It’s that time of year again. Trader Joe’s shelves are loaded with sugar and spice, and everything that makes their winter shopping experience so nice. And that includes some new dairy-free Trader Joe’s Holiday Almond Beverages. The Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage arrived first, but it was a fleeting fall treat. Nonetheless, its departure created an opening for the new Chocolate Peppermint to fill. The dairy-free Almond Nog also made its first appearance. Both beverages are quickly being snatched up by thirsty shoppers, but I was able to grab a couple cartons for us to sample.
Tasting Notes for Trader Joe’s Holiday Almond Beverages
All of the Trader Joe’s dairy-free holiday beverages are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and almond-based, but that is where the similarities end.
Trader Joe’s Almond Nog (Refrigerated)
It is indeed delightful, but calling this light beverage “nog” may be a little bit of a stretch. Trader Joe’s Almond Nog is tasty with a warm, comforting sweetness that does gently beckon to the winter months. But it’s missing the telltale hints of spice, and certainly isn’t as sweet as traditional eggnog. I’m not complaining on the lower sugars, as it is quite drinkable and versatile. But it doesn’t quite reach the eggnog level of indulgence. It also has a very lightly creamy mouth feel, that’s more akin to 2 percent milk than a rich eggnog.
Trader Joe’s Almond Nog is lightly fortified with 220 milligrams of calcium and a little bit of Vitamins D and B12. It has 16 grams of sugars per cup, and a mere 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein.
The Almond Nog doesn’t have a “may contain” allergen warning for milk. However, it is certified Kosher Dairy, so potential cross-contamination might still be a concern for some. See my notes below on the Kosher certification, which differs between the Trader Joe’s Holiday Almond Beverages.
Trader Joe’s Almond Nog Ingredients: Almond Base (water, almonds), Cane Sugar, Contains 2% or less of Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Xinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2, Natural Flavors, Pumpkin Concentrate (for color), Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Gellan Gum, Sunflower Lecithin.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage (Shelf-Stable)
This beverage has a wonderful minty cocoa scent, but the initial taste wasn’t as full-bodied as expected. When sipped cold, the flavor is a little disjointed with slightly intense cocoa notes and a mild aftertaste of peppermint. It wasn’t as sweet as expected, and had a darker, more grown-up taste. But then, I heated it up. Warmth added more depth and turned this into a delightful hot cocoa. I still wish they had used a heavier hand with the peppermint, and tossed in a few more nuts for a creamier finish. As is, I would compare the consistency to 1 percent milk. Nonetheless, it is a delicious dairy-free instant hot cocoa!
This Chocolate Peppermint Beverage has 17 grams of sugars, 3.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein per cup. Unlike the Almond Nog, it is certified Kosher Pareve, and shelf-stable until it is opened.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage Ingredients: Almond Base (water, almonds), Cane Sugar, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Natural Flavors, Gellan Gum, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Guar Gum, Natural Peppermint Flavor.
The Facts on Trader Joe’s Holiday Almond Beverages
Availability: Trader Joe’s Holiday Almond Beverages are sold exclusively at Trader Joe’s stores in the United States. You’ll find the Almond Nog in the refrigerated section with the milk beverages. But the Chocolate Peppermint and Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverages are shelf stable and sold next to the cereal.
Certifications: Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage is Certified Kosher Pareve. Trader Joe’s Almond Nog is Certified Kosher OU-D. This does not mean that it contains dairy, but does imply that it is made on shared equipment with other dairy-containing products. However, there is no “may contain” note. See our Kosher Guide for more details on the different certifications.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Trader Joe’s Holiday Almond Beverages are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit your local Trader Joe’s store or contact them directly via their website at www.traderjoes.com.