Noglike Indulgent Holiday Drink

Kemps Indulgent Holiday Drink

Kemps Indulgent Holiday Drink

I Paid: $2.49 for 1 quart (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

"Can I get you something to drink?" Imagine yourself asking this of a newly arrived guest. Snow is falling outside, and your guest is removing his knit cap and heavy coat.

"Sure, whaddya got?" he asks.

"Well," you say, looking at the inside of the fridge. "We got beer, of course. Milk. Oh, and hey, we've got Indulgent Holiday Drink."

"What kind of indulgent holiday drink?" asks the quizzical guest, exhaling warm air onto his still-frozen fingers as he adapts to the warmth of your living room.

"That's what it's called," you'd have to say, because that's the God's honest truth: Kemps is making and selling something called "Indulgent Holiday Drink," if the one-quart cardboard cartons are anything to go by. (Ignore the Kemps website, which calls these three flavors of nearly-nog the sleep-inducing "Holiday Beverage.")

Your hypothetical friend's follow-up might be something along the lines of "What the hell is Indulgent Holiday Drink?" To which you'd have to answer that it is a skim-milk-based eggnog-style drink, with 120 to 140 calories for a half-cup serving, rather than a typical nog's 180.

The Irish Cream flavor tastes much like Baileys, minus the alcohol: a mysterious, creamy mix of mellow, almondy, buttery sweetness. The skim milk base makes it less thick than either Baileys or eggnog, and the lack of egg makes it less rich; there are plusses and minuses to that situation, but ultimately it's actually less indulgent than some might hope for.

Chocolate Mint is similar in texture and richness but goes down like either an Andes mint (the less charitable read) or a Thin Mint (the more generous read).

Chocolate Truffle packs a big cocoa-rich flavor, making this the most gung-ho of the three Indulgent Holiday Drinks.

It should be noted that none of the three flavors responds real well to being mixed with rum, unlike eggnog—they're just too thin to stand up to booze's alcoholic bite.

Unlikely to be an eggnog-killer, Kemps's Indulgent Holiday Drink is, nonetheless, an interesting niche riff on the form. That said, your friend's probably best off going with the beer, depending on the brewer.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.