Holiday Veggnog

Eggnog is an odd holiday drink. You see, it is essentially a liquefied vanilla and nutmeg ice cream served with booze…and now that I just wrote that description, I should pause a second and reconsider…pausing…still pausing…ok, I still think it is an odd drink, but it is absolutely delicious – or at least I remember it that way.

I recall truly enjoying eggnog while growing up – perhaps even more when my parents allowed me to drink a bit of the spiked version. We usually had a few quarts (I was very much non-metric in those days) around for about 3 weeks. It was a Christmas drink, which we mostly enjoyed cold and undoubtedly accompanied by some Christmas cookies.

But eggnog didn’t stay in my life. I haven’t had any…or even thought much about it…for years. This year something changed. I suddenly received several invitations to attend holiday parties and guess what…eggnog was the theme and that meant I had a new challenge – develop my own vegan version of this holiday drink classic.

I started with the mandatory internet search to see what others have been making, but I quickly became frustrated with majority of recipes I found – primarily because of the excessive use of coconut milk or tofu. So, I decided to really give this some thought and come up with something familiar, simple and very tasty. Ok, eggnog is essentially a custard – that much I knew and that is where I began. I make a nice cashew cream as a base for vegan ice cream, so perfect…this is my starting point. I could just thin the cream with some water or…wait…how about some unsweetened almond milk? Perfect, all I need to do now is sweeten the drink, stabilize it and give it some ground cloves and nutmeg. The next challenge I faced was how to create a light and airy version without whipped egg whites. Creating an aquafaba meringue became the obvious choice and I almost went down that path. But in the end, all I really needed to do was really whip up the drink in my Vitamix (high speed blender) which performed perfectly and created a slightly frothy vegan version of eggnog – my holiday Veggnog!

The most surprising review of my new drink came when I packed along enough for others to try if they wished. I wasn’t shy about saying this was a vegan version and much to my surprise, everyone at the party wanted to give it a go. The bottom-line – it turned out to be the favored version!

Yield: makes about 2 liters

  • 300 grams (2 1/4 cups) unsalted cashews
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • freshly ground nutmeg (i use a lot)
  • 100 ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened soy yogurt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk
  • 150 grams (2 cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 liter (1 quart) cold water
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) egg replacer
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) whisky, rum or bourbon (optional)
  • Let’s begin by getting those cashew nuts soaked for at least 4 hours. Just place them in a bowl and cover with water, leaving them until they soften.
  • Drain the cashews and discard the soaking liquid. Add the softened cashews, salt, spices, soy yogurt, almond milk and icing sugar to your blender (It is very, very helpful to have a high-speed blender for this drink. Other blenders will work, but your results will be superior if you use something like a Vitamix). As you blend the cashews, spices, yogurt, almond milk and sugar, make sure to keep scraping the sides of the blender and keep processing on high speed for about 2 minutes – your cashew cream should be completely smooth.
  • Add the egg replacer and whisky to the cream and blend to thoroughly combine.
  • Now is the time to have a taste and make some adjustments. Be careful with the booze if you are using it – it will continue to intensify with time so go easy. Adjust the consistency by adding water to thin it, although you could do this when serving or heating. Finally, add more sugar if you want it sweeter and of course, more nutmeg to give it that distinctive eggnog flavor.
  • Store in the refrigerator in covered jars. The Veggnog will oxidize somewhat with the time, but this won’t affect the flavor. It should last a maximum of 5 days refrigerated, but I would challenge you to keep on hand that long…

This is a Sample Recipe

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