What Eggnog Is the Best?

Whether you’re for or vehemently against eggnog, a product that easily wins the title of “Most Polarizing Beverage” of the holiday season, there’s no denying that it is — and should be — a personal journey of discovery. To help guide you in that creamy and sweet saga, the Food & Wine team tasted as many different cartons as we could find in New York City grocery stores at the start of the holiday season. While this isn’t an exhaustive survey of every eggnog on the market nationwide, we tasted nearly 15 different options that came from brands with wide (and local) distribution. Some were fairly traditional, others flavored, and several fell into the rapidly expanding dairy-free nog category.

Before we dive into our favorites and what we love about them, let us ask ourselves some fundamental questions: How did eggnog even become a fixture of the holidays? Are there real eggs in it? And, is it even worth drinking it without booze?

What Is Eggnog?

Culinary historians generally agree that eggnog dates back to medieval Britain in the 13th century, when members of the aristocracy often drank hot milk and eggs combined with spices and alcohol known as “possets” (not to be confused with the other, more common kind of posset, which is like a sweet, chilled pudding). The drink’s boozy profile evolved to include sherry, and, later, rum. Meanwhile, as America settled into its status as a fledgling country in the 18th century, President George Washington’s heavily spiked

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