and Garelick. All were full-fat varieties -- and none were flavored.

egg nog tasting jess

We assembled a trio of judges -- all egg nog fans -- to help us score the nogs:

+ The mysterious Albany Jane

+ Frank Nissen -- IT guy by day, egg nog nut by night

+ Jessica Pasko, AOA contributor extraordinaire

The judges scored the nogs on three qualities: viscosity, bouquet and flavor. They also ranked the nogs overall.

Here are how things stacked up:

A few comments from the judges:

1. Hannaford
Two of the three judges scored the Hannaford nog as their favorite. "Creamy, smooth [and] vanilla beany," wrote one judge. "Well-rounded" with "good texture" wrote another. And from the third judge, who didn't rank Hannaford #1: "Flavor reminds [me] of rice pudding."

2. Stewart's
Meagan's favorite fared well, garnering one of the three number 1 overall votes. "Excellent," wrote the judge who scored it #1. "Tangy [and] slightly sour," wrote one of the other judges.

3. Hood
This was a bit of surprise -- no one really expected a lot from this brand coming into the test. "Creamy but not too heavy," noted one judge. "A little chalky, but nice and nutmeg-y," wrote another.

4. Garelick
This brand just edged out Chopper brand for fourth place. "Horrid," exclaimed one judge of this nog. "Fake eggy" wrote another. "A little too mild," noted the third.

5. Price Chopper
This brand also got the "horrid" label from one of the judges. "Eh," wrote a second. "Pleh," wrote the third. On the bright side, Chopper brand did score the highest for bouquet. Unfortunately, most of us don't drink through our noses.

The Bottom Line

Our judges decided Hannaford had the best egg nog, with Stewart's a close second.

Comments

Meadowbrook Farms Dairy (clarksville) has, hands down, the best egg nog that i've ever tried. The downside is that it costs $8, but for something you buy just once a year, it's worth it. Really. No comparison.

None of it can touch my homemade eggnog. Of course, the advantage of Stewarts eggnog is that you can still drive after two cups. :-)

Another taste test: http://theferrett.livejournal.com/1198533.html

Excellent! Great work on this one. I will be quaffing Hannaford Nog this year. Question: Was there nutmeg sprinkled on top? That was always how I did it....

Hannaford consistently offers good store brand products at a reasonable price.

And yes, I know I've written about Hannaford before. Its not a love affair with Hannaford, but more of a loathing for all things Price Chopper.

Anyone have any good homemade egg nog recipes they care to share?

@Erik: The nogs were all served straight up -- no added nutmeg, cinnamon or -- alas -- alcohol.

Too bad none of them actually taste like eggnog.

James, look for Alton Brown's nog recipe. It's a little involved, but totally worth it.

Aw, I love the Stewart's Light Nog! Mostly because I find regular, full-fat nog much too thick and creamy.

I love this! Thanks for testing!

@B:

Thanks, I'll go track it down.

Silk Nog soy egg nog is the way to go. It's delicious, and not as terrible for you as the "real" stuff.

n is correct. the Meadowbrook farm egg nog is the best I have ever had as well. glass bottles!!

Borden's is the best egg nog ever! It is rich, creamy, flavorful and tastes like home made!

1. Alcohol-free eggnog might as well be baby formula. I don't understand that viscous stuff that is sold under the name eggnog in convenience and grocery stores.

2. Real eggnog is easy to make at home--eggs, cream, sugar, booze (lots of possibilities), some other flavorings (vanilla, nutmeg if you like). If you have any kind of hand mixer you can make eggnog.

3. My family traditionally made the recipe featured in an older New York Times cookbook (Craig Claiborne, 1961). This recipe is good for parties or entertaining, but you can make a smaller amount (1/3 the recipe works fine). It's so thick because of the beaten egg white and cream that you can eat it with a spoon and we served it almost like a dessert. It's not hard to make (the electric mixer does the work), but it has more steps than popping open a carton. No comparison in terms of taste.

New York Times (Craig Claiborne) Eggnog

12 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup bourbon whiskey
1 cup cognac
1/2 tsp. salt
3 pints heavy cream
grated nutmeg

With an electric mixer beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and lemon colored. Slowly add the bourbon and cognac, while beating at slow speed. Chill several hours.

Add the salt to the egg whites and beat until almost stiff. Whip the cream until still. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Chill one hour.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve in punch cups with a spoon. If desired add one or two cups of milk to the yolk mixture for a thinner eggnog.

@n - Where can I purchase the Meadowbrook eggnog?
@chrisck - I agree with you on the alcohol, but it seemed it would be a bit unfair to use adulterated eggnog for the taste test. I think the hooch might have brought a certain bias to the operation.

Smith Traditional egg nog is super good! Creamy without being too thick, and a flavor sweeter/more vanilla-y than other brands I've had. I just forced it upon someone who hates egg nog, and even he conceded that it was tasty.

The only down side: it's got a completely horrifying picture of Santa on one side of the carton, and an even creepier Mrs. Claus on the other.

http://www.smithdairy.com/smiths.asp?c=2

Here is my father's recipe that he made famous in our little village of Valley Stream on Long Island. I have had Harley Bikers who would previously only drink Bud ask for seconds. In honor of my father who will be 91 this year I offer it perhaps so that it will be enjoyed into perpetuity. It's too good to lose:

JOHN HOLECEK'S EGGNOG

1/2 GAL BREYERS Vanilla (with vanilla bean specks) Mashed with potato masher
1 C Seagram's VO
1/3 C Meyer's dark RUM add the VO and Rum to the mashed Breyer's
2 EGGS separated
ONE T SUGAR IN WHITES
BEAT WHITES STILL STIFF
BEAT YOLKS Fold Into WHITES
POUR OVER MASHED ICE CREAM, ADD 1/4 C MILK TO egg bowl to WASH OUT EGGS INTO NOG;
DON'T FORGET THE NUTMEG (a sprinkle on each serving)

Try it you'll like it. I must agree, for "store bought" nothing compares to Meadowbrook. Kudos to Chuck Van Wie who has been delivering it along with our milk to our doorstep for decades!!! It's really like a fine wine, you have to let it sit on your tongue before swallowing. Pure heaven.

Here's how to get the eggnog:

Meadow Brook Farms Dairy
RR 443
Clarksville, NY 12041
Phone: (518) 768-2451

Not sure if it's at Honest Weight, the milk can be purchased there. Chuck may only deliver the eggnog to his home delivery customers. You could always ask a friend who gets milk delivered to order you some. (Find a parent with lots of children who drink lots of milk who want BGH free milk -- and they may get their milk from Meadowbrook)

You can purchase Meadowbrook Farms Eggnog & many of their FRESH products @ L&S Garden & Produce on Pawling ave in Troy NY.They carry their Eggnog Seasonally.

My favorite drink is egg nog. It is impossible to avoid the egg nog lover jokes and comments from friends and family every year and being a Rhode Islander my entire life doesn't help. I make my own 1 gal. vanilla, 1 doz. eggs. 1 cup cream 1/2 sugar, rum is optional. The key is fresh eggs right out of the chicken. The place I get the eggs it a Wrights Diary farm who has exceptional egg nog perhaps the best. Christine's and Monroes Dairy also have exceptional egg nog it would be extremely expensive and filling to have a taste test so I think it's pretty much a 3 way tie. The down side is the diary egg nog doesn't keep long and it isn't cheap. The highly available hands down is the Hood original golden egg nog. It stays 5x+ the length of the dairy's and is a little cheaper and drinks much easier. Stay away from all the flavored ones (trust me I've tried them all). I even contacted Hood and asked if they sold any Hood Golden Egg Nog apparel; but no they don't so I might just make my own.

I 2nd Bordens....we're talking the kind in a carton only sold seasonally. It's only sold as far north as Conroe, TX from what I found out. And that's a long was from Colorado so I settle for Royal Crest.

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