Libations

Horchata Rum Experiment

Josh Brusin

September 16 2013 - 2:30 PM

I’ve been a big fan of horchata from the first time I came across it, a decade ago in Guadalajara, where I passed on it thinking it was dairy and sadly restricted myself to a taste from my wife’s drink. The creamy, yet refreshing, combination was certainly something new to me. In Wisconsin, skim milk is a sin. So the concept of watery and milky didn’t jump out at me. But man is it good.

Flash forward to RumChata. I was enjoying a craft beer at Norse and saw the white RumChata bottle and had a conversation with Norse’s Ben Buhr about how well it sells. I tried it and was very surprised at how tasty it was. Sweet, creamy and boozy. What’s missing? From a single taste, not much.

Truth told, I’m not the type of guy to order a glass of milk. I’m mildly lactose intolerant and have reservations about milk stouts let alone dairy-based cocktails. Don’t get me wrong. I love the taste of all of it, but it becomes saturating for me at a point. I have the same opinion on White Russians. One is enough. But now there is more than one brand of infused horchata to choose from. Beam sent a sample bottle of Cruzan’s new Velvet Cinn and all I can think about is after dinner espresso drinks!

The Velvet Cinn bottle suggests a shot with an equal part of Pinnacle Atomic Hot Vodka and while that sounds interesting I do appreciate the sip-ability of this and other dairy-infused spirits. The dairy and cinnamon scent is almost as appealing as the flavor and, like Bailey’s, a couple cubes and a snifter is all you need for a tempting, dessert-sweet, nightcap.

While I wish these were truer to a regular horchata recipe, rice milk instead of real milk, they offer distinct and tasty dessert-style drinks. Perhaps without the dairy, horchata wouldn’t hold up too well to the rum component. As you might guess from the name, Velvet Cinn has a cinnamon bite to it and is slightly boozier than RumChata. It’s a richer flavor that might open up all sorts of dessert options… Ice cream sundae? A boozy one? Sure. I’ll try it and even if I won’t eat/drink a ton of it, I’ll likely enjoy a bite or a sip or two.

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