RumChata is a liqueur coming from the Agave Loco brand, and you can bet I squealed when I saw it on the shelf. Why? Because I love horchata, and an horchata made for imbibing sounded perfect to me. My expert background in foodie Spanish means I can translate their horchata con rum slogan easily into horchata with rum, and it’s a needed slogan because RumChata just doesn’t convey “horchata with rum” strongly enough on its own. Sarcasm aside, their proclamation of using real dairy cream was suspect, but not because of the real. You see, horchata is traditionally made with rice or nut milk, so lauding the use of dairy instead is a tad peculiar. A few countries do add dairy to the mix, but it’s not that common in my experience.
The texture is similar to an irish cream but smoother. The rum and cream combination gives it an interesting patchwork, layered look if you stare for a while.
No nose to speak of, but the taste is fantastic. It’s moderately thick, which means a cocktail would be the ideal use for it, but place a shot on the rocks, and you could convince yourself it’s a regular horchata spiked with rum. The spice levels are lovely, with mellow cinnamon being the most prominent among them. There is a disconnect between the cream and the bite of the rum that settles almost as a metallic tang on the tongue, but I don’t find it that off-putting.
This liqueur has great potential for me. So much so that a cocktail creation was necessary for exploring it more thoroughly. Or maybe I just wanted a cocktail. I present the Knackered Nougat!
Read more →
444-101 South Blount St.
$3 per empanada
Calavera is an empanada and tequila bar that—praise the lord—has a kitchen that stays open until 2 am. This is a wonderful, wonderful thing, as any night owl would tell you. Quality empanadas as a late-night snack? It’s divinely inspired, and Raleigh is lucky to have this joint.
Despite my worship of their hours, I actually tried Calavera for lunch. It has two stories, and the indoors is an inviting, warm red with Day of the Dead décor. However, it was a gorgeous day, so we dined at the outside tables.
They smartly offer lunch specials: 2 empanadas or 1 empanada and a half-salad with a drink for $6 and 3 empanadas with a drink for $8. They have an alternating list of around 8 savory empanadas, 2 sweet ones, and a few salads and sides.
That guacamole starter was great—I was about to write that it’s hard to screw up guacamole, but as my memory reminded me, it’s frighteningly not that hard. Calavera’s doesn’t overwhelm that pure avocado glory with too much garlic or too saucy of a texture. The chips were fine, but I’m pretty sure I saw a truck unloading chips from On the Border while we were there, so they don’t make their own. It doesn’t really matter, but chips fried in-house always get a freshness boost.
Read more →
Dinner Review, Brunch Review
This horchata, Kraken rum, and Licor 43 drink is a vast improvement over its predecessor, La Leche, which I tried over a year ago at Dos Perros. What’s the difference? Only the Licor 43 and a larger serving. It’s possible that the rum has changed since then, too, as Kraken is a very distinctive and bold spiced rum—I’ve reviewed it before, too.
With this ingredient list, the Drunken Horchata reached a wonderful mix of spice, graininess, and richness from the rum. The Licor 43 was strong enough of a presence to be distinctive, and it worked well with the Kraken in drawing out the other horchata spices and making them stronger than just the glass of Dos Perros horchata would be by itself—I like my horchata spicy. If you enjoy horchata, licorice, and rum, the Drunken Horchata is definitely worth ordering.