Horchata is a traditional drink that has many, many different forms across the globe. In essence, it’s a drink made from almonds, rice, or some other form of grain. Variations span across Latin America all the way to Spain.
Some recipes are adamant that only rice be used, and no almonds. Some use sesame seeds or tigernuts, some don’t. Some swear by adding milk, some say milk is a no-no. There really isn’t a “standard way” of making the drink, so it can be hard to choose the right recipe that will suit your tastebuds.
I’ve tried a few variations in the past. Rice, no almonds. Milk, no milk. With sugar, and without. Finally, I think I found my favourite version of them all.
To those of you who haven’t tried horchata, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to describe it. Think chai masala mixed with rice milk mixed with almond milk, but without any actual milk (dairy-free!). It’s a creamy yet dairy-free drink that’s SO satisfying when served chilled over ice.
Soak rice, almonds, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla extract, and water in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. This is important as it allows the rice and almonds to soften and really soak up the cinnamon/vanilla flavour.
The next day, blend in a blender, then strain the mixture though a fine-mesh sieve to remove any of the grainy “pulp” leftover from the rice and almonds. From there, you can either serve it cold, or – as I prefer – blend in a bit of sweetener. I use sweetened condensed milk.
I realize adding the sweetened condensed milk voids the dairy-free aspect, but it’s SO good. If you prefer, sweeten the drink with honey or coconut milk, but I highly recommend using sweetened condensed milk – it really deepens the flavour while sweetening and thickening the drink.
So while this drink does take a bit of prep, most of that prep takes place in the fridge while you sleep. Once it’s made, it stores well in the fridge – just be sure to give it a good shake before you serve as it will separate as it sits.
I really can’t explain how tasty this is. Like a smooth, cool, drink-version of rice pudding… yum!!
|Horchata (Blended Rice & Almond Drink)|| || |
- 1 cup uncooked, long-grain rice
- ¾ cup almonds, blanched and lightly toasted
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3½ cups water
- Up to ½ can sweetened condensed milk, to taste*
- Ice, to serve
- Ground cinnamon, to serve
- Rinse rice under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and add almonds, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and water. Cover and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, transfer the rice mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing out as much of the liquid as you can. Discard the "pulp" and transfer the liquid back to the blender. Add sweetened condensed milk, to taste, and blend until combined.
- Serve cold over ice cubes with a sprinkle of cinnamon.