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

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