Thinking Outside the Cocktail

As an industry I think it’s easy to get comfortable with the basic cocktail formulas we’re used to. There are an infinite number of delicious variations to a Whiskey Sour, an Old Fashioned, or even a Cosmo. But I think there’s also value in looking outside the traditional cocktail styles and finding inspiration outside the bar.

This week’s cocktail is inspired by a delicious Mango Lassi that Chris and I shared on a hot day. A Lassi is an Indian spiced drink made with yogurt. It’s thicker than milk but much thinner than the yogurt that you or I may have for breakfast. It can be made savory or sweet, but in the US it’s usually sweet – often Mango flavored.

So when the RumChata team encouraged us to think “outside the box for our second sponsored cocktail, Chris took it to heart!

Putting the Pieces Together

We did a bit of research and found that a Lassi is typically made with the following:

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Ice Cubes

Seeing as RumChata is a cream-based, spiced liqueur, it seemed as though it might take the place of three of our required ingredients: the milk, the sugar, and the spices. I was curious about the spice mix in the RumChata, but it’s a closely guarded secret. I taste cinnamon, clove, and maybe some nutmeg? Whatever the spices are, they tasted just right for our Lassi-cocktail rendition.

Couldn’t be Simpler

The recipe itself is about as easy as it gets. We added Dark Rum to kick up the alcohol a bit and add a supporting layer of spice. Then we brought in some fruit flavor via orange marmalade. (I love to use Marmalade if I want orange flavor but can’t use orange juice. It’s a great way to add the right flavor without changing the texture and mouth-feel of the cocktail.) To finish it off, we added a few dashes of orange bitters.

The directions? Simple! Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake, and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Then top with freshly grated cinnamon to add that beautiful aroma and once again add another layer of spice.

The Orange RumChata Lassi

I’ll be the first to admit – this is no traditional “Lassi”. But you can definitely taste the influence, and I think the yogurt adds a really interesting texture that you don’t often come across behind the bar. While this is a heavier drink, it isn’t heavier due to adding heavy cream – a dangerous choice in the world of alcoholic beverages. The yogurt adds thickness without nearly as much fat, and even adds its own tartness to help balance the sweetness in the RumChata.

I have to say – this one came out really well! I definitely want to give it another try with some other fruit options around our kitchen. (Mango RumChata Lassi? Strawberry? I think both could work!) If you’re a fan of Lassis, you should definitely give this cocktail a go!

Orange Rumchata Lassi

A spiced cocktail rendition of the traditional Indian yogurt drink.
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Ingredients

  • 1 oz RumChata
  • 0.5 oz Goslings Dark Rum
  • 0.25 oz Cane Syrup
  • 3 oz Plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 barspoon Orange Marmalade
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake well.
  • Fill a Collins or Highball glass with crushed ice.
  • Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.