Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas has exploded all over the place. Even if you’ve been avoiding the Black Friday madness by steering clear of shopping malls, you still have to buy groceries. And even in supermarkets you’ll be hit in the face with a dizzying array of holiday products.
Like Trader Joe’s Almond Nog, an impossibly dairy-free version of eggnog — you know, that sweet, thick wintertime beverage that people either love or hate. I happen to love eggnog, but I haven’t had it since I gave up dairy years ago. Because the kind I liked was basically 80% heavy cream and 20% raw eggs. That’s a recipe for digestive distress if there ever was one.
So when I saw this almond-milk-based eggnog, free of cow’s milk and even eggs, I gave in to my curiosity. Once again, Trader Joe’s sucked me in with cute packaging. How could I resist an almond wearing a “Where’s Waldo” scarf?
I was skeptical about its claim of being “rich and creamy.” Based on past experiences with non-dairy beverages, I expected it to have a thin, watery consistency and an artificial flavor.
But this eggnog is indeed thicker than I expected. Not as thick as one made with heavy cream, but that may be too thick for many people anyway. It’s definitely thick enough to coat your mouth for a good five seconds after you’ve swallowed it.
And it tastes fairly natural. There’s no obvious almond flavor. That’s remarkable considering its main ingredient is almonds.
But this eggnog is very sweet, which makes it more of a dessert than a drink you’d have with food. (Then again, there are people who suck down milkshakes while eating cheeseburgers, so I could be wrong.) To cut the sweetness level, I added a little non-dairy creamer and it worked like a charm.
Traditionally, eggnog is spiked with rum. So I tried the almond nog with a tablespoon of rum mixed in. Yum! The alcohol, like the creamer, tones down the sweetness. You can use a lighter rum like Bacardi, but I like this Koloa Kaua’i Dark Hawaiian Rum because it has a hint of vanilla flavor that goes well with desserts.
So if you’re lamenting about having to “do without” this Christmas because every treat seems to be loaded with dairy, give this almond nog a try and let me know how you like it!