3 of a Kind: Great Horchata Cocktails

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3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

Tequila, mezcal, micheladas, even Mexican Coke: Mexican beverages are having a moment. Surfing the wave of south-of-the-border sips is rice-milk-based horchata. All across the U.S., creative bartenders are mixing the traditional drink into boozy, cinnamon-scented concoctions.

Bajo Sexto Taco, Nashville

Jonathan Waxman’s Country Hall of Fame taco shop serves some of the best Mexican fare in Music City, paired with sensational adults-only beverage concoctions. Tasting like the sophisticated offspring of a pina colada and an old fashioned is the frozen bourbon horchata. It’s a mix of housemade horchata, a bottled horchata-inspired rum liqueur and bourbon, blended with ice or poured on the rocks. An extra sprinkling of cinnamon tops it off.

El Arco Iris, Los Angeles

Inspired by the classic White Russian with vodka, restaurateur Jesse Gomez decided to combine its creamy virtues with the rice-based refresher for what he calls a Mexican Russian. At El Arco Iris, Gomez’s team subs out plain cream for spice-filled horchata concentrate and an additional sprinkle of aromatic ground cinnamon. Like the original, this cocktail gets its boozy spike from vodka and an additional sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Horchata, New York City

At this lively Greenwich Village Mexican joint, an entire section of the beverage menu is dedicated to its namesake drink. Boozy mixtures span the breadth of the scented-rice-milk spectrum, with fun drinks like the Walking Dead, a mix of Day of the Dead Porter, Kahlua and housemade horchata.

The drink was such a hit at the restaurant’s Day of the Dead party that when it came time for a menu change, managers decided to replace another old favorite with it. Blues Clues, a tropical blend of rum, orange, pineapple, curacao liqueur and lime, went to pasture in favor of the hauntingly named drink.