I’ve been a fan of Eggo waffles since before the frozen breakfast food had its moment of pop fame as Eleven’s favorite food in the Netflix hit Stranger Things. That fame certainly hasn’t hurt Kellogg’s and one of its best-known brands. We live in an era where foods and flavors are a free-for-all with all varieties of curious and sometimes downright misguided combinations of flavors brought to market. I document many of these on my Instagram account – @d1taylor if you’re curious – with the most recent being variations on classic condiments that offer surprising innovation.
This experimentation with flavors isn’t limited to the center aisles of the grocery store as distilleries have begun exploring novel combinations of flavors and brands. Turner Classic Movies might have its “movie-themed wines“, but breaking into new markets by rethinking brands and signature flavors is well established. For example, Bailey’s Irish Coffee used to have just one or two flavors, but a quick visit to the company’s Web site reveals over a dozen variations, including Red Velvet, Apple Pie, Chocolate Cherries, and S’Mores. Or Vodka. There are dozens of different flavored vodkas on the market that typically offer just a subtle hint of cinnamon, cherry, chocolate, coffee, orange, or another exotic additional taste.
ACQUIRING OUT-OF-STATE LIQUOR: IMPOSSIBLE
As a result, when I saw articles about Eggo-branded eggnog liqueur from Sugarlands Distillery show up in the trade press, I realized that I had to get a bottle if nothing else than just to enjoy the tasting experience with friends and family. The problem is that Sugarlands is a relatively small distillery based in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and was only producing a limited run of the eggnog liqueur. How to get ahold of a bottle? When I first checked, there were no distributors listed within 250 miles of me, so I did what any collector would do: I posted on Facebook asking for help!
A friend who was based in Tennessee responded and after a few failed attempts to buy a bottle at local liquor stores, he finally scored a bottle for me. Success! Now, how to get it from Tennessee to Colorado? That proved a problem. In fact, that proved so problematic – it’s illegal to mail or ship liquor across state lines without an appropriate license – that he ended up enjoying the bottle with his family instead. Friend: 1. Me: 0.
Then I rechecked the Sugarlands site and lo, and behold, an eggnog holiday miracle; there were more distributors listed in Colorado. Almost all of which, upon a quick phone call, reported that they were sold out. A hot commodity, this Eggo Nog! I finally scored one of the last two bottles in inventory at Daveco, a liquor store about 30 minutes from my home that bills itself as the largest liquor store in the world. It is definitely enormous, but I was very focused and delightedly walked out with one of these precious commodities.
HOW DOES EGGO NOG TASTE?
First off, I think it’s important to identify that it’s not a “drinking” eggnog like the usual holiday fare, but rather what Sugarlands calls an “Appalachian Sippin’ Cream”. Here’s how it’s all described on the back of the bottle:
In case you can’t read it, the copy says “Appalachian Sippin’ Cream: Eggo Nog is a delicious way to l’eggo of the most chaotic time of the year: The holidays. It’s an easy drinking eggnog liqueur sure to leave you feeling crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Put it under the tree or pair it with your favorite Eggo waffle!”
Honestly, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to pair this with a waffle, but we’ll allow for some creativity with the ad copy. 🙂
It turns out that this stuff is delicious. It’s thick and has a great mouth feel (as they say in food-tasting circles) along with a perfect eggnog flavor. It’s blended with a typical Tennessee bourbon, giving it that alcoholic angle. Check the front label and it’s pretty clear this stuff is also really strong; 40 proof, making it 20% alcohol. This is a lot for a liqueur, making this a really strong “sipping cream”. By comparison, Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur is only 34 proof, with a much subtler alcohol flavor.
In fact, all but one of my informal dozen person tasting panel agreed that out of the bottle Eggo Nog was actually too strong and used something else to cut the alcohol level. We ended up with a choice of two different non-alcoholic eggnogs, which, when mixed 50/50 with the Eggo Nog, produced a truly delicious, spiked but not-too-spiked holiday eggnog.
Interestingly, the Southern Comfort egg nog is non-alcoholic, though I suppose the company is hoping you’ll add some of its Louisville, Kentucky whiskey to make it an adult beverage. Whether you think 40 proof is a bit high for a spiked sipping eggnog or not, however, there’s no question that Sugarlands Distillery really got it right with the Eggo Nog Appalachian Sippin’ Cream. If it wasn’t well-nigh impossible to get a bottle, I would encourage you to seek some out just to try it. It would indeed be perfect for holiday parties!