Until a few years ago I had never heard of Horchata. Somehow Kirk had it introduced to him at a Mexican joint and later he ordered it with dinner one night out with me. Huh, a sweet rice based drink, served over lots of ice? Cuts heat instantly, perfect for when you stupidly pick up a roasted jalapeño and bite down….
Many restaurants use a powdered mix, or bottled, for it. While it is OK, it isn’t as tasty as it could be. And it can be beyond easy to make a batch up.
The first time I made Horchata from scratch, I went all out. I soaked my rice, blended it and it was great. But..it was a lot of work. No instant gratification. So how about a halfway point, all the taste, little of the work, all the flavor…and honestly a better texture (no grittiness)? Take a little help, and pour up some icy glasses with your spicy dinner.
Make sure you use unsweetened whole grain rice milk. The sweetened ones are not what you want. Finding unsweetened rice milk isn’t easy, as I have found with adapting our cooking these past months to Alistaire’s allergies. Rice milk seems to be the uncool kid of the block these days (and honestly, many of the brands are thin, watery and insipid in flavor). I took a gamble and ordered a 12 count case of Good Karma Whole Grain Ricemilk from Amazon, I really like this one. I hadn’t seen Good Karma before for rice, their flax milk I had.
- 4 cups unsweetened Good Karma Whole Grain Ricemilk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Add milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla to a tall saucepan. Heat over medium, for about 5 minutes, until sugar is melted and steaming. Take off heat, pour into a glass container, chill until cold. Discard cinnamon sticks before serving.
Serve over tall glasses filled with ice, with wide straws. If desired, sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top. – And yes, ice is important! Horchata tends to be sweet, ice melds the flavor.
Serves 3 to 4.
The drink is sweet, so if you like a mildly sweet version, use 1/3 cup of sugar.