Have you ever had that wonderful, delicious beverage known as horchata? Usually found in the drinks menu of Mexican restaurants, it is the ultimate thirst-quencher, made from ground up rice, almonds, and cinnamon sticks. Sound odd? Stick with me. Next stop, the intersection of sweet and awesome. 🙂
When I first had this drink I actually wasn’t in a Mexican restaurant. I was in a coffee shop. And they had the option of either hot (not traditional in the least, I don’t think), and cold. I’ve had it both ways and love each for different reasons, but I’m bringing ye olde traditional version here today. But if you want to drop it like its hot, I’ll talk more about that in a little while. 🙂
Something you should know about me is that I ADORE Mexican food. Tamales? Come on now, people. Otherwise know as one of humankind’s most brilliant food inventions. And I also love little unsuspecting restaurants. Something you’d see on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I have this recurring dream of being in Mexico, standing next to a street vendor, getting my fill of tamales or tacos while drinking about a gallon of this. No, I don’t need a sit down restaurant. That’s my idea of paradise. Anyone with me? 🙂
Now, if you plan to make this, you are going to need a reliable food processor. If old Bessie smells like burning whenever you switch her on, maybe this isn’t the recipe to try. You’ll have to grind the rice and almonds down, and I’ve used many a unreliable kitchen appliance in the past. I always kind of feel like Mission Impossible and the clock’s ticking down to processor failure. Womp womp.
Want to make this warm? Me too! Let’s be in a club together! I’m thinking this would only involve heating the drink slowly at low heat until it’s warmed to your liking. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. When I had it warm at the coffee shop it tasted like distilled holidays in a glass. Who could say no to that?
And, you know, I’m not going to tell you what to do or anything, but apparently if you’re 21 or older this tastes particularly yummy with a little shot of somethin’ somethin’ in it, if you catch my drift.
Now who’s ready to fill a tall glass with ice, pour a healthy serving of horchata, and pretend like you’re on a beautiful sandy beach? Even, you know, if you’re actually just in humid Minnesota staring out the window at two squirrels fighting over the bird feeder. Is that just me? 🙂
- 2 cups uncooked long-rain white rice
- ½ cup blanched, skinless almonds
- 8 cups of water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- In a food processor, pulse the rice and almonds until they are a fine dust.
- Pour this mixture into a medium bowl and add 3 cups of water and the cinnamon sticks.
- Set aside and let steep for at least 8-10 hours.
- Add one cup of water to the horchata and stir.
- To remove the solids, strain the mixture into a large bowl using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
- Discard the solids.
- Add sugar to the horchata and stir.
- Pour the horchata in a pitcher and add the remaining 4 cups of water.
- Taste, and add more sugar or cinnamon if you need to.
- Add rum if you want.