Do you love reading reviews and finding recipes for your holiday beverages? We do too. As Food Scientists we get excited about production techniques – we can tell you about shelf-life, aseptic processing, coagulation, protein suspension….
But for the holidays we thought we’d share a few things you might not know about your favorite holiday beverages by sharing reviews based on our food and beverage science expertise. Who doesn’t like Eggnog, Mulled Wine, and Hot Chocolate?
The Versatile Eggnog
Creamy, rich, and…polarizing eggnog. People have strong feelings for or against eggnog, but regardless of whether you love or hate it, it’s one of the most iconic holiday beverages of the holiday season.
Eggnog is simple at its roots, beaten eggs, sugar, milk, cream, and for those adults looking for a special holiday kick it pairs well with liquor from rum to brandy to bourbon.
Did you know that George Washington is rumored to have created his own eggnog recipe in which only the most courageous guests would partake? Raw egg as a beverage ingredient is a little controversial, because of the risk of salmonella if not properly prepared. Eggnog also has a very short shelf-life – so enjoy it best when it’s fresh.
Simple enough to make at home, there are endless variations of eggnog – non-dairy vegan eggnog to a Latin coquito, or you can add a flavor twist like gingerbread for a festive, fun treat! One thing we like about Eggnog’s versatility is that it gets so many of us experimenting in the kitchen!
Chocolate in a Cup
Chocolate in a cup, what could possibly be better than that? The origins of chocolate in fact are in beverage form. Thousands of years ago chocolate was a sacred, magical beverage that was consumed daily. The chocolate bar as we know it didn’t emerge until the mid-1800s when thanks to innovation and inventiveness (the early start to beverage innovation as we know it!) chocolate eventually resembled what we think of today.
Hot Chocolate is a nostalgic, comforting holiday beverage. What is cozier on a cold night than curling up with a mug of hot chocolate? The thought alone is comforting, and when you add in the frothy, rich flavors of hot chocolate you have the ultimate comforts of the holiday season in a cup! While you can certainly make your own hot chocolate, we prefer to have hot chocolate mix on hand so making a cup is always easy. You can satisfy your sweet cravings with a milk chocolate mix or a more mature palate can enjoy the richness of a dark chocolate mix.
The Festive Flavors of Mulled Wine
The history of mulled wine goes back to the ancient greeks. They weren’t the type of people to leave extra wine on the table but there was always a part of the harvest that didn’t make it. To prevent waste the Greeks would dump spices into the wine and heat it up. We love the sustainable roots of mulled wine and the resourceful nature of a mulled wine recipe.
Start with a bottle of red wine, add a hint of brandy and a mix of holiday spices, and you’ll not only fill your home with the scents of the holiday season but you’ll fill your belly with the warm, deliciousness that is mulled wine. The signature flavor of mulling spices develops through a slow heating process which releases essential oils. This causes hundreds of aromatic compounds to interact and creates unlimited flavor profiles. Mulled wine may not be as popular as other holiday beverages, but its flavors are unmatched.
Food Scientists Holiday Beverage Viewpoint
The holiday season welcomes fond memories, traditions, and tastes of home for all of us. As Food Scientists, beverages are always top of mind, and holiday beverages are the star of the season for us. Given our work, we look at beverages a bit differently. We think about the history, the development, and the science behind each of them. And we marvel at the simplicities, the complexities, and the innovations that go into creating them. It’s amazing to see the very concepts we are focused on in the beverage industry today reflected in our most iconic holiday beverages.
To learn more about food and beverage science and what a food scientist is, contact us today.