What Is RumChata?

What's the Difference Between RumChata and Baileys?

Cream liqueur martini

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RumChata is a cream liqueur flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. It has made a big splash on the bar scene and quickly risen to the top of its category. RumChata can easily compete in popularity, taste, and versatility with long-established brands like Baileys Irish Cream.

What's so great about RumChata and why is everyone talking about it? Quite simply, it's one of the best cream liqueurs available for today's bar. If you have yet to discover its delicious taste for yourself, now is a perfect time to mix up a sweet, creamy cocktail.

RumChata vs. Baileys Irish Cream

When it comes to cream liqueurs, the top brands in the modern bar are RumChata and Baileys Irish Cream. The two can be used as substitutes for one another, though there is a flavor difference. Where RumChata has a cinnamon-vanilla flavor, Baileys Original is chocolate and the Irish whiskey definitely gives it a darker background. This difference will apply to most brands of Irish cream as well. Baileys offers other flavors, including one with vanilla and cinnamon, which has a taste similar to RumChata.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: Dairy cream, rum, cinnamon, vanilla
  • Proof: 27.5
  • ABV: 13.75%
  • Calories in a shot: 91
  • Origin: Pewaukee, Wisconsin
  • Taste: Sweet, creamy, spiced
  • Serve: Chilled, on the rocks, cocktails, shots

What Is RumChata Made From?

RumChata is a Wisconsin-produced cream liqueur that was released in 2009. It 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). RumChata is bottled at 13.75 percent alcohol by volume (27.5 proof).

The inspiration for RumChata is 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 came to Mexico, rice was used in place of the nut. Traditionally, horchata does not contain dairy products, though RumChata does.

RumChata contains homogenized cream and does not need to be refrigerated. An open bottle can be stored at room temperature for about 6 months. Make sure that a bottle—open or not—is not exposed to extreme heat. Don't forget to take RumChata out of your car on a hot summer day.

What Does RumChata Taste Like?

RumChata is smooth and creamy with a perfect amount of cinnamon. The milkiness softens the rum, though there is a noticeable alcohol taste.

How to Drink RumChata

Since its introduction, RumChata has found many dedicated fans throughout the United States. Its rich, smooth taste and spice blend make it an excellent addition to a variety of drinks. RumChata is even delicious on its own when served on the rocks.

Use RumChata as a substitute for other cream liqueurs, including almost any drink recipe that calls for Irish cream. Try it in dairy cocktails as well. For example, it works particularly well when replacing the cream or milk in simple drinks like the white Russian and mudslide. It can even be used as a creamer: Add half a shot to your afternoon coffee or evening tea for a lightly spiked pick-me-up.

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. It's surprisingly versatile, pairing well with everything from chocolate-mint to sweet lemon.

Beware of the Curdle

RumChata uses real cream and this 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. This 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, letting it cool, then adding RumChata. This method doesn't work all the time.