What Is RumChata?

What's the Difference Between RumChata and Baileys?

RumChata Cream Liqueur

The Spruce Eats / Colleen Graham

RumChata is a Caribbean rum-based cream liqueur flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. Inspired by the Spanish and Latin American drink, horchata, RumChata is made in Wisconsin and uses natural dairy cream. After its launch in 2009, RumChata quickly rose to the top of its category and found many dedicated fans. Regularly found in bars and home liquor cabinets, it can easily compete in popularity, taste, and versatility with long-established brands like Baileys Irish Cream. Whether enjoyed as a shot, on the rocks, as a coffee creamer, or mixed into deliciously sweet cocktails, RumChata is an excellent liqueur to keep in your bar.

RumChata vs. Baileys Irish Cream

When it comes to cream liqueurs, the top brands in today's bar are RumChata and Baileys Irish Cream. The two are reasonable substitutes for one another, and both use dairy cream, though there is a distinct flavor difference. Where RumChata has a cinnamon-vanilla flavor, Baileys Original includes chocolate and vanilla notes, and the Irish whiskey definitely gives it a darker background. This difference also applies to most brands of Irish cream. Baileys offers other flavored liqueurs, including one with cinnamon and vanilla, which has a taste similar to RumChata.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: Dairy cream, Caribbean rum, cinnamon, vanilla
  • Proof: 27.5
  • ABV: 13.75%
  • Calories in a 1 1/2-ounce shot: 136
  • Origin: Pewaukee, Wisconsin
  • Taste: Sweet, creamy, spiced
  • Serve: Chilled, on the rocks, cocktails, shots

What Is RumChata Made From?

RumChata is a Pewaukee, Wisconsin-produced cream liqueur that was released in 2009. It was created by distilled spirits industry veteran Tom Maas, who worked for popular American whiskey brands before launching his own company Agave Loco. His greatest success was RumChata Horchata con Ron (Spanish for "horchata with rum"), which became a household name in the United States within a few years. In 2021, the company was purchased by E&J Gallo Winery.

RumChata was inspired by horchata, a traditional drink from Mexico and Spain that dates back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. In Egypt and Spain, the chufa nut is ground with water, cinnamon, and sugar to make a drink that has the look of milk. When the recipe was introduced to Mexico, rice was used in place of the nut. Traditionally, horchata does not contain dairy products.

RumChata is made from a blend of five-time distilled Caribbean rum and Wisconsin dairy cream. It is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and other "secret flavors" (both natural and artificial). The cream liqueur is bottled at a mildly pleasant 13.75 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 27.5 proof).

RumChata contains homogenized cream and does not need to be refrigerated. Though many drinkers prefer to keep the bottle chilled, an open bottle can be stored at room temperature for about six months. Make sure that RumChata—open or not—is not exposed to extreme heat. Don't forget to take the bottle out of your car on a hot summer day.

What Does RumChata Taste Like?

RumChata is sweet, smooth, and creamy with the sultry underlying taste of cinnamon and a hint of vanilla. The thick milkiness softens the rum and diminishes the alcohol taste, though it is still apparent.

Types

Like many young distilled spirit brands, RumChata started with the original liqueur then played around with different flavors. Some of the expressions included coffee, a natural companion for the base liqueur, while others took on different flavors. As of 2022, the RumChata portfolio includes just a few bottles, though it's likely that this could change at any time.

  • RumChata: The original cream liqueur that includes the signature cinnamon-vanilla spice blend.
  • RumChata Limón: Packaged in a brilliant yellow bottle, this version adds a lemon touch to the cream liqueur.
  • RumChata Peppermint Bark: A seasonal release available annually around the holidays, peppermint and chocolate add to the liqueur's already tempting flavor.

How to Drink RumChata

RumChata is a thick liqueur, so while it's delicious straight, serving it on the rocks adds a nice amount of dilution that makes it more enjoyable. Alternatively, shake it with ice, strain it, and enjoy RumChata neat in a well-chilled glass. The liqueur also shines in cocktails and makes the easiest-drinking shots possible.

For a cream liqueur, RumChata is rather versatile. It mixes best with rum, vodka, and whiskey and pairs well with other common dessert flavors like chocolate, coffee, mint, and vanilla. It's also fun with banana, any berry, lemon, and pumpkin. Add a shot to your coffee instead of creamer, use it as a substitute for other cream liqueurs (including almost any Irish cream recipe), or try it in dairy cocktails. For example, it works particularly well when replacing the cream or milk in simple drinks like the white Russian and mudslide.

what is rumchata
The Spruce Eats / Nusha Ashjaee

Cocktail Recipes

RumChata is a fabulous option for quickly creating delicious dessert cocktails, and most recipes are very simple. The idea is to allow the tasty cream to accent just a few flavors from the other ingredients.

Beware of the Curdle

RumChata uses real cream, which can cause curdling when combined with some drink mixers. This chemical reaction is the only downfall of the liqueur, though it is something that you can avoid.

Curdling occurs when RumChata is mixed with high acid and citric acid mixers, like fruit juices and many sodas. It does not affect the taste or the safety of the drink. It is, however, visually unappealing and an aspect to be aware of when mixing with RumChata.

One of the more popular ways to enjoy RumChata is to mix it with root beer to create a root beer float-like drink (without the "float"). In most cases, the liqueur curdles. Taking on the challenge, the people behind RumChata experimented with various root beers and found that A&W and Dad's were the best brands to use to avoid curdling.

Other sodas and many fruit juices (e.g., apple and citrus) may have a similar effect, so you need to experiment. If you're trying a new mix, pour a small amount of your mixer, then top it with an equal amount of RumChata. If there's a curdling issue, you'll see it almost immediately. The producers also claim that you can mitigate the curdling effect by pouring the mixer and letting it cool before adding RumChata. This method doesn't work all of the time.