Welcome to Homegrown: The Eggnog Edition.

While some revelers still mix up their own batches of eggnog during the holidays, most of us mere mortals rely on the ready-made stuff we can pick up at the grocery store. Luckily, you can still buy – especially in Maine – farm-fresh eggnog without the usual additives. (Some brands might use seaweed-based carrageenan as a thickening agent, but good local eggnogs shouldn’t contain that dreaded high-fructose corn syrup.)

In a 2015 Homegrown, we raved about the Maple Greek Yogurt made from whole Jersey cow milk at The Milkhouse, a certified organic dairy creamery in Monmouth, in central Maine. Now they’re making eggnog as well, which is available through the end of December, according to Caitlin Frame, co-owner of the creamery. Frame credits a former employee with developing their version of the festive drink. The process is very labor-intensive, she said, since the creamery doesn’t have the pasteurizing equipment that big dairies use. It takes four people to produce the Milkhouse eggnog, compared with two or three to make their other products. Whole milk is heated in a big vat, then run through a stainless steel cream separator that’s “beautiful, but it’s from the 1950s,” Frame said. Incorporating the egg so it doesn’t curdle is also a time-consuming task, she added.

Milkhouse eggnog is available in glass bottles at most of the stores where the creamery sells its other products, including the Portland Food Co-op, Rosemont Markets, Bow Street Market in Freeport, Morning Glory Natural Foods in Brunswick, Lois’ Natural Foods in Portland and Scarborough, and The Farm Stand in South Portland. At the Portland Food Co-op, the eggnog is selling for $10.99 a quart, or $8.99 a quart for member-owners.

Other choices: Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook has a long tradition of making eggnog from a family recipe. It sells at Hannaford for $3.99 per quart. And from Portland-based Oakhurst Dairy, the drink comes in three varieties: traditional eggnog, light eggnog and buttered rum eggnog. Spend $2.59 on a quart, and Oakhurst will donate a nickel to the Salvation Army.

Should you prefer eggnog flavor in other forms (or need a scoop of something to pair with a slice of pie), consider Gelato Fiasco’s spiked eggnog gelato, laced with a splash of marsala and bourbon. Find it at the Brunswick store this year, $4.35 for a small dish.

If you want something a little stronger, head over to Chaval. The Portland restaurant is making a Spanish eggnog: vanilla bean creme anglaise with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and orange zest, fortified with dry Amontillado sherry, bourbon, dark rum and cognac. And be sure you have a designated driver.


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