RumChata has proven to be a more diverse liqueur than I initially guessed it would be when I first tried it. Sure, it does great with the flavors of coffee, cinnamon, chocolate and rum, but every time I’ve tried to push it into unfamiliar territory, it has held up extremely well.
I approached this cocktail from a Italian perspective, using Italian brandy and an amaro together with RumChata, and as fall approaches, I created another great seasonal RumChata drink: the Italiana RumChata. This can be served up in a cocktail coupe or on the rocks (pictured). Here’s how to make it:
Italiana RumChata (by Greg Mays)
In a shaker, add:
1 oz RumChata
1 oz amaro (I used Amaro Montenegro)
1 1/2 oz brandy (I used Vecchia Romagna)
2 dashes bitters
shake with ice and strain into a old fashioned glass filled with ice
When you’re searching for inspiration for a new cocktail recipe, sometimes the ingredients are the first thing you put together, and sometimes the name of the drink presents itself and you build from there. I’ve been working to take RumChata from its place as a typically-wintertime liqueur to an ingredient I use year-round, and the name of the drink was there waiting for me: Red Summer.
Something bold and sexy, I figure, and I decided to go really crazy and use a “summer” ingredient I had never even considered with RumChata: gin. In this case, I added Caorunn Gin, a Scottish gin with a faint trace of apple flavor (part of the distillate, in fact).
I’ll be honest: I thought to myself, what’s the most summery and least likely ingredient for a RumChata cocktail, and gin was my answer. When I took the first sip of this drink, though, I realized I had come up with something very special. The cinnamon of RumChata plays against the sweet grenadine and the apples-and-spices botanicals in Caorunn. This is a great drink that you have to try!
Here’s the video clip from Christmas special of The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque. I give the hosts gift baskets and my New Year’s cocktail is given Santa Claus’ stamp of approval! You can find the recipes that I made on the show (Silent Night and Orange You Glad it’s New Years?) here.
Merry Christmas! If you caught my segment on the Christmas special episode of The Morning Brew, welcome to Simple Cocktails! Here are the recipes I shared – the second one was a favorite of The Big Man himself.
Silent Night (by Greg Mays)
2 oz RumChata
1 oz spiced rum
shake with ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with a pinch of nutmeg
Orange You Glad It’s New Years? (by Greg Mays)
1 oz vodka
1 oz orange liqueur
1 oz white chocolate liqueur
stir with ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass
Out here in the southwest United States, we have a tasty beverage called Horchata (OR-cha-tah). It’s a sweet, creamy drink that’s a combination of rice, almonds, cinnamon, and other flavors. You might see it served out of a big glass jar by ladle or out of a waterfall juice machine.
RumChata takes this Mexican restaurant staple and bottles it with rum for the grownups. It’s a cream liqueur, similar to Baileys, and it is low in alcohol (13%). It’s got a great flavor and will only put you out $20 a bottle. Add a shot of RumChata to a cup of coffee, or in this rum take on a White Russian:
Chata Café Cream (by Greg Mays)
1 oz RumChata
1 oz Kahlua
1 oz rum
1 oz milk
combine and stir in a old fashioned glass filled with ice