For our first drink lab of the New Year, we’ll crack open the bottle of RumChata that we got for Christmas. It’s not our first time drinking RumChata, but it’s been absent from our liquor cabinet for a while causing us to miss its creamy goodness. In the past we tasted it “Throwdown” style with four other cream liqueurs that I wrote about in my Boozy Lifestyle book. In this inaugural 2022 drink lab, we’ll try a couple of cocktail recipes using RumChata.
RumChata is an example of horchata. Originating in Spain, horchata is made with soaked, ground, and sweetened tiger nuts (which is not a nut but a small root vegetable). As its popularity spread through Latin America, white rice replaced tiger nuts as a base. The recipe for RumChata is Mexican inspired, using a milk base, Caribbean rum, sugar, and spices. RumChata touts the use of the finest dairy cream from Wisconsin, and it is, indeed, velvety in taste and texture. Bold flavors of cinnamon and vanilla are accentuated by sweet creaminess.
I’ve found two RumChata cocktail recipes to try and compare. First is the Coconut Café au Lait, using Kahlua and Malibu Coconut Rum. I hadn’t had a bottle of Malibu in a long while and bought one recently, so I’m eager to use my two new acquisitions at once.
Coconut Café au Lait
- ½ ounce Kahlua
- ½ ounce RumChata
- ½ ounce Malibu
Pour each half-ounce slowly over a spoon to create layers. Kahlua first, followed by RumChata, then Malibu.
Similar to the B-52, made with Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Cointreau, the Coconut Café au Lait is very attractive with its layers from dark to light. The enjoyment of layers is fleeting however, as you need to stir them up for consumption. For our second iteration, I mixed the ingredients and shook over ice. It wasn’t nearly as pretty but tasted better chilled. The combination of coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut flavors in a sweet, creamy texture was heavenly dessert in a glass.
Our second experimental cocktail is a RumChata White Russian made with vodka and Kahlua. The recipe that I found on A Couple Cooks website called for two ounces of vodka, ½ ounce of Kahula, and 1 ounce of RumChata. I found it to be too alcohol heavy and not nearly as flavorful as the Coconut Café au Lait, especially when tasted side by side. Stolichnaya is a typical 40% ABV, Kahlua is 20% ABV, and RumChata is 13.75% ABV so the amount of alcohol in one of these cocktails is not inconsequential. After a bit of testing, my fix is to change the ½ ounce of Kahlua to 1 ounce, making the cocktail more flavorful and putting less emphasis on the vodka. This version is still high in alcohol, but doesn’t taste it, so be careful it doesn’t sneak up on you!
RumChata White Russian
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Kahlua
- 1 ounce RumChata
Shake the vodka and Kahlua over ice and strain into a glass. Slowly top with RumChata.
RumChata is a terrific substitute for the heavy cream which is typically used in a White Russian. It not only gives the drink its creamy texture as does the cream, but also introduces notes of vanilla and cinnamon to the flavor profile.
The union of RumChata and Kahlua is so natural that they must be soulmates. The RumChata drink lab not only yielded two delicious new cocktail recipes to add to our repertoire but provided inspiration for more experiments to come!