Oh, the holidays! Such a joyous time of the year celebrating with family and friends– and, of course, a few cocktails. This one here is gold, my friends. Apparently, I had been living underneath a rock, because up until recently I had never tried Rumchata. I’d heard of it, but to be honest, thought it sounded a bit lame. A little “too girly” for me, I guess. I’m more of a boozy, classic cocktail girl– a manhattan is my winter elixir of choice– so perhaps it’s not so surprising that I overlooked this little white bottle of cheer.
Well I’ve tried it now, and it turns out, it’s quite good. It’s sweet and tastes pretty much like rice pudding in a glass. And sometimes sweet is exactly what’s called for, right? For those of you who also live under rocks (I kid), Rumchata is a liqueur made from horchata and a bit of rum. Which begs the question, what’s horchata? It’s a Spanish drink made by soaking rice or a mixture of rice and almonds or tigernuts in water and cinnamon for a day or so. Then it’s blended and sweetened with sugar and milk. So, in my usual fashion, I decided that I wanted to make this stuff from scratch. Because a bottle of Rumchata costs a whole-lotta (you see what I did there?). Actually, it’s not that expensive, but really there isn’t that much alcohol in it, so I’m basically paying for rice water? No thanks. I’ll make it myself. And it will be even better.
Voilà! It’s ridiculously easy and tastes oh-so delicious. Making your own rumchata does require a bit of planning because soaking the rice in water overnight yields the best flavor. I like to mix the horchata with both a bit of rum and a bit more vodka. My theory is if you’re going to drink a cocktail, drink a damn cocktail. Making it yourself lets you decide exactly how sweet you want it to be. I don’t like mine cloyingly so. You can also decide how rich you’d like it. Whole milk does the trick for me, but perhaps you’d like to use a mixture of milk and cream? You decide. This is such a delicious cocktail that tastes like holiday cheer in a glass with creamy flavors of rice pudding and cinnamon– be careful, it goes down rather easily. It’s absolutely perfect to make for a party. Cheers!
The Recipe: Homemade Horchata Cocktail
To make the Horchata:
(makes about 5 cups)
2/3 cup white rice (I used long grain)
3 cups warm water
1 two-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 cup granulated sugar
splash of vanilla
2 cups whole milk (or a mixture of whole milk and cream) *See Note
ground cinnamon, for serving
To make the Cocktail:
1 1/2 ounces (1 full shot) vodka
3/4 ounce (1/2 shot) dark rum (Jamaican or Caribbean work well)
4 1/2 ounces (3 shots) horchata
cinnamon, for dusting
Note: almond milk can be substituted for a dairy-free version. Coconut milk works too, just be sure to adjust the amount of sugar you add.
To make the Horchata: begin by pulsing the rice in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency of coarse polenta. Your blender may or may not do a good job with this task. Mine was mediocre. So, don’t worry if yours doesn’t do this well. Place the rice in a quart jar and add the cinnamon stick and 3 cups of warm water. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
Place the mixture back into the blender, cinnamon stick included and blend once again. There may be some splattering, so throw a towel over the mixer or food processor. Don’t expect the cinnamon stick to get fully blended. Into a large pitcher, strain the mixture through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and give it a squeeze at the end to extract as much liquid as possible. Then add the milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a splash of vanilla to the pitcher. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Store in the refrigerator. Your kids will love this served over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For your cocktail, mix the vodka, rum, and horchata into a shaker for a second or two. Then pour into a low-ball glass filled with ice. Grate some fresh cinnamon on top and cheers away!
Horchata recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Have a great weekend.