Horchata Recipe for the Holidays

Kick off the most wonderful time of the year with this rum-spiked libation

Holiday Cha-Cha horchata. Photo by Gyorgy Papp
Holiday Cha-Cha horchata. Photo by Gyorgy Papp

November signals the start of the festive season. Regardless of whether you deck the halls as soon as you take off your Halloween costume or prefer to celebrate from Thanksgiving onward, we could all use a smooth, creamy, refreshing beverage to mark the occasion.

Originating in North Africa as far back as 2400 B.C. and introduced to Southern Spain by the Moors, horchata was traditionally made from chufa, or tiger nuts. The Spanish brought horchata with them to the Americas, but since tiger nuts were not available, the recipe evolved to use rice instead.

Today, there are as many variations of horchata as there are regions across Latin America. Regardless of the different grains, nuts, and seeds used to prepare it, the beverage remains plant based. This recipe includes a few key ingredients sure to add a little extra cha-cha to your next horchata.

Holiday Cha-Cha


  • 1 oz. Pa’lante coffee rum
  • 1/2 oz. espresso liqueur, preferably ristretto
  • 4 oz. homemade horchata (recipe below)
  • Cinnamon for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add ice and blend until smooth. Strain into a glass and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Homemade Horchata Ingredients

  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 3-inch Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar, cover, and allow to rest overnight. Pour entire mixture into a blender and blend on high speed until rice is pulverized, about a minute. Strain through a nut-milk bag into a bowl and refrigerate. Stir before serving.

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