Long associated with the holidays, eggnog has become a rather recent tradition in my family—and here I’m talking about the decadent, rich, over-the-top rum-containing stuff, having been motivated to make our own in response to Rosie Schaap’s “Eggnog the Hard Way” back in 2012, in a NYT magazine.
But since I’m here to talk tea, and because sometimes you just don’t want to do eggnog “the hard way,” or because you just don’t want all those calories, or because you don’t do dairy or eggs, there are some teas that will fill in admirably!
Two in particular come to mind, Eierlikör (which translates to “eggnog”) and Almond Milk. Now almonds aren’t right for eggnog because the flavor is supposed to come from nutmeg, but this Almond Milk tea reminds me of Eierlikör which reminds me of eggnog, so I’m just going to go with it.
Eierlikör, an Eggnog Tisane
Eierlikör, a naturally caffeine-free tisane from TeaHaus in Ann Arbor, is made of red-brown slivers of rooibos, golden sunflower petals, intact purple-blue mallow blossoms, and natural flavor. (Read more about rooibos in my previous post, What Is Rooibos Tea?)
I prefer my tea (and coffee) strong, so I was generous in the “heaping teaspoon” to “8 ounces of water” ratio, and brewed the leaves for around 15 minutes (you can’t overbrew rooibos).
The aroma of the dry leaves is a soft and sweet earthy, with a hint of almond. The copper-red brew has a slightly sweet with almost an egg-like aroma, again with that faint almond note.
Does it taste anything like eggnog?
Well, I think that it actually does have the creamy and rich flavor of eggnog but without the heaviness.
Part of this is due to its creamy mouthfeel (the blossoms contribute to this effect). The flavor is slightly sweet but on a slightly earthy base. The creaminess lingers pleasantly in your mouth.
Almond Milk, like a Latte di Mandorla
Moving to my second choice, Almond Milk from TeaGschwendner, Chicago, this is also a naturally caffeine-free tisane, but with a honeybush rather than rooibos base. (Read more about honeybush in my previous post, What Is Honeybush Tea? A Treat!)
The brown to red-brown woody-looking small chunks of honeybush are generously sprinkled with white cornflower and marigold petals and almond slivers (also contains natural flavor).
Again, I was generous in my “one level teaspoon” to “8 ounces of water” ratio, and brewed it for around 15 minutes.
The aroma of the dry leaves was a sharp almond, while the brown-red brew had a somewhat sweet, almond aroma that was still strong, but not quite as sharp.
Its creamy mouthfeel again reminds of eggnog, especially with its slightly sweet and liqueur-like flavor. While not nutmeg, the liqueur-like note is what does it for me, and I like the almond note that lingers on the palate.
Of the two, almond milk has a more distinct flavor, but both have the wonderfully creamy mouthfeel that is one of the great features of true eggnog—sans calories, which means that you can eat that extra cookie with no regrets!