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You’ve Heard of Eggnog, but What About Oat Nog?

A dairy-free take on a holiday favorite.


Eggnog has been a Christmas staple for centuries — in fact, it’s believed that the drink has roots dating all the way back to medieval monks in 13th century Britain. The sweet and creamy beverage, which can be enjoyed with or without alcohol, typically has a base of eggs, milk, and heavy cream; so it’s not exactly easy to enjoy if you’re dairy-free. But there’s a solution for the lactose-challenged: oat nog!

In recent years, milk alternatives like oat milk, soy milk, and nut milk have become increasingly popular, as many people struggle with lactose intolerance. There’s also a growing interest in the health benefits of giving up dairy. These benefits can include weight loss, an improvement in gut health, and a decrease in inflammation. So, if you’re cutting back on dairy or following a vegan diet, but still crave eggnog this holiday season, consider trying oat nog — it (arguably) tastes just as good as the original. Read on to discover how to make it.

What is oat nog?

As its name suggests, oat nog is simply eggnog made with oat milk; and with this non-dairy option being so ubiquitous these days (you can even get it in the seasonal drinks at Starbucks), plenty of brands are taking advantage. The Kentucky-based spirits brand Misunderstood Whiskey Co. recently released a drink they’re calling “America’s first Hard Oat Nog.” I tried it — and honestly, it tasted quite similar to traditional eggnog. Even without any dairy, it maintained enough decadent, milkshakey flavor and consistency that I wanted to sip it curled up on the couch in front of a fireplace while watching Christmas movies.

Misunderstood Whiskey Co.’s hard oat nog bottle comes ready-to-drink, and contains 14 percent alcohol by volume in the form of ginger-spiced whiskey. I personally prefer the warming flavor of whiskey over the sweetness of rum or brandy, which are often used in eggnogs; plus, the nuttiness of the oat milk adds a nice flavor that reminded me of almond cookies. While eggnog is beloved for its richness, it can also be a little too rich for some — so the fact that this particular take on eggnog is free of artificial sweeteners and allergens makes it even more light and wholesome.

With so many people embracing a dairy-free lifestyle, it’s no surprise that Misunderstood Whiskey Co.’s hard oat nog is out of stock online as I write this — though it is available at select liquor stores around the country. You can also try one of the non-alcoholic oat nogs on the market — from brands like Chobani or Elmhurst — and spike them with a spirit of your choice.

Can I make oat nog at home?

Like classic eggnog, oat nog is very easy to make, and there are many ways to change it up to suit your taste, like adding different spices or booze. Here’s a basic recipe for oat nog, adapted from the oat milk brand Planet Oat

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 4 cups oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 4 cinnamon sticks


  1. Add first four ingredients to medium saucepan and bring to low simmer. Simmer 10 minutes to allow flavors to infuse, stirring frequently. 
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour cooled eggnog into pitcher, stir in bourbon, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours, or until ready to serve.
  3. When ready to serve, stir vigorously, then pour into four glasses. Sprinkle with nutmeg or grate nutmeg over top. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

What other oat milk drinks should I try?

Maybe you’re not interested in eggnog or oat nog. That’s okay — there are still plenty of oat milk drinks for you to choose from this season. Enjoy the last vestiges of fall with an Apple Crisp Oat Milk Macchiato or Oat Milk Pumpkin Spice Latte, make an oat milk-based Brown Sugar Black Tea Latte, or drop some marshmallows into an Oat Milk Hot Chocolate.

If a drink recipe requires regular milk, you can always swap it out for oat milk. So, whether you’re drinking pre-packaged oat nog, making your own, or having another oat milk drink entirely this year, we wish you a delicious and dairy-free holiday season!

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