I’ve been trying to think of the first time I had horchata, the Mexican rice drink. Having grown up in a town that was 80% Mexican, I suppose I just grew up with it. It’s nearly a staple in the Mexican diet and is a very popular summertime drink. It’s sweet and nicely spiced with cinnamon. It keeps you well-hydrated. It is also very easy to make at home if you are organized.
As for an authentic recipe, there are as many versions of this drink as there are Mexican mamas. Some recipes include almonds but almonds were not a big part of horchata where I grew up, perhaps due to the price of almonds. Soaking times vary and the amount of grinding of the rice and cinnamon varies. The technique I use here will maximize your flavor. Use the technique if you can. Adapt the recipe portions (and add almonds) to suit yourself.
The Half Pint Hacks describe the method in the video below. They actually make it themselves. As they say, “If we make it ourselves, our mama let’s us drink more of it.” Indeed.
This recipe makes a scant quart because some of the liquid gets soaked up by the rice. This is a typical amount my kids make but you might want to double (or quadruple) the recipe. It goes quickly.
Homemade Horchata Ingredients
- 2 cups of long-grain white rice (or brown rice)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cups of water
- 1/2 cup (or less) syrup (1/2 honey or sugar, 1/2 water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Homemade Horchata Steps
- Grind the rice and cinnamon in a coffee mill or high-powered blender.
- Combine the ground rice and cinnamon with water in a jar. Cover.
- Let the mixture sit overnight.
- Give the jar a shake a few times as you think about it.
- Strain the liquid out of the rice and cinnamon mixture.
- Add the sweetener and vanilla to the strained liquid.
- Chill it in the refrigerator. Serve.