Let’s talk about horchata. Horchata is a beverage made from ground rice, almonds, or seeds and is typically associated with Latin American cuisine. In the US, the kind of horchata usually found in restaurants and grocery stores is rice-based. I first encountered horchata years ago when I was serving as a missionary in southern California. Since then, I have been a lover of horchata! I typically think of it as rice milk but that’s not all it is. It is a delicious combination of rice, water, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.
I realize that hochata can be an acquired taste. When I first gave some to my husband, he wasn’t a big fan and I was shocked! How could he not love it like I did?! But since then it has grown on him. And when I shared some of my homemade horchata with our neighbor, he came back for seconds, and then thirds! I was so flattered, and now he asks me for horchata all the time. For me, that’s a sure sign that this combination is a winner.
This recipe came after tweaking and playing with different ingredient combinations until I found the perfect blend of cinnamon, vanilla, and sweetness. I hope you get a chance to make it this summer. It’s a fun and flavorful addition to any party or get together.
Start by grinding up the water, rice, and a cinnamon stick in a blender. Let the blender mix and grind for at least one minute; you want that rice to get really ground up. Then let this mixture sit in your blender on the counter at room temperature for at least three hours. The longer this mixture sits, the better. I like mine to sit all night. The rice separates and it doesn’t look pretty yet, but don’t worry, awesomeness is about to happen.
After your rice water has sat for at least three hours, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or colander. Or even a cheesecloth will do. You want to get rid of all the rice and cinnamon stick chunks and just have the rice water.
Throw away all the rice and cinnamon stick chucks and add the milk, sugar, and vanilla to the rice water mixture. I recommend starting out with less sugar, because you can always add more later. I use 1% milk, but if you want more richness, certainly use 2% or whole milk. This recipe is very flexible, and always delicious and refreshing. Enjoy!
- 7 cups water
- 1½ cups white rice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- ice for serving
- Put all the water, rice, and a whole cinnamon stick in a blender and blend for at least one minute. Let this rice mixture sit out at room temperature for at least three hours. (I just put the blender on the counter for at least three hours or preferably overnight.)
- After the rice mixture has had a chance to sit for at least three hours, strain the mixture through a fine mesh colandar or cheesecloth. You want to get all the rice and cinnamon stick chunks out so you are left with just a rice water mixture.
- Add the milk, vanilla extract, and sugar to the rice water. Stir well. Sever over ice and enjoy!
This recipe was first inspired by Lola’s Horchata on allrecipes.com.