Cool and Refreshing: The Magic of Homemade Horchata!

Horchata Recipe

Horchata is a delicious, refreshing Mexican rice drink that is beautifully scented with cinnamon. It's easy to make and so utterly delicious that you will want to have a bottle of this in your fridge at all times, but especially when enjoying Mexican food!

Horchata is a general Spanish word for a type of drink made using a similar method and ingredients. It has been known as a "drink of the gods" as it is so delicious. While Horchata is a very popular Mexican drink, it actually originated in North Africa as far back as 2400 BC. A similar drink was also seen in Egypt and Ancient Rome. From there the Moors brought the drink that they called "kuunuaya" to Valencia in the 8th century conquest of Spain. They used tiger nuts that grew well along both the Nile River as well as Valencia. The Spanish conquistadores brought the recipe of horchata to Mexico but not the main ingredient of tierg nuts. Adapting and making do with what they had rice was used.

Horchata Recipe

While horchata recipes vary between areas some using seeds, various milks, nuts, rum and edible flowers the main basis for traditional horchata is just four ingredients: rice, water, cinnamon and sugar and is dairy free. And it's pleasant enough but once I tried a version using dairy from an authentic Mexican business I absolutely loved it. The dairy adds a beautiful creaminess to the drink. Feel free to try this up to the very last step of adding the condensed and evaporated milk to see which you prefer.

Horchata Recipe

I love having a glass of this horchata before bed. It's so comforting especially with the cinnamon and vanilla added to it. It's a nice, nightly ritual too. Every night for the last week I make myself a glass of this and sip this while watching tv in bed on my computer (we never watch the actual tv, is that weird?). My routine is watching Law and Order SVU for something soothing (yes, am I the only one that finds it relaxing?).

One night I sighed loudly to Mr NQN. "I guess I'm never going to be a police detective...". I love the character of Olivia Benson so much and I really want to be like her. He looked at me from the corner of his eye and shook his head, "Yeah not likely." "Probably for the best. I don't want to be chasing people, going into someone's house or possibly getting shot, I think I'd be better off as a computer based detective."

He suggested another detective job for me: Instagram detective! If I have one skill it's researching people's online behaviour and who is flirting with who online. You know how people hire private detectives to see if their spouse is cheating? I think I could help out with that. And all from the comfort of my bed with a glass of horchata without getting shot at or chasing anyone!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you watch your actual tv or do you watch it on your computer? Have you ever tried horchata and if so what did you think of it?

Horchata Recipe


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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Please begin the recipe the day prior to serving

Makes: 1 litre of horchata

  • 250g/8.8ozs rice (any white rice variety will do)
  • 50g/1.7ozs toasted almond flakes
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups/1 litre/2.1pints warm, filtered water
  • 200g/7ozs sweetened condensed milk (or to taste, add more if you like sweeter drinks)
  • 200ml/7flozs evaporated milk (or fresh milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Horchata Recipe

Step 1 - Rinse the rice under cold water and then place the rice, almond flakes and cinnamon sticks in a large jug and pour the warm water over it. Cover and allow to steep overnight.

Horchata Recipe

Step 2 - The next day blend the whole mixture (rice, almonds, cinnamon sticks and water) in a high speed blender until pulverised. Strain in a sieve or using a nut milk bag. Whisk in the condensed milk and evaporated or fresh milk and vanilla.

Horchata Recipe

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