I was very excited this year to hear So Delicious, one of the dairy-free brands of Turtle Mountain, was launching two new holiday flavors: Nog and Mint Chocolate. Since I won’t touch soy or anything containing it with a ten-foot straw, I have long wished that there were healthier alternatives available to good ol’ eggnog. The rice nog options on the market have a good taste, but are too thin and watery for me. So, I picked up a few cartons of both flavors of the So Delicious holiday flavors and have been “playing” ever since. I also conned a few friends who are far more creative than I am into experimenting with them. For the record: So Delicious did not provide any product to me for free, so you can rest assured that this post is 100%, brutally honest (as all my posts are). I’ve included links back to pages on their website simply because I think it makes sense to go to the source when seeking information on ingredients.
I’ve always been impressed with the ethics and philosophy of So Delicious. Their coconut products are all Non-GMO certified, many of their products are free of the top eight food allergens, and most of the Turtle Mountain products have received one or more of other certifications such as Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, Organic and Pas Yisrael. The company puts a high priority on using quality ingredients that are safe. You can read more about the ingredients they use (and don’t use) on their Ingredient Facts page.
Overall, I was impressed by the flavor of both the Nog and Mint Chocolate flavors. They’re not your grandma’s holiday drinks, but they are yummy and have fewer calories, carbs and fat than traditional eggnog. The fact they’re dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and corn-free is an added bonus.
Nog Flavor: Of all the people who tasted the Nog, the most common response was, “Wow. This tastes great, but is really coconutty!” I’m not sure why we were surprised that a coconut nog tastes like coconuts, but we were. (The Mint Chocolate flavor has no coconut flavor at all.) The coconut flavor in the Nog is not overwhelming and adds a nice undernote.
The Nog has a really good flavor that comes very close to the taste of traditional eggnog. It is also nice and thick. This nog is the closest in taste and consistency to traditional eggnog that I’ve ever tried. I was impressed! The Nog is fantastic in coffee and one of my testers commented that it also blends well with rum, vodka, tequila and liqueurs. (We lovingly refer to her as “the lush,” but rest assured she drinks responsibly.) Not sure if it’s significant or not, but Ginger the Wonder Dog also loved it and begged for more after being accidentally treated to some that I spilled on the floor. The good news is the Nog does not contain any sugar substitutes and therefore does not contain Xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please protect your canine friends from products containing Xylitol, as it can cause rapid liver failure and death if dogs consume it.)
I made French toast using the Nog combined with eggs and a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg and it was a huge hit. (If you prefer, So Delicious has a vegan, egg-free recipe for Holiday Nog French Toast. Click the link to view it.) I also think it’s safe to assume the Holiday Nog would be a suitable substitution for regular eggnog in any recipe that calls for it.
Nutritional Breakdown: One half cup of the Nog contains 90 calories, 30 of which come from healthy fat, and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. (One half-cup of regular eggnog made with whole milk contains 180 calories, 70 from fat, and 65 mg of cholesterol.) A half cup of Nog contains 15 grams of carbohydrates and 0 grams of protein. (Regular eggnog contains 21 grams of carbs and 5 grams of protein per half cup.) Overall, the coconut Nog is far healthier than regular eggnog, but at 15g of carbs per half cup still needs to be consumed with care by anyone who’s trying to lose weight or who has blood sugar or insulin-resistance issues.
The ingredients listed on the carton of the Nog flavor are: Organic Coconut Milk (water, organic coconut cream), organic dried cane syrup, natural flavors, annatto for color, kosher sea salt, carrageenan, guar gum, locust bean gum, spices (nutmeg). Note that So Delicious does not use a guar gum sourced from corn, so this product should be safe for those with corn allergies. The product’s thick consistency is from the carrageenan (a seaweed thickener), guar gum and locust bean gum. Anyone with a carrageenan sensitivity obviously needs to avoid this product. Annatto is a very common natural food coloring made from the seeds of the Achiote tree. Although So Delicious uses a high-quality Annatto and sensitivities are unusual, some people are sensitive to Annatto.
Mint Chocolate Flavor: With one exception, everyone who tasted the Mint Chocolate flavor loved it. The one dissenting vote said she felt the mint flavor tasted “fake” and like mouthwash. So Delicious only uses natural flavors (truly natural, not faked), so I was surprised by this reaction but appreciated her honesty. No one else felt the flavor was odd, and most couldn’t get enough of this flavor! The Mint Chocolate flavor also blended well with coffee and “the lush” commented it blends well with booze, especially Kahlua, Bailey’s and Peppermint Schnaaps. This flavor was also delicious served hot, especially with a candy cane as a garnish.
One enterprising tester put an entire carton of the Mint Chocolate flavor in her ice cream maker and said it tasted so good she refused to share the resulting ice cream with her family. No one tested the Holiday Nog flavor in an ice cream maker, but I’m going to assume it would also make delicious ice cream. Playing with making ice cream from both flavors and adding various ingredients would be a lot of fun, but time didn’t allow for it this year.
I made French toast with the Mint Chocolate flavor, but didn’t think it was as good as that made with the Nog. I confess I wasn’t creative and merely blended eggs with the Mint Chocolate drink. I think there’s potential there for a fantastic Mint Chocolate French toast recipe, but I didn’t have the time or the ingredients needed to pursue this.
Nutritional Breakdown: One half cup of the Mint Chocolate drink contains only 50 calories, 20 of which come from fat, and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. A half cup of Mint Chocolate contains 7 grams of carbohydrates (a half serving) and 0 grams of protein. The Mint Chocolate flavor is again far healthier than regular eggnog and is a better option for anyone with blood sugar or insulin-resistance issues. Overall, it’s a fairly “guilt-free” option!
The ingredients listed on the carton of the Mint Chocolate flavor are: Organic Coconut Milk (water, organic coconut cream), organic dried cane syrup, cocoa (processed with alkali), natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, guar gum, locust bean gum, Reb A (stevia extract), monk fruit. (See my comments on the Nog flavor for some of these ingredients.) I think it’s interesting the Nog flavor lists “kosher sea salt,” but the Mint Chocolate simply lists “sea salt.” Whether the salts used are truly different or if this is simply the result of a wording difference is a mystery. I honestly wish they used cocoa that was not processed with alkali, but the amount contained in the product is very tiny. Alkali is used to make the cocoa less bitter, less acidic, and to change its color. My preference is to use pure cacao powder (far less processed), but–again–the amount of alkali found in the final product is very, very tiny. I also wish they had used a plain stevia extract instead of using the FDA-approved Reb A which is highly chemically processed, but legal issues and costs may have impacted the company’s decision to use the Reb A. Monk fruit is a fruit that is very sweet and which can be used instead of sugar. I approve of its use to reduce the amount of cane sugar used.
Recipes: I haven’t tried these recipes, but they look wonderful enough to share. I also don’t know any of the bloggers who created these recipes, but am happy to share what appear to be very creative options.
Have you tried these holiday flavors? What did you think? Please share!