Eat Hard / Recipes

A Horchata for All Seasons

Horchata is a rice based drink from Spain.  Lightly dusted with cinnamon and vanilla, you can find it all over the southern United States, Mexico and Central America.  But you’re going to have to take wikipedia’s word for it, because outside of my kitchen, I’ve never experienced it.

I was a little worried about the amount that the recipe would make, and that I wouldn’t like it.  I’m not the biggest fan of new things and change, but I guess that’s what makes me a good Canadian History major.  I decided to make it anyway,  and if it ended up that I didn’t like it, I was just going to take it to my co-worker from Mexico and give it to him, but after trying it, I’m not sure he’s going to get any!

And the most awesome part?  It’s dairy free!  Boyfriend had some in his morning coffee and I made horchata chia pudding with granola for breakfast.  It would taste terrific over ice on your patio, or warmed up with a splash of rum for a vegan “no-egg-nog” around the December holiday season.  I am a horchata convert, especially since it’s so versatile.

A couple of tips before you get started: To keep from dirtying extra dishes, grind the rice in your blender, and then pour the water into the blender to let it sit overnight.  You’re going to have to put it back into the blender, so if you trust its seal, go for it!  I do suggest stabbing at the bottom a couple of times with a chopstick before you start blending to make sure that the rice hasn’t glued itself to the bottom of your blender.

I also found the recipe way too sweet for me.  The recipe calls for 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar (or agave if you haven’t run out like me) and I would be much happier with just 1/2 a cup, especially since I made chia pudding with it, and an overload of sugar in the morning isn’t really the best.  Start out with a low amount and work your way up until you’re happy with the taste.


adapted from David Lebovitz makes just over 1 litre

2/3 cup of rice
3 cups warm water
thumb sized piece of cinnamon
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups almond milk
splash of vanilla

cinnamon for dusting

  1. Grind the rice in your blender (or your spice/coffee grinder) until it looks like coarse polenta
  2. Pour the warm water over the rice and add the cinnamon stick.  Cover and let it sit at room temperature for four hours or overnight in the fridge.
  3. Take out the cinnamon stick and blend, blend, blend!
  4. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and rest over a bowl.  Pour the rice milk over the sieve, and then squeeze, squeeze, squeeze all the rice-y goodness out of it.
  5. Add the almond milk.
  6. Gradually add the sugar, to taste.  Throw in a splash of vanilla and stir, stir, stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Serve, serve, serve anyway you’d like.  Just make sure to add a dusting of cinnamon to make it look pretty!

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