Have you ever tasted horchata — the sweet Mexican rice milk made with cinnamon? It’s one of my family’s favorite drinks. Because I live in Texas, horchata seems to be everywhere.
It’s sold in convenience stores right alongside lemonade, sold in the Mexican taquerias and panaderias that pop up in neighborhood strip malls, and served up at family barbecues. Yet despite it being so ever present, I recently discovered that not many of my Texan friends or family had ever tried horchata, let alone made it.
Unfortunately, almost all horchata recipes call for a lot of refined, white sugar. Some convenience store varieties are even made from mixes full of high fructose corn syrup. Naturally, I wanted better than that for my family, so I created this horchata recipe using 100% real food.
This horchata recipe yields one gallon.
- 3 C. uncooked white rice
- 3 qts. filtered water (where to buy water purifiers)
- 4 sticks of cinnamon (where to buy organic, non-irradiated cinnamon)
- 2 star anise pods (where to buy organic, non-irradiated star anise)
- 5 cloves (where to buy organic, non-irradiated cloves)
- 3 C. whole raw milk or coconut milk (where to buy coconut milk)
- 4 tsp. vanilla extract (make sure it’s real vanilla)
- 1 C. honey (where to find raw honey)
1. Pour about half the water and all the rice into a blender, being sure not to overfill your carafe. Blend for one minute.
2. Pour this blended rice water into a gallon-sized pitcher or glass jar. Add the remaining water, cinnamon sticks, anise, and cloves and let stand at room temperature overnight, covered. (You could feasibly let it sit for as little as three hours, but the flavor won’t be nearly as awesome!)
3. Strain the rice water into the serving vessel. I use this double fine mesh strainer with a wooden handle, which you can pick up for about $7.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients. If you’re going for authenticity, try it with the whole milk. If you need to be dairy-free, opt for the coconut milk. Be sure to stir until the honey is well dissolved.
5. Before serving, let it chill in the fridge. Horchata is traditionally served over ice in the summer; in the very least it’s always refrigerated. That said, my family takes heretical glee in enjoying horchata served warm in the winter.
Try it both ways, and let me know what you think!
(photo by justinwkern)