Northern Lights Eggnog
Review: Northern Lights Eggnog 84.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 10, 2012
Northern Lights Eggnog is a rum based premix from Highwood Distillers. Last year as a test product, Highwood produced 500 cases for the Western Canadian market, and I was given a sample bottle by the distillery to sample at my leisure (and to provide feedback to the distillery).
I have been told by the distillery that Northern Lights Eggnog is produced with real rum from the distillery (their Highwood Brand) and uses (as much as possible) authentic natural ingredients. The ingredients list on the back label does mention natural and artificial flavour. This is because there is a small synthetic component in one of the flavours. Apparently there are times when an entirely natural flavour will not mix properly (creating flocculation, curdling, etc.). So the flavour house which produces the flavour will introduce a component to stabilize the flavour so that it blends properly. Therefore the distillery will list “artificial” as well, even though the actual flavour comes from a natural source.
In Canada the labeling laws are fairly stringent, and flavours which would be considered ‘natural’ in other jurisdictions must be labeled as ‘artificial’ in Canada. (In my review of Red Stag Black Cherry Flavoured Bourbon I encountered this when a product which was considered natural in the United States was labelled as artificial in Canada.) To be fair to the Northern Lights Eggnog, I could not find a single brand of eggnog in my grocery store that did not list artificial flavours and colours as part of their ingredients.
In the Bottle 4/5
I like the bottle which contains the Northern Lights Eggnog; it has an attractive shape, and I like that the label displays some colour contrast which makes it easy to see and read. I would though, like the label to have just a bit more ‘oomph’. Perhaps a more realistic portrayal of the Northern Lights in a winter sky, or maybe something that speaks a little better to the festive season would work.
In the Glass 8.5/10
I am quite pleased by what I see after I pour myself a little of the premixed eggnog into my glass. This looks rich and creamy in the glass and the ‘eggnog’ aroma has a nice firm imprint of rum and a nice mild spiciness. The vanilla is obvious and I sense hints of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, but, none of the spices seem overpowering or out of balance. This is going to be an easy-going eggnog as far as spiciness is concerned and one in which the rum is allowed to flourish in the mix.
In the Mouth 51/60
To get myself into the spirit of things I decided my first trial with Northern Lights Eggnog would be consumed as I did a little evening stargazing in my hot tub (I was hoping to spot some real northern lights in the starry sky). On the whole, the premixed eggnog is pretty good! You can taste the rum shining through which I like, although what I liked as well was the mild spiciness. Not because I like mild spices, but because this allowed me to spice the eggnog up the way I liked. I added a bit of cinnamon sprinkles on top and barely a touch of ground cloves with grated bittersweet chocolate. This tasted great!
I also tried a little with a shot of bourbon added for extra kick (Knob Creek if you are wondering), and again I was well pleased. I am not saying this is as good as my regular home-made recipe, but it will definitely do in a pinch when unexpected guests drop by for some Christmas Cheer, or when you don’t feel like going all out with a home-made recipe.
In the Throat 13/15
The creamy texture ensures the palate is coated and because this is eggnog, the flavours that last on the palate are a bit of rumminess, trails of vanilla and light holiday spices.
The Afterburn 8/10
Highwood has made a nice solid product for the holiday season. If anyone out there wants a nice premixed eggnog made with real rum, the Northern Lights Eggnog has my Rum Howler stamp of approval!
This is not so much a recipe as it is my suggestion for serving the Northern Lights Eggnog.
Northern Lights Eggnog Supreme
4 oz cup Northern Lights Eggnog (heated)
3/4 oz Good Bourbon (Optional)
Sprinkle of ground Cloves
Grated Bittersweet Chocolate
Preheat the eggnog to a warm (but not hot) temperature
add a little bourbon
add the ground cloves and the grated bittersweet chocolate
Add a stick of cinnamon and stir
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Each Review contains a rating or score out of 100, and these scores can be interpreted using the following scale:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)