I was first introduced to horchata back in 2009. We had recently moved to Phoenix and were shopping at one of the local Mexican grocery stores.
We had also never been to one of those either.
Moving to Phoenix was definitely a culture change for us being from Florida and used to seafood markets on every street corner. Instead there were meat markets and different Asian and Mexican grocery stores.
Those “other” grocery stores quickly became our favorite and we would shop there more than at the regular grocery store.
They had such a huge selection and diversity of food choices that we were able to find everything we needed and also a ton of things that we didn’t necessarily need but wanted to try or hadn’t been able to get before.
One of those was this Mexican rice milk drink that my husband had had before while growing up in Texas, but I had never tried. Mark another one for my husband introducing me to a new food. What are we up to now here… 3 so far?
Anyway, at the grocery store they also had a little place to sit down and order food, like a restaurant… but not, so he ordered a huge glass of horchata for us to drink while walking around the store.
Uh, cinnamon. Rice milk. This couldn’t possibly taste good.
What does rice taste like anyway? What’s all that stuff floating around in there?
Ok… I guess I’ll try it.
Uh yeah… I was hooked instantly. This stuff was awesome! And every time we went to the grocery store after that we always picked up a gallon to take home and ordered a huge glass when first walking to the store.
Unfortunately, we only spent a year in Arizona and ended up moving to Hilton Head Island after. Gone were are amazing little Asian and Mexican markets and we were back to the seafood on every street corner.
Not a bad thing. But I did miss them and whenever we went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner I would see if they had horchata on the menu.
Some did some didn’t.
After a while I kind of just gave up and almost forgot all about it. Then just a few weeks ago my husband (again) came home with some horchata from a little taco place down the street. YAY!
Then I got a bright idea to try and make my own so that I could have it all the time and not have to go out to get it. This recipe turned out tasting just the way I remember it being back in Arizona. Creamy, sweet but not too sweet, slight cinnamon flavor and overall refreshing.
- 1/2 cup white rice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup whole almonds blanched *
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
- 5 1/2 cups water
- Using a spice or coffee grinder, pulverize the rice and cinnamon until it reaches a fine powder.
- Add the rice and cinnamon mixture to a large jar or jug with the almonds. Stir in 3 cups of hot water and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and let stand overnight (10-12 hours) on the counter, not in the fridge.
- Transfer the mixture to your blender, add remaining 2 1/2 cups of water and sugar and blend until it is is smooth. This may take about 3-4 minutes.
- Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve layered with cheesecloth or use a nut milk bag. Gather edges of cheesecloth or milk bag and squeeze remaining pulp to force out as much liquid as you can. Discard leftover pulp.
- Transfer to airtight container or jug to store in the refrigerator. Slight separation is normal, just stir or shake before serving. Serve over ice garnished with extra cinnamon, if desired. Enjoy!