While sampling various desserts at a recent local event, Maggi and I ran across an interesting new cream liqueur called RumChata. It’s a cream liqueur with a rum base… an Hispanic-inspired Bailey’s if you will. The name is a play on horchata, which is a milk analog made from oils expressed from Chufa nuts (in Spain) or rice (in Latin America). If this sort of thing sounds familiar to cocktail geeks, especially during Tiki Month, it’s because it is similar to almond milk, and its related sweet partner, orgeat. In fact, horchata is often called rice orgeat. Even the names, orgeat (oar-zha) and horchata (oar-Cha-ta), sound similar.
Popsynth has an interesting article on horchata including an interesting tale of how the name originated. Since it’s Tiki Month, a time of glorious inauthenticity, I shall refrain from calling the tale the bullshit it obviously is.
Anyway, a single sip of this tasty, low proof liqueur got the wheels spinning in my head. And in one of those rare moments where true inspiration strikes, I knew by the time I finished my sample what you could make with this stuff. Maggi and I had been kicking around a number of cocktails calling themselves a key lime pie, and finding every recipe lacking and unfixable. I somehow knew this stuff was my ticket.
Key lime pie is important to me, because it is important to my wife. (Pegu ProTip for cocktail geeks: When something cocktail-related appeals to your long-suffering wife, it goes to the front of the experimental line!) In fact, the only post she’s done on this sorry blog was a brief hit on the importance of doing key lime pie right. Three takeaways from that informed the rest of my decisions on this cocktail. First, key lime pie should not be green. Second, it is better frozen. Third, it is best dipped in chocolate and served on a stick.
So, a frozen drink it is, and blended smooth for a creamy texture. Swift experimentation led me to a 1 to 1 ratio of RumChata to key lime juice. It still wasn’t working quite perfectly, and I paced my bar. All my research into horchata’s origins combined with my Hawaiian shirt and all the Tiki mugs lying around for an inspiration:
Perfection attained. The resulting drink is a smooth, creamy, dead ringer for Key West’s signature culinary contribution. As I mentioned at the start of this post, this is a serious concoction worth keeping the ingredients on hand for.
- 1 1/2 oz. RumChata
- 1 1/2 oz. key lime juice
- 1/2 oz. Trader Tiki’s orgeat
- 6 oz. crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and hammer until smooth as silk. Use Nellie & Joe’s bottled juice, since squeezing tiny key limes is one of those things for which life is truly too short. Garnish with a squirt of CREAM chocolate alcohol-infused whipped cream for general awesomeness and because key lime pie is better dipped in chocolate.
The final touch is the name. Duval Street is the spine of the central entertainment district on Key West. If you are careful, you can possibly get a drink there. If you are not careful, it is impossible not to get a drink there. It is also where we first discovered the added glories of frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick.
So why do I call this a Tiki drink? Because I want to. But I have plenty of justification. It’s a rum drink. It uses Tiki icon ingredient, orgeat. It is inspired by Key West, America’s gateway to the Caribbean from whence most original Tiki drinks drew their real inspiration.
And while Key West is not exactly the epicenter of Tiki, it does share a major salient characteristic. Remember the aforementioned “Glorious Inauthenticity”?
Key West does that… really well.
For example, feast your eyes on these two natural beauties. On Duval Street, I doubt they drew much in the way of stares at all….