Thanksgiving Horchata Bourbon Cocktail

No holiday meal would be complete without horchata. Wait, horchata? Yep horchata. At least, that’s how I feel, now. This Thanksgiving, we had a Latin influenced feast and my cocktail for the evening was spiced bourbon with horchata. It was met with mmm, yum, more, and delicious! And with a couple of “Who needs egg nog. Horchata for Christmas too!”s

Horchata is a whole lot healthier than egg nog as well- made with rice and nut meal rather than cream and eggs- I will be making this all holiday season and throughout the year now that I know how easy it is. There are many styles of horchata. Some from Mexico, El Salvador, Spain, and Nicaragua. Some are made with or without almonds, sesame seeds or tiger nuts and with or without milk. I chose to make mine with hazelnuts because some people in our party had almond allergies, but you could use almonds. Also, leave the bourbon separate until you mix the cocktail so that kiddies can enjoy it too. Next time, I’m definitely making a double batch because this went quickly!

Oh, and I had plenty of syrup left over, so I made cinnamon cream sodas and cinnamon vanilla milk. Both were out of this world!

Cinnamon Vanilla & Chili Spiced Bourbon Holiday Drinks

  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup hazelnut meal
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 8 cups of water


  • 1 750 ml bourbon (I used Bulleit)
  • 2 dried red chilies *
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Add all of the spices to the bourbon and allow to infuse for at least one week or up to two


Cinnamon Vanilla & Chili Spiced Bourbon Holiday Drinks


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp vanilla


  • soak rice in water with cinnamon for at least 2 hours
  • working in batches, blend in a blender until rice and cinnamon are pulverized adding hazelnut meal at the end of each batch and pulsing well.
  • add lime zest, scraped vanilla bean and pod and allow mixture to soak overnight in the fridge.
  • strain through cheese cloth and pour into a pitcher (if you choose to add milk, here is where you would do it)
  • sweeten with cinnamon vanilla syrup and spice it up with spiced bourbon (or not)


  • Place sugar, water, cinnamon, & vanilla into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.  Bring the mixture to boil.  Reduce heat and cook just below the boiling point for 15 minutes.
  • Pour into a glass jar and cool in the fridge before using to sweeten the horchata.
  • (This also makes a fantastic cinnamon cream soda when added to plain soda water!)

* I used spicy red chilies (thai) with all seeds in tact and the bourbon turned our very spicy when I tasted it on it’s own, but not very spicy at all when mixed. You could do dried ancho or chipotle and  to get a more Latin flavor. If you seed them, you may be able to put more in the bottle. Chipotle would give a distinctly smoky flavor which could be interesting. If you try, let me know!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

MyMansBelly November 29, 2010 at 5:22 PM

I love that your description is spiced bourbon with horchata and not the other way around. You are definitely my kind of people! :)


sabrinamodel November 29, 2010 at 9:18 PM

So, I had to check out your blog too! Yum and we definitely have some like-mindedness going on! Love it, and can't wait to try some of those cocktails!


Marc @ NoRecipes November 29, 2010 at 5:56 PM

That sounds divine! Excellent call with the Bulleit! I see so many people use cheap crap when they do infusions as if adding things to it will magically make it better.


sabrinamodel December 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Hi Marc,
Thanks! I have such a funny story about that. When I was 25, I went to Burning Man. I bought beautiful plums from the farmers market to make plum infused vodka for our trip, but then I bought a gallon of "Vodka of the Gods" from Trader Joes at 9.99 a jug. I infused it for weeks after having painstakingly peeled the skins from the plums so it wouldn't be bitter. Ha! Guess what happened. No magic, I'll tell you that much.


Afar December 20, 2010 at 1:49 PM

I make something similar w/tequila.

1-2 vanilla bean
1 cut up pineapple
touch of brown sugar (no more than 1/4 c.)

Make it in the winter and at the first sign of heat mix with fresh squeezed lime and drink on the rocks.

Tonight I've made your bourbon – can't wait to try it!


sabrinamodel December 20, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Oooo yum! I am absolutely interested in making your tequila. Love the idea. I hope you enjoy the warm spicy bourbon!


rebecca November 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

this looks amazing happy thanksgiving and thanks for sharing


The Tomato Tart November 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Rebecca, happy thanksgiving to you, too. I hope your holiday is filled with delicious food, and even more delicious company. ♥


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