After last year’s lacklustre taste-test of So Nice’s dairy-free Noel Nog, I figured my chances of finding a decent soy-based eggnog alternative were slim to none. After all, how many alternative nogs can there possibly be?
The soy nog market must be small, and – pardon my generalisation – when it comes to products that mimic a foodstuff they can no longer have, vegetarians/vegans are notoriously able to overlook taste as long as a food meets their dietary criteria. In baseball terms, vegetarian replacement products rarely try for a home run when fans will happily accept a half-hearted bunt.
But I found new hope in this Holly Nog from Vitasoy. Why? Because their seasonal mint chocolate beverage is just so damned good. I figured it would be better than So Nice Noel Nog, but I wanted to know how much better.
The Pitch: “Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.” “Creamy & smooth. Low in fat.”
The Look: A pretty Christmas-themed carton featuring a glass of nog with a stick of cinnamon.
The Taste: Light creamy cinnamon aroma. Strong cinnamon/nutmeg taste, but definitely soyish on the milk front. Not all that rich, thick or creamy, though it’s not without some smooth, velvety texture. Not bad on its own, but I’d hate to drink it next to real eggnog. I remember the So Nice nog being more earthy and dusty, but this is more in line with what a regular nog should taste like.
Any Better With a Splash of Cognac?: Meh. Much like the Noel Nog, the Holly Nog isn’t thick or rich enough to fully blend with the alcohol, so the flavours never really meld together. You’re not getting something greater than the sum of both parts – you’re just getting the sum of both parts, if that. It’s sort of a waste of cognac, if you ask me.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.29 for a 946 mL Tetra-pak at Planet Organic.
Value for cash money: OK.
Availability: Specialty health/organic shops.
Nutrition?: Per 125 mL (1/2 cup) serving: 60 calories, 1 gram of fat, 70 mg of sodium, 0 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein. No calcium fortification, which is unusual for a soy drink.
Vegetarian friendly?: Yes. Vegan friendly, even.
The verdict: Not bad, but not really a replacement for the real thing. Better than I remember the So Nice Noel Nog being, but if you can drink the real thing – that is, if you’re not vegan or extremely lactose sensitive – do it.