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 enjoying eggnog while growing up – perhaps even more when my parents allowed me to drink a bit of the spiked version. We usually had 3-4 quarts (I was very much non-metric in those days) around for about 3 weeks. It was a Christmas drink, that we enjoyed cold and undoubtedly served with a dozen Christmas cookies.

But eggnog didn’t stay in my life, and I haven’t had any…or even thought much about it…for years. Well, at least until I received 3-4 invitations to attend holiday parties and the thought of eggnog resurfaced – only this time with the added challenge of making a vegan version.

I started with the mandatory internet search to see what others have been making, but I quickly became frustrated with the 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 – that seemed to be a perfect starting point. I initially thought about thinning the cream with water or…wait…how about unsweetened almond milk? Excellent, all I need to do now is sweeten the drink, stabilize it and flavor it with ground cloves and nutmeg.

The next challenge was how to create a light and airy version without whipped egg whites. Using aquafaba to make a meringue was an obvious choice. But I chose a different path. I decided to whip the drink in my Vitamix (high speed blender), and that proved successful – I had my slightly frothy vegan version of eggnog…my holiday Veggnog!

And the reviews from the holiday parties? Well, even the non-vegans voted the Veggnog as the favorite.

Difficulty: simple
Yield: makes about 2 liters (2 quarts)

  • 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 used about 1 heaping teaspoon)

  • 100 ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened soy yogurt

  • 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk

  • 150 grams (2 cups) of icing sugar (powdered sugar)

  • 1 liter (1 quart) of 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 far better if you use something like 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 combine the mixture thoroughly.
  • Now is the time to have a taste and make any necessary 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.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

Store in the refrigerator in covered jars. The Veggnog will oxidize somewhat with 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…

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