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What’s The Best Supermarket Eggnog Available In Canada?

We rank seven widely-available eggnog brands on flavour, texture, and coffee compatibility.
By Isabel Slone
Two small glasses of a cream coloured eggnog with a cinnamon stick in each glass (Photo: iStock)

For many, the first week of December marks a time when listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” on an infinite loop moves from deranged to socially acceptable behaviour and the sharp desire to bake and consume holiday cookies overtakes the brain’s executive function.

But for me, the beginning of the holiday season signals one thing and one thing alone: eggnog. Every December, I enter a fugue state in which I quaff ungodly amounts of the ovum-flavoured nectar by the carton, starting each day by pouring an enthusiastic glug into my coffee, and proceeding from there. (I will occasionally drink a small glass with a half-half mixture of whiskey and rum as an aperitif, but tend to skip the booze, preferring to savour the pure flavour of virgin nog.) My thirst for eggnog becomes unquenchable; my enjoyment of the stuff bordering on orgiastic.

But this year, my ardour was somewhat dampened after I noticed a plasticky flavour lingering in my mouth. The unwelcome aftertaste kicked off a quest to taste-test every brand of nog I could find to determine The Supreme Supermarket Nog.

The ideal eggnog should be thick but not syrupy, sweet but not cloying, and infused with a rich array of spices that twinkle like Christmas lights on my tastebuds. I sampled seven widely available eggnog brands and ranked them based on individual flavour and ability to hold their own in a cup of coffee. Here are the results.

Neilson eggnog

On first glance, this nog makes a compelling case for itself. I’m charmed by the nostalgic horse-and-carriage illustration on the packaging as well as the fact that it is the most affordable of all the nogs. The first sip is delicious — Neilson touts its nog as “rich and luxurious,” which I believe is shorthand for thick — with strong top notes of nutmeg and cloves rising above the cinnamon. But the delicious first sip is followed by a waxy aftertaste not unlike ingesting a melted candle. In coffee, it tastes creamy and balanced, the eggy flavour holding its own against the brassiness of the brew. However, the artificial aftertaste remains. Extra points for the pastoral carton, though.

Rating

Virgin: 6/10

In coffee: 7/10

A white and black eggnog carton with illustration of a snowy village and a horse drawn carriage

Sheldon Creek eggnog

While this bougie glass-bottled nog tastes significantly healthier than the grocery store stuff, I can’t help but expect more. It’s quite thin and not particularly spice-forward. It tastes like drinking cereal milk, which isn’t necessarily bad – after all Momofuku managed to build an empire on cereal-milk-flavoured desserts — but it doesn't taste like eggnog. It fails to deliver the creamy, zesty kick I require. This is merely sweet whole milk, with a suggestion of egg flavour and a faintly yellow tinge.

Rating

Virgin: 7/10

In coffee: 5/10

Glass bottle with eggnog
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President’s Choice “The World’s Best eggnog”

The print on this carton reads, “In our opinion this is the best eggnog money can buy.” To which I softly whisper: “I’ll be the judge of that.” I detect a massive whiff of rum on the nose, which is not replicated on the tongue. It’s far less syrupy than the Neilson, making it easier to quaff in large quantities, but I far prefer the strong nutmeg flavour of Neilson’s to PC’s rum-heavy punch. It’s satisfying, but I still detect that waxy aftertaste. In coffee, the taste is thin and rather flat. Despite flecks of spices floating visibly at the top of the cup, I could barely taste them. Note to Galen Weston Jr.: you could really stand to add a smidge more cinnamon and cloves to this treasured family recipe. 

Rating

Virgin: 6/10 

In coffee: 6/10 

A black carton of eggnog

Earth’s Own Oat Nog

Like all plant-based milks, Earth’s Own Oat Nog lacks the viscosity and creaminess of a dairy-based nog. But the flavour? Astonishingly good. The food scientists responsible for developing this oat nog have managed to create a beverage that tastes exactly like pumpkin spice oat milk. If you put me in a blindfold and served this to me in October, I would not believe that it was eggnog, but closer to a PSL. It’s somewhat lacking in egg flavour, but I love the nutmeg-forward spice blend. In coffee it comes across as a little weak, but still adds a pleasant nutty flavour that feels like sipping a delicious treat.

Rating

Virgin: 7/10

In coffee: 6/10

A light blue bottle of eggnog

So Delicious Holiday Nog Coconut Beverage

This “coconog” is alarmingly thick for a plant-based beverage—and when poured is an almost rich brown colour with two distinct, uncoagulated elements. The aroma was promisingly rich, but the taste was wildly disappointing; like gelatin-treated water flavoured with two heaping cups of brown sugar. I would have to suspend enough disbelief to convince myself this is even in the vicinity of my beloved nog. In coffee it tasted like nothing more than very sweet coconut milk, which I imagine is not a problem for many people, but I personally did not find it welcome or delicious. After two sips I did not care for any more and poured the remainder of my cup down the drain.

Rating

Virgin: 2/10

In coffee: 1/10

White and red carton of eggnog
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Harmony Organic eggnog

When the clerk at my local organic grocery store rang up this bottle of eggnog, my face blanched and my soul almost left my body: the average carton of eggnog will run you about $3, but this cost a whopping $10. After I managed to collect myself well enough to pour a cup, I found my nostrils overwhelmed by an intoxicating, rich, noggy scent. It was the perfect velvet texture. The flavour was egg-forward, with perfectly balanced notes of nutmeg. With each sip I could feel my body lighting up like a Christmas tree. In coffee, it was smooth and silky, cutting through the acidity like whipping cream. If you can overcome the sticker shock, Harmony Organic is truly the nectar of the gods.

Rating

Virgin: 10/10

In coffee: 10/10

A glass bottle with cream coloured eggnog

Compliments eggnog

While the carton is distressingly thin (someone with a more Hulk-like grip than me is liable to send the precious nog hurtling to the floor with one too-tight squeeze) it delivers a rich, wholesome flavour that’s very well-rounded. It’s the perfect viscosity and the luscious egginess is the first flavour that hits my tastebuds. Though it could benefit from a heavier hand when it comes to the spices, Compliments is far and away the best affordable grocery store nog on the market. It’s also an excellent, spicy coffee nog: every sip tastes like twinkling light displays, tins full of chocolate covered biscuits, or freshly-cut evergreen trees. Which is to say, it tastes like Christmas.

Rating

Virgin: 8/10

Coffee: 9/10

a blue carton of Compliments eggnog

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