Rum-Spiked Thandai-Flavored Horchata

This easy-breezy springtime cocktail is a fusion of Indian and Mexican beverages.

The base for the cocktail is influenced by horchata, a sweet Mexican drink made with rice milk and infused with cinnamon. The flavour is based on thandai — a sweetened milk-based Indian drink with nuts and aromatics like rose petals, fennel and saffron — which is typically consumed when temperatures begin to soar during spring.

The lightness of the rice milk (infused with green cardamom for this recipe) makes for a perfect vehicle for the nutty and floral flavours from the thandai. The rum just adds to the excitement!

Rum-Spiked Thandai-Flavored Horchata

Rum-Spiked Thandai-Flavored Horchata

Rice milk infused with a mixture of nuts, aromatics and rose petals, spiked with rum
3.59 from 12 votes
Course cocktail
Cuisine Indian, Mexican


  • cocktail shaker, cheesecloth or muslin



  • 3/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4-5 green cardamom whole

Thandai Powder

  • 10 whole almonds
  • 3 tbsp pistachios
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • pinch saffron


  • 2 tbsp bacardi rum (per serving)
  • 1 tbsp rose water (per serving)
  • 5 rose petals (per serving for garnish)


Preparing the Horchata

  • Soak the rice in boiling water and add the green cardamom pods. Cover the bowl and soak it overnight or for about 8-10 hours. This will allow the rice grains to soften and for the cardamom flavor to infuse into the rice.
  • Pick out the cardamom pods, squeeze out the seeds into the soaked rice and discard the rough covering. Add the soaked rice along with the water and cardamom seeds into a blender. Add a few more tablespoons of water if necessary and grind to a fine paste
  • Then pass this mixture through a cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquids. This step will ensure that the rice milk is smooth and doesn't have a chalky texture. Discard the solids and set aside the rice milk

Preparing the Thandai powder

  • Blend all the thandai ingredients together in a blender until it forms a fine powder. Then set it aside

Putting it together (per serving)

  • In a cocktail shaker add 1/3 rd cup of the prepared rice milk, one tbsp of rose water, 5 cubes of ice, about 2 tbsp of the thandai powder and 2 tbsp of rum, put the lid on tightly and shake until all the ingredients are combined well
  • line the rim of the glass with the thandai powder. The powder will hold on to the rim if the edge of the glass is slightly wet
  • Pour the cocktail into the prepared glass (without the ice cubes) and sprinkle some dried rose petals before serving.
Keyword cocktail, horchata, rum, thandai

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