Serious Eats: Drinks

Which is the Best Local Eggnog in Boston?

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[Photograph: Meredith Smith]

High Lawn Farm ($5.99/half gallon) is the first eggnog I have ever purchased. The production that goes into making eggnog at my family's holiday party each year is such a ritual that it's borderline sacred, and buying eggnog is considered sacrilege. So forgive me, family, for I have sinned. But when I saw that High Lawn, the Lee, Massachusetts dairy farm that produces some of the most widely available premium milk in the Boston area, had gotten into the eggnog game, I figured it was worth a try.

Unfortunately, never having bought eggnog does not exclude me from exposure to thick, soupy, overly sweetened holiday milky beverages in a carton. They're out there and they weasel their way behind a lot of holiday party bars. Now if it were High Lawn that the corner-cutting spirits slingers were serving, I would nearly be fooled into thinking it was homemade. Sure, it's a little sweet and has a slight bubble gum aftertaste, but the consistency is pleasant and light, not at all gummy. There is a definite nutmeg flavor on the front end that I appreciated. Encouraged by my encounter with a drinkable store bought version, I wanted to get deeper into the world of high end eggnog.

I have some connections in the area who get their milk delivered by Thatcher Farms in Milton, MA. Turns out that they also get their eggnog delivered. I made my way over with my bottle of High Lawn in tow for a side-by-side taste off.

Thatcher Farms Eggnog ($3.95/qt) comes in a fancy glass bottle, so naturally it looks like it tastes better. So as not to be swayed by its wholesome, farm fresh veneer, we set up some blind taste tests.

It turns out that our presumptions were right on—Thatcher Farms does taste better. The warm spice of nutmeg plays prominently in this version. Yolky and rich, it has a much thicker consistency than High Lawn. Despite it being the thicker of the two, it steered clear of veering into rendered marshmallow territory. I think High Lawn's lighter body is to its advantage...when going the virgin route. The thicker Thatcher texture is just begging for a couple of splashes of whiskey.

Thatcher Farms is a little bit harder to come by, though you can buy it in a couple of area markets like Fruit Center Marketplace in Milton and Hingham, or Sherman Market in Somerville. It's worth hunting down if you want to try the best store-bought version in the area, but High Lawn is a worthy runner-up, plus it's both cheaper and more widely available.

What's your favorite Boston-area eggnog?

About the author: Meredith Smith is the Slice editor. You can follow her on Twitter: @mertsmith.

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