Horchata’s, sometimes called the “drink of the gods” is served in many Mexican restaurants. Depending on your location, the drinks may be made from ground rice, almonds, peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds..
While you can buy premade horchata mixes both in ready-to-drink and powder forms in many grocery stores, we find that making our own gives us an appreciation for the traditional process and the flavor is much richer than store bought versions.
Our version comes from Mexico where they use ground cinnamon, milk and vanilla extract; however, you might want to add some nutmeg, ground cocoa or other spices to create your own unique version.
Making horchatas is time consuming, but completely worth the wait. It’s a good idea to start preparing it the day before you plan to drink it so it has plenty of time to process and chill.
We make horchatas a few times a year and use any leftovers to spike our coffee in the morning. It also makes an excellent milkshake on a hot day.
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 quarts warm water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum (dark or light) (optional)
Mix the rice and warm water in a bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes – 1 hour or until rice has softened.
Using a sieve or small-holed colander, drain the rice, reserving the water.
Return the rice to the bowl or a food processor. Add the cinnamon to the rice.
Using a food processor will make quick work of turning the rice into a paste & the paste will have less chunks. Since we like the experience as well as the taste, we use a potato masher to mash the rice to the right consistency. Either way is fine as long as the end result is a rice paste.
Return the rice to its water. Let stand a minimum of 2 hours – 6 hours is even better. Stir occasionally. As it processes, you’ll notice the water will turn a milky white. This is what you’re looking for.
Strain the rice through a fine sieve into a bowl or pitcher. Stir in the milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and rum. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve cold horchata over ice.