Nog-Off: Speed Round Rematch!

Two years after the first fight for vegan nog supremacy went down, the landscape of dairy-free, egg-free holiday beverages has finally shifted once more. The first change is not a happy one; it seems that the Earth Balance Soy Nog has thrown in the towel, bowing out of the game altogether. This would have left a gaping hole in the lineup, but the good news is that a spry newcomer has stepped up to the plate in its wake. Going by the name of “Holiday Nog” by Califia Farms, this rookie is a definite underdog, having appeared on the scene with little fanfare and almost no web presence. It doesn’t help matters that these shapely 48-ounce bottles are Whole Foods Market exclusives, severely limiting their availability across the country.

What the Holiday Nog lacks in distribution, it makes up for in innovation. The first almond-based nog on the market, it fills a niche previously untouched, meaning that those first punches land with great impact on the largely soy-based competitors. Touting itself as a lighter choice, it goes beyond the standard comparison to traditional eggnog, and goes straight for the kill, hitting where it hurts and boasting lower sugar content than any of the other commercial options out there. True to the claims, this milky elixir pours freely, approximately the same viscosity of standard almond milk. Fine for a solo sip, but that kind of thickness really can’t support an added splash of holiday “spirit”.

Without any detectable almond flavor, it was a brash, borderline harsh and definitely manufactured nutmeg note that dominated, storming in a bit too hard and heavy to really enjoy. The rookie must have tired itself out in that first barrage, because the sweetness struck me as rather lacking, too. Some will definitely appreciate this aspect, owing to a light hand on the organic cane sugar, but quite frankly, I wanted a treat that could stand up to the promise of eggnog, and this just wasn’t doing it. Sorry, sports fans, but this kid is down for the count, leaving So Delicious as the reining champ.

For you folks keeping score at home, that brings the final ranking, from most highly to least recommended, to…

1. Coconut Nog by So Delicious

2. Silk Nog by Silk

3. Holiday Nog by Califia Farms

4. Rice Nog by Rice Dream

Don’t let me tell you what to fill your mug with, though. Host you own nog-off at home and taste the options for yourself! I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate for Whole Foods Market, furnished by the natural grocery giant itself, so that you can pick up a full complement of eggless nogs, or whatever else might bring you a bit of edible holiday cheer. All you need to do is be a resident of the US, and leave me a comment about your favorite commercial nog, homemade recipes, or what you like to make with your excess nog once the holidays are over. Make sure your name and email are both entered into the appropriate boxes so I know who to contact! The entry period will be open until Friday the 13th at Midnight EST, so start talking!

UPDATE: After consulting with my very favorite random number generator, together we determined that the winner of the gift card would be…

The owner of comment #40, otherwise known as sara!

If that wasn’t the result you were hoping for, don’t despair. You can still snap up a coupon good for 50 cents of off Califia Holiday Nog should you want to give it a try yourself. Stay tuned for more giveaways to come, too!

90 thoughts on “Nog-Off: Speed Round Rematch!

  1. Thanks for the update on the new nog! I’ve been wanting to try it, but buying such a large bottle and having been burned by bad nog in the past made me hesitant. Your number one choice is mine as well, though I haven’t yet met a nog I love as well as the ones from my childhood. Someday!

  2. I bought a bottle because I love Califia’s almond milk & coffee drinks, but I was really unimpressed with the nog. So Delicious coconut nog & Silk nog still ring true for me. So delicious for drinking, and the Silk nog for baking into cheesecakes!

  3. I love to use Silk nog in my coffee in place of soy milk. I top it off with coconut whipped cream. It’s not quite as rich as the eggnog lattes I used to enjoy, but still quite good, festive, and MUCH healthier. :)

  4. I’ve never tried a nog, so I’d probably buy a few cartons to give them a try and experiment in the kitchen, at least the ones on your list.

  5. hmmm..I’ve seen some recipes for vegan eggnog, but I haven’t tried them, so I would have to go with the Silk Nog for the moment. I think using it blend up some frozen bananas with a little extra spice mix added would be delicious (maybe a little melted chocolate on it at the end).

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more! I wish you had done this review a couple weeks ago. I could have saved some money. The almond nog was nothing special and you are forced to buy a big container. Earth balance nog was just okay. So Delicious and silk are like 1a & 1b to me! Mix together for a nice treat!

  7. I had actually seen this almond milk nog at Whole Foods, but opted for the So Delicious instead since I was a little skeptical that it wouldn’t be as thick and creamy. Glad to hear I probably made a good choice!

    After Christmas, I love to use my leftover nog both in iced coffee (despite the fact that it’s way too cold for iced drinks) and as the liquid in my morning bowl of oatmeal!.

  8. I have to admit I’ve never found a nog, vegan or dairy, that lives up to expectations. I’m kind of resigned to the fact that it’s one of those treats I remember loving as a child which doesn’t cut it as an adult. It’s been a few years since I made the attempt though, so maybe I should try the coconut nog.

  9. I’m not sure if I’m eligible, having won your previous WF gift card, but I’ll comment anyway. I like Silk Nog. I use it to make mini loaves of a yeasted eggnog bread with dried fruit and pecans that I soak in bourbon. mmmmmmmmmm…..

    Thanks again for that gift card, BTW! I still have a big bag of nooch in my pantry from that shopping trip!

  10. I generally prefer the less sweet variety of nog, so I think the Silk reigns supreme for me out of what I’ve. Had so far!

  11. Vitasoy Holly Nog is my absolute favorite vegan nog. Since it is no longer available in the US, I need to keep trying new to me varieties.

  12. Nothing screams holiday more than nog! I love the stuff. I usually just like drinking it straight and my favorite so far is the Silk but I’ve never had the So Delicious before I don’t think.

  13. I tried the califia egg nog. while i agree it isn’t as rich and satisfying as so delicious egg nog, it does the trick when you’re looking for a lighter alternative.

  14. Even before I went vegan, I liked the non-dairy stuff better. I’ve only ever tried Silk, but I have a carton of the So Delicious stuff in my fridge now waiting for me to try it. I’m glad it’s at the top of the list!

  15. I haven’t had many nogs, but I do love the So Delicious chocolate mint coconut milk that’s out this time of year.

  16. For years I have loved the Silk Nog, but this year my local store didn’t carry it, so I tried the So Delicious Coconut Nog instead. Wow! It was so much better. Thick enough, just sweet enough but not too sweet and the right balance of spice so I could still add my own freshly grated nutmeg. Good enough to enjoy on its own, yet will stand up to a shot of brandy! I agree with you, Coconut Nog is my new number one choice.

  17. Agree! I wanted to love Califia’s nog, with its spicy bits visible throughout, but I didn’t. I prefer Silk to all others, but I embarking on a quest to make my first homemade nog this year. And if it fails miserably, I’ll buy more Silk. :)

  18. absolutely love the coconut eggnog …..your photo done so good that it look very inviting …i know what i am adding to my shopping list today !!!

    Thank you for sharing.

  19. We make coconut or rice nog ice cream! We have a nice cheap little ice cream maker and the nog last a lot longer in iced form! Of course we add a little extra nutmeg, cinnamon and agave syrup, so we can pretend it’s a dessert and not a drink…

  20. Sarah Kramer’s eggnog recipe (from How It All Began) is the best I’ve had. As far as store-bought eggnogs, I like Silk.

  21. I saw a pic of that Holiday Nog earlier today, and was thinking, how did I miss this?!?!? I think I’ll stick with the So Delicious that is already in my fridge. :) I have a recipe for cranberry/nog muffins that I think I’m going to try out this week!

  22. I don’t think I’ve ever had nog of any sort. I’ve seen some recipes for egg nog ice cream though that look positively delicious.

  23. I’m intrigued by homemade dairy-free nog recipes, but haven’t given them a try yet. Maybe this year I finally will! In the meantime, I’m a So Delicious fan :)

  24. I haven’t purchased nog in a few seasons, but I’m pretty sure my favorite was Silk. Thanks for the giveaway and for sparing me the Califia nog expense; I was intrigued before I read your review. I hope you’re having a beautiful holiday season despite the intense cold!

  25. Only you can do this brilliant nog off! i have never had nog before, so i have no frame of reference. and with the amount of nutmeg my mom fed me in porridges to heal my tummy when i was young, i have quite a dislike for too much nutmeg or even a very detectable little:) . i did however use up the so delicious nog in pancakes, cakes and cookies!

  26. I really though nog was a lost cause for me since turning vegan last spring….thanks for the education on nog alternatives! I used to us leftover nog to make yummy french toast for a new years breakfast…I wonder if these alternatives would work too? I could find out if…..;)

  27. I have tried the So Delicious Coconut Nog and it is BOMB.COM! I love it! I never tried egg nog before becoming vegan, so I don’t know what its supposed to taste like, but its an A+ in my book!

  28. Raw Vegan Egg Nog is my favorite nog!
    This is my go to recipe, try it!

    1/2 cup pecans
    1/2 cup walnuts
    3 cups water
    About 8 dates
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 of a vanilla bean

    Blend it all up, and enjoy a glass by the fire! Too easy to be this good. :)

  29. So glad you reviewed all these, there’s so many options now that it’s hard to choose! So far my favorite is the So Delicious Nog but I want to give the Silk version a try after reading this! Also, not an egg nog but I also really love the So Delicious Mint Chocolate Milk!

  30. I love the Califia Farms Holiday Nog! I guess two years as a plant based eater and hardly ever eating sugar has made me very sensitive to sweetness, but I think it is sweet heaven!

  31. So Delicious is really SO DELICIOUS! I love anything from this brand, so when I saw the coconut nog on the shelves at Whole Foods, I knew I had to try it. On my second round, WF had it on sale- 2 for $5! Even my ever-so-vegan-product-skeptical boyfriend tried and loved it! I mostly drink it as an after dinner sweet, but sometimes we mix in a drop or two of rum or whiskey.

  32. I’ve only ever tried the so delicious coconut nog and I love it!! So much I haven’t bothered to try any others ;)

  33. I like the Silk Nog with a splash of rum. Will have to try the So Delicious Coconut Nog. Thanks for the great blog!

  34. I love Silk’s nog (tho I wish carrageenan was absent from it) and if I care to spare any for recipes it is in pancakes and my coffee! I wish I liked the coconut but I don’t want the coconut flavor.

  35. I use So Delicious coconut milk nog and turn it into hot chocolate, add it to my coffee, or make an ice cream float with mint chocolate chip ice cream (coconut bliss!).

  36. I’ve been partial to soy nog over coconut until this year, but I think So Delicious must have changed something in their recipe because this year it doesn’t have that weird aftertaste that made me dislike it in the past. So that’s my favorite this year!

  37. My kids and I enjoy the lighter taste of the Califia Holiday Nog and drink it instead of their regular almond milk for breakfast and for a night time treat. I can see using this nog to make a vegan french toast.

  38. I’m a fan of Silk’s Soy Nog. Tried the So Delicious, but it tastes too much like coconut. I just don’t think coconut flavor belongs in a holiday nog, sorry. (I feel the same way about most So Delicious coconut products–always end up being disappointed at how coconut-ty they are). I have actually looking for the Califia Farms one, so I appreciate your review of it. I won’t look quite so hard now. If I do find it at the local WF, I might try stirring a bit of Soyatoo in, the way my mom used to stir whipped cream into eggnog to give it some extra body.

  39. Oh, Hannah, you broke my heart with this post. Earth Balance was my FAVORITE vegan nog, and I was SO happy when I found it a couple of years ago. (Silk Nog used to be my favorite, but for the past 6 or so years, it’s had a band-aid-like flavor that has made it highly unpalatable.) The search begins again.

  40. I”m so behind on this! I think I’ve only had silk nog, and the silk pumpkin spice which is awesome. I guess I need to start trying more eggnog brands. I was curious about the almond nog, too bad you didn’t like it :\ though I like less sweet things so it may work.
    Plus, a splash of rum can fix anything :)

  41. I tried the Coconut Nog and it was too strong with the coconut flavor. I love the Silk Nog by Silk. Tastes rich and creamy just like Egg Nog. My Grandson’s love it!

  42. This is my first Christmas as a vegan, and therefore my first venture into vegan nog. I have only had had Silk so far, and I LOVE it. My daughters and I all love it as is, and we also make ‘ice cream’ by blending it with frozen bananas – SO delicious. I also make my own egg nog lattes at home with it. I have been wanting to try the So Delicious coconut one as well, now even more after reading your review!

  43. I’ve only just recently seen the Calfia beverages in stores but haven’t tried them yet. The So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog is a hands-down winner for me. It’s excellent for just plain drinking, in eggless bread pudding, overnight French Toast, baked oatmeal, and even in cookies (which I tried last year for the first time). Yummy, yummy!

  44. I so want to know your favorite! I’m partial to the coconut and pumpkin spice drinks, but gosh, I wouldn’t say no to any warmed with a little cardamom, cinnamon and hey, some rum.

  45. silk nog is my favorite. I couldn’t find it last year :(

    I want to make the smitten kitchen cream-nog cookies

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