Why You Should Be Using Horchata in Your Cocktails

If you’re into using inventive cocktail ingredients, then it’s time you get to know horchata. It’s milky, sweet, refreshing, and has the potential to make dangerously delicious drinks. Seriously. If the world is fine with milk vodka (which it is), then everyone needs to be head over heels about horchata.

Horchata is a beverage by many names. In the Catalan region of Spain, where the drink originated, it’s called orxata de xufa, and it’s made from barley or tiger nuts (which is actually a small root vegetable, not a nut). In parts of Central and South America, it’s made from almonds and sesame seeds. In Mexico and the United States, horchata is traditionally made from rice, cinnamon and vanilla.

Don’t get too caught up in the details, though. Focus on the taste and finding an horchata source.

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Horchata is like milk, if milk were silky and delicious. And unlike milk, it’s good with alcohol (White Russian being the milk exception). The soothing creamy flavor can temper the burn of high- proof spirits, and the naturally sweet nature negates the need for sugar or syrupy mixers.

Find a supplier, make your own, do what you’ve got to do. Here’s how to add alcohol to your horchata.

Liquor Options

Rum: Rum is the natural choice for horchata. There’s a reason why RumChata exists. One reason is because rum is a natural horchata companion, and the other is for Cinnamon Toast Crunch shots made with equal parts RumChata and Fireball.

Whiskey: Let a bourbon or high-rye whiskey cool off in a glass of horchata. It’ll cut the burn while keeping the whiskey flavor. Think eggnog, but sweeter and less thick.

Vodka: The comparison of horchata to milk returns. Once again: If milk and vodka work, horchata and vodka works times 100.


Horchata White Russian: 1.25 ounces of vodka, 1.25 ounces of horchata, and 1.25 ounces of coffee liqueur. Stir and serve in a rocks glass over ice. Top with cinnamon.

Horchata Whiskey Slam: 2 ounces of bourbon, 2 ounces of horchata, and .75 ounce of maple syrup. Shake ingredients and serve over a rocks glass over ice. Top with cinnamon.

Hard Horchata: 1.75 ounces of rum (unaged, aged, or spiced), and 3 ounces of horchata. Mix in a Collins glass with ice. Top with cinnamon. Yes, it’s a mixed drink not a cocktail, but it’s life- changing.