It took shopping a few sales, but I finally managed to gather all of the latest Dream holiday beverages for a refreshed tasting.
Their Rice Dream Nog has a new look, to the best of my knowledge, the Almond Pumpkin Spice is fairly new, and I’m lumping the Westsoy Chocolate Peppermint Stick in – though it doesn’t carry the “Dream” label, it is in the same packaging and product category from Hain Celestial.
Also, note the “Limited Edition” label on each of the Dream holiday beverages. They only make an appearance around the holidays, but since they are shelf-stable (the ones I bought had expiry dates 9 months out!) you can stock up to enjoy in spring baking or summer smoothies.
But are they worth hoarding? I invited my friend Caroline over to help in the taste-testing of the Dream holiday beverages. Though she follows a mostly dairy-free diet, she does occasionally imbibe in dairy drinks, so she could offer some perspective.
Rice Dream Rice Nog
Both Caroline and I found the Rice Nog to be refreshing and nicely spiced, but it didn’t really shout “it’s holiday season!” to us. It was a bit too thin and watery, much like skim milk in consistency.
However, I actually trialed Rice Nog a few years ago with another friend who enjoys creamy dairy eggnog yearly, though she tends to find it a little too sweet. It tasted just the same as I remembered, so I think her notes are also relevant. She said, “I like this one. It doesn’t really taste like eggnog, but it is really good and not as sweet.”
Overall, I would describe Rice Nog as more of a light spiced milk than a rich nog – you can even see the spices in it (look closely at the image above)! I agree that the sweetness is just right, and Tony found it to be perfect in his coffee. The only downfall is that the thin base makes the aftertaste somewhat nonexistent when sipped on its own – perhaps a touch of coconut cream would help?
WestSoy Chocolate Peppermint Peppermint Stick
Unlike the other two Dream holiday beverages, the Chocolate Peppermint Stick does contain soy (as the “Westsoy” title implies). And for those of us who like the unique taste of soymilk, both Caroline and I do, this drink is a winner. It does have that slight telltale “beany” aftertaste. To note, they do use organic, non-GMO verified soymilk in this product.
Though not quite as rich as other coconut-based chocolate drinks, this variety was a little sweeter and quite refreshing with a nice punch of peppermint. As the note on the package states, “Serve Warm of Chilled”, it is a great candidate for simple hot chocolate – just heat and enjoy. The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was the very high sugars – 25 grams. I like a daily dessert, but I prefer to eat it rather than drink it. Just a personal preference though.
Almond Dream Pumpkin Spice
The flavor of the Almond Dream Pumpkin Spice is good, gently pumpkin and lightly sweet, but the flavor falls a little flat. I’m not sure what it needs – a little more in the sugar department, a pinch of salt, some bolder spices? I admit that for a spiced beverage “with cinnamon” I wanted a little more flavor oomph.
As for the consistency, it’s still a touch lighter than comparable brands, but richer than the Rice Nog and Westsoy Chocolate Peppermint. All in all, it’s great in recipes and everyday smoothies since the sugars are a bit lower – 8 grams per 1/2 cup – and it does add nice body. I just add a little pumpkin spice to the mix to perfect!
Certifications: These Dream Holiday Beverages are Non-GMO Verified and labeled as gluten-free, though I’m not sure if they are certified.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, these Dream Holiday Beverages are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Select varieties are nut-free and/or soy-free. However, always read the label and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Also, processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.