In recent years, a cousin of egg nog, So Nice’s soy-based Noel Nog, has popped up next to its from-cows counterpart. For a brief period every year, it becomes an everyday replacement for the other soy milk in my life, a source of calcium and vitamins without a pile of calories. While the soy product may be a lot more health-minded than genuine egg nog, how does the taste compare?
SERVED STRAIGHT UP
Egg Nog: Rich, thick, sweet. I tested Dairyland Original Egg Nog earlier this week, so there’s no need to repeat myself. Just know that it’s nice and buttery, with a bit of pepper-mint-nutmeg spice to it.
Noel Nog: Much less sweetness and thickness. Instead of buttery milk fat, the dominant taste is spice. The concept, effectively, is that if you can’t compete on richness, why not out-spice ‘em? The spice – a dusty nutmeg taste – tries to drown out the soy, but it doesn’t work. Even with the overpowering spice, it still can’t mask the lack of other nog flavours.
TURNED INTO A NOG LATTE
What’s one of the best ways to enjoy egg nog? Why, as an egg nog latte, of course. I steamed up some of each nog type, and added a shot of freshly pulled 49th Parallel decaf espresso to each. No extra sweeteners were added. We’re all scientific like that.
Egg Nog: The coffee pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the egg nog. It’s smooth and warming. Absolutely wonderful.
Noel Nog: Yuck. Disgusting. The spice is already astringent enough, but add in the coffee and it all goes to hell. Some soy milks are better served hot than others. This one is firmly in the do-not-heat category. The espresso only makes things worse.
SPIKED WITH BRANDY
Egg Nog: A true classic, however you serve it. Genuine egg nog is thick enough to handle the thinness of alcohol, though stirring the drink feels like mixing paint. The sweetness and thickness of the nog, the pure richness, is wonderful. It’s like Bailey’s, in that the other flavours are so dominant, you hardly notice there’s alcohol in the mix. Until you pass out under the Christmas tree, that is.
Noel Nog: Not bad, but the flavour mix isn’t perfect. The brandy pairs beautifully with the real nog, while the soy variety doesn’t quite work to the same degree. The brandy taste is more evident in the Noel Nog, while in the authentic egg nog, it completely blends into the rest of the nog flavour.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.19 for 946 ml bottle of So Nice Noel Nog, $2.35 for 1 litre carton of Dairyland Original Egg Nog (at local Save-On Foods grocery store).
Value for cash money: Not bad. A seasonal indulgence.
Availability: Egg Nog, pretty much everywhere. Noel Nog, at larger grocery stores and organic/health shops. You may have to settle for another brand.
Nutrition?: Egg Nog: 240 calories per 250 ml. Noel Nog: 120 calories per 250 ml. The Noel Nog comes fortified with tons of vitamins, while the egg nog comes fortified with … sweet, sweet sugar (42 g per 250 ml of egg nog, vs. 16 g for the Noel Nog). Both nogs have 30 per cent of the daily recommended calcium per 250 ml serving, but the Noel Nog has loads of vitamin B12, vitamin D, etc. The soy product cares about nutrition, while the dairy product is all about that sweet, smooth egg nog taste.
Organic?: The So Nice Noel Nog contains 93 per cent organic ingredients. So you can feel a bit better about your insatiable nog habit.
The verdict: As a flavour of soy milk, Noel Nog is just fine. As a replacement for genuine egg nog, it’s sorely lacking. Drink it on its own, served cold, as a flavour of soy milk, and it’s OK. Drink it hot? No, no, no.