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I am grateful to live in an era of alternatives.

And that’s not just because I’m choosy.

In my early twenties, I developed a pretty extreme case of lactose intolerance, which rendered me unable to take even a single lick of real ice cream or a sip of a milkshake—even with supplements or medicine.

Having to avoid dairy is hardly rare in a culture where people have allergies to everything from gluten to dogs. But, being pretty food-obsessed, it has bummed me out throughout the years to miss out on special treats, especially during times like the holidays when we’re all surrounded by delicious foods that are full of butter and heavy cream. I’ve been known to stare longingly at my husband’s dessert plate and force him to describe the flavors to me—poor guy.

Not too long ago, everything changed: Suddenly, vegan bakeries started popping up all over, along with almond milk-based smoothies and cashew cheeses, for example. Not only that, but chefs started creating amazing alternatives to classic dishes that are not only dairy-free, but are also healthy. Foods that taste like guilty pleasures are actually nutrient-rich. Now, I’m in heaven.

There are still some outlying treats I miss though: For two decades now, on Christmas Eve, I have been attending the same party at a high school friend’s parent’s house. It’s this unfathomably amazing Italian feast, capped off by her father’s famous boozy eggnog, which I, of course, can’t even taste. Since college, I have gazed at it with a kind of unrequited obsession.

Until now.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Boyer, the exuberant founder of LA-based farm-to-table meal delivery service and cold-pressed juice company, Paleta. I was already impressed by her...and then I tasted her seasonal Holiday Nog Magic Milkshake.

Two words: Life. Changing. Well, at least holiday changing.

The genius chef was kind enough to take pity on me (and us all!) and share a—slightly adjusted to be a true cocktail elixir—recipe for the stuff. So, without further ado, here’s how to make an exclusive version of Paleta’s Holiday Nog:


4 cups organic almond milk

One whole vanilla bean pod, with beans scraped with the edge of the knife and removed.

1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is preferred)

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

Pinch turmeric, ground

Pinch cloves, ground


1. Blend all of the above ingredients together with a half cup of ice and add your favorite spiced rum or bourbon.

2. We recommend four parts holiday nog to one part alcohol.

3. Garnish with freshly shaved nutmeg or cinnamon.

For more information about Paleta’s delicious milkshakes, visit their website:

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