The key with Horchata is time…allow that rice milk to really sit and infuse and you’ll have a perfectly creamy drink. Have you ever made Horchata?
Horchata’s roots in Mexico date back to Ancient Rome where it was a ‘medical elixir made from barley.’ With the Latin word ‘hordeata’ for barley giving us the base for horchata, though this beverage is no longer made from barley. Ancient doctors believed barley possessed cooling properties though the drink didn’t taste like much and was made rather differently than the recipe below.
Horchata weaved it’s way throughout Europe and even made it to West Africa, where it is still enjoyed today in Nigeria, though under a different name. This dish has such a long history and spans so many different parts of the globe that it this recipe is honestly, one version of a much larger way to serve up Horchata.
Why you'll love this
Other than blending your rice and cinnamon stick, most of the work to make Horchata is really just letting it sit and infuse into your water for several hours meaning you can get on to living your life.
Lightly spiced flavor
If you love rice pudding served with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, think of Horchata as a drinkable version of this.
Ingredients and substitutions for Horchata
- Rice: Long grain white rice such as basmati or Jasmine are recommended here. Jasmine was used as this is the type we prefer in our household, however, if you have a different type of long grain white rice on hand, that will also work.
- Cinnamon sticks: Fresh cinnamon sticks have the most flavor which helps to infuse with the rice milk here. If you cannot source cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon works as a substitute. To really infuse that flavor, toss in 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to your Horchata (1 teaspoon is equivalent to 1 cinnamon stick).
- Sugar: Superfine or caster sugar was used here thanks to it’s fine texture which will dissolve best without causing clumps. You could substitute with raw sugar or sifted confectioner’s or icing sugar
- Milk: Whole milk was used here, though you can substitute with any milk you have on hand, even non dairy milk as it adds a light creaminess but overall, not much milk is needed in this recipe.
See recipe card for quantities.
You can definitely change up the dish by changing the following:
Tiger nut - you could add in this ingredient instead of rice which aligns the dish with how it is made in Spain.
Rum - serve the horchata with a dash of rum for an adult take on this classic.
Coffee - add horchata to your coffee for a slightly spiced flavor and creaminess in your morning coffee.
Equipment needed to make this
Blender: A good blender or immersion blender is needed to get the rice and cinnamon sticks nice and fine.
Mixing bowl: You’ll need a large mixing bowl to stir the horchata together.
Fine strainer or muslin cloth: When it's time to strain the rice without including any pieces.
FAQ’s for the best Horchata
What does Horchata taste like?
The type of nut or base ingredient that you use in Horchata will obviously affect the core flavor, however, the overall flavor of this drink is one of a light creamy drink with a taste of cinnamon. If made with rice, the undertone of your Horchata will be reminisicent of rice pudding.
More international drinks you’ll love
How to make:
Place the rice, 2 cups of water and cinnamon sticks into a blender and blend until the rice and cinnamon is fine.
Add the remaining water to your blender and pulse to combine.
Pour into a large pitcher or container and cover, setting aside to soak for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
The next morning, pour the rice milk through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and discard the ground rice and cinnamon.
Place the sugar and ground cinnamon into a small bowl and stir together to remove any lumps in your spice.
Pour into your rice milk alongside the milk and vanilla extract, stirring to combine.
Place into the fridge to chill.
To serve, fill a glass with ice and pour your horchata over the top.
Serve up immediately.
Lightly spiced and most definitely creamy is this infused rice drink that most attribute with Mexico, but is enjoyed in many lands; for good reason!
195 grams / 1 cup long-grain white rice
950 milliliters / 4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
100 grams / ½ cup superfine/caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
350 milliliters / 1 ½ cups whole milk
- Place the rice, 2 cups of water and cinnamon sticks into a blender and blend until the rice and cinnamon is fine.
- Add the remaining water to your blender and pulse to combine.
- Pour into a large pitcher or container and cover, setting aside to soak for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
- The next morning, pour the rice milk through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and discard the ground rice and cinnamon.
- Place the sugar and ground cinnamon into a small bowl and stir together to remove any lumps in your spice.
- Pour into your rice milk alongside the milk and vanilla extract, stirring to combine.
- Place into the fridge to chill.
- To serve, fill a glass with ice and pour your horchata over the top.
- Serve up immediately.
Adapted from masterclass
- Calories: 165 calories per serve