Horchata is a Latin American beverage that’s made by soaking nuts and grains in water then seasoning the mixture with sugar and spices. The drink originated in Spain over 1,000 years ago, but many countries have their own regional variations. This is an adaptation of a Mexican version that’s made with rice, sugar, cinnamon and almonds, which provide rich flavor and texture, but leave them out if you like. Serve horchata over ice alongside a plate of spicy food — or try this dirty horchata recipe for a caffeine kick.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 2cups uncooked long-grain white rice
- 1cup whole raw, unsalted almonds (optional)
- 1cup granulated sugar
- 1tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
Step 1Put the rice, almonds (if using) and 8 cups water into a large pitcher or bowl. Cover container and let soak overnight (at least 8 hours) at room temperature.
Step 2Remove 4 cups liquid from the rice and almonds; reserve. Transfer the remaining liquid, rice and almonds to a blender, and blend, in batches if necessary, until solids are finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 3Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the ground rice and almond mixture into the strainer. Use a spoon to press the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. (You could also strain the liquid through a cheesecloth if you want your horchata to be extra smooth.) Discard the solids. Transfer the strained liquid to a large pitcher (or keep it in the bowl) and mix in the reserved 4 cups liquid from Step 2.
Step 4Add sugar and cinnamon, and stir well. Serve over ice and dust with ground cinnamon, if desired.