Hot New Eggnog-Flavored Booze

RumChata: Horchata con Ron

RumChata: Horchata con Ron

I Paid: $21.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

If you check out the website of the somewhat mysterious and relatively new rice cream/rum liqueur known as RumChata, you'll be struck by the lengths to which the makers go to explain the idea of "real horchata": "The only way to get 'Real Horchata' is to make it from scratch from an original recipe. In the western hemisphere, horchata is made from rice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and either water or dairy. The only way to make 'Real Horchata' is to make it from these ingredients, not horchata flavor. If it says horchata flavor or it does not include rice, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla it's not 'Real Horchata'."

And so RumChata is formulated to include these simple basic ingredients, plus Caribbean rum, hitting a mild and mellow ABV of 13.75 percent, about the same as wine.

You'd expect this dedication to simple, whole ingredients to carry through into the flavor of the beverage, and it does. RumChata is smooth, rich, and clean-tasting, flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and rice, almost like a spiked rice pudding or eggnog. That said, it is not as eggy as Rompope, the boozy Mexican eggnog drink.

The stuff is quite palatable straight as an after-dinner cordial, but it also mixes well with espresso vodka, ice cream, even hot chocolate or coffee, for starters—think of it as a rum-based Baileys substitute with more cinnamon.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.