PRODUCT REVIEW (Holiday Style): Arethusa Farm Eggnog

Picture Credit: Arethusa Farm Facebook Page

Picture Credit: Arethusa Farm Facebook Page

I really have never have enjoyed eggnog… UNTIL now! Arethusa Farm eggnog has given me that love for this holiday classic. And now, a new tradition for me springs to life as I cannot imagine a Christmas without it.

Arethusa Farms is located in the hills of beautiful and quaint, Litchfield, Connecticut (specifically Bantam, CT). For all of you that are outside the greater Connecticut area, I am sorry. This just means that you have to travel to our neck of the woods! Arethusa Farm and Dairy (http://www.arethusafarm.com/) makes a variety of dairy products: milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt. They advertise their brand as “Milk like it used to taste.” Arethusa Farms also has award winning cows… no wonder their products are amazing.

Eggnog is an interesting beverage. “Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.” (Source: Wikipedia)

“The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk. The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip, from the practice of “flipping” (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it.” (Source: Wikipedia)

“In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog. The drink is described in Cold Comfort Farm (chapter 21) as a Hell’s Angel, made with an egg, two ounces of brandy, a teaspoonful of cream, and some chips of ice, where it is served as breakfast.

The drink crossed the Atlantic to the British colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America. When the supply of rum to the newly founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.

The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on 23–25 December 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Arethusa Dairy Farm Eggnog has the following ingredients: Grade A Milk and Cream, Whole Eggs (Citric Acid), Cane Sugar, Pure Vanilla, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Vitamin D3. Arethusa Farms states the following about their eggnog: “Years ago eggnog was made by families in their homes around the holidays as a special indulgence to celebrate the joyous times with family and friends. It was made with the riches, freshest ingredients they had; whole eggs, heavy cream, milk and sugar and flavored with their most cherished spices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Nothing was more welcoming to a house guest on a cold night than a fresh glass of eggnog served by the fire. Arethusa Farm Dairy is bringing this tradition back with its homemade all natural eggnog. Made like it used to be made with fresh whole eggs, our own whole milk and heavy cream and flavored with the best West Indies nutmeg and cinnamon. Help us recreate this tradition and celebrate the holiday with a glass of Arethusa Farm Dairy Eggnog!” (Source: Arethusa Farm Website)

Arethusa eggnog is rich and velvety smooth. It has a sweet taste that warms the soul (even when chilled). Arethusa Farm eggnog tastes like a comforting Christmas hug. Before I found Arethusa, if you wanted me to drink eggnog, it had to be warm and full of liquor. Now, I like this eggnog best chilled, with nothing else added… yup, no brandy for this girl in her ‘nog! Why ruin a good thing? Also, as highlighted in the picture, the eggnog comes in a commemorative glass. While you can return it for a refund, it is so festive that I plan on putting some red roses in it to decorate my holiday table.

And, Arethusa Farms even has their own farm to table restaurant. Called Arethusa Al Tavolo, opened in June 2013 (http://arethusaaltavolo.com/), they serve lunch/brunch and dinner with food inspired by dairy products found on the farm. My husband and I plan on going there for a post Christmas/ early New Years “date day” celebration to visit the farm and eat at the restaurant, so I hope that this eggnog inspired dish is still on the menu: “Arethusa Eggnog Brioche French Toast with Applewood Bacon or Griddled Ham and Banana- Walnut- Rum Sauce” (Source: Arethusa Al Tavolo website) and the eggnog ice cream is still available in the shop.

So, as I finish my glass of ‘nog, I have to highly recommend this warm, rich, Christmas-time eggnog from Arethusa Farm and Dairy. As an extra special treat to my readers, if you are not fortunate enough to get your hands on this delicious eggnog, below is a recipe for you. This recipe is for a special occasion! I made this for the holidays and it is delicious, of course I used Arethusa eggnog, but any ‘nog should do — just make sure you get a good one!

Eggnog Cheesecake Swirl Bars (Adapted from myrecipes.com)

“Eggnog recipes spread creamy holiday cheer, as revealed in these cheesecake brownie bars. A buttery crust of vanilla wafers and toasted pecans balances the rich chocolate filling that’s flavored with a splash of rum flavoring.”

Ingredients
55 vanilla wafers, crushed (I used Whole Foods 365 Brand)
6 tablespoons sweet cream, salted butter, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used Whole Foods Brand)
1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
2 large eggs (I used cage free eggs — and yes, I really do think it makes a difference)
1/4 cup Arethusa Farm eggnog
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels, melted (I used Whole Foods 365 Brand)
1/2 cup double chocolate morsels, melted (I used Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate baking chips https://www.guittard.com/our-chocolate/detail/extra-dark-chocolate-chips)

Preparation

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until blended. Press crumb mixture into bottom of a lightly greased square pan. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and rum extract at medium speed with an electric mixer just until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended. Pour 1 1/2 cups cream cheese batter evenly over baked crust. (crust does not have to be fully cooled)

Stir eggnog into remaining batter. Divide batter in half; stir melted white chocolate into 1 portion. Spoon evenly over cream cheese batter. Stir melted semisweet chocolate into remaining batter. Drop spoonfuls of chocolate batter evenly over white chocolate layer; gently swirl batters with a knife.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 33 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. (I chilled it overnight) Cut into bars.

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