If you have had horchata before you are probably pretty excited right now!
If you have never had horchata, then, my friends, you are in for quite the treat! BTW, if you have had Rumchata before, horchata is pretty similar, only minus the rum.
We are continuing on with our Cinco de Mayo recipes, and I have another beverage for you to enjoy.
I remember the first time I tried horchata at a Mexican restaurant. I was in college, my parents were visiting, and I took them to my favorite Mexican place. My friends and I loved it so much because the portions were large – leftovers are a college student’s best friend – and the margaritas were good (actually they’re not as good as my Skinny Orange Lime Margarita I made last week, but a college student will drink anything, right?). I was curious about this drink called horchata, a creamy cinnamon rice drink. One sip and I was hooked.
Now, I can’t stand how sweet they make the stuff at the restaurant. The only way to satisfy my craving is to make it myself, which is insanely easy to do and so, so yummy!
I know you will love my Naturally Sweetened Horchata. It’s rich and creamy, bursting with cinnamon, with hints of vanilla, almond, and lime. It’s sweet enough to bring out all of the flavors, without being too sweet. This horchata is refreshing. It’s perfect for any special occasion and can even substitute for dessert. To turn this drink into an adult beverage simply add a shot (or two) of rum. No judgement here.
You are thinking: I want to try making myself some Naturally Sweetened Horchata, but it sounds complicated and weird. A rice drink?!
Don’t worry, as I said before Naturally Sweetened Horchata is super easy to make. Toast up some almonds, white rice, cinnamon sticks in the oven to brighten up the flavors. Soak everything in a hot water bath for 2 hours, or overnight – blendy blend everything until it’s smooth – strain out the pulp – add the agave nectar, vanilla, lime zest, a little salt, and almond milk. And let it chill in the fridge until it’s nice and cold and refreshing and amazing! That’s it. Fun to make, easy, and one-of-a-kind.
Oh yes, you are probably wondering how this Naturally Sweetened Horchata is, well, naturally sweetened, right? Agave nectar. It’s so perfect, it works wonders in cold drinks. Plus it tastes sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. This drink is vegan/dairy free: we use almond milk instead of cow’s milk ( a simple swap, that is also tastier IMO), and it’s naturally gluten free!
Whether you drink this Naturally Sweetened Horchata spiked with a little rum or as is, I hope you enjoy it is much as I do. Cheers!
- 1 cup uncooked white rice (preferably long grain)
- ½ cup slivered almonds (can also use whole almonds)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cups filtered water, divided
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- pinch fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 to 4 tablespoons agave nectar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To a rimmed baking sheet add the white rice, almonds, and cinnamon sticks. Toast for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Make sure not to burn the almonds.
- Add the toasted rice, cinnamon sticks, and almonds to a heat-proof bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water. Allow to sit for 2 hours. The rice should be soft, and easy to break, but not cooked. NOTE: If you have more time you can soak the rice/almonds/cinnamon sticks overnight at room temperature.
- Transfer the almonds, rice, cinnamon sticks, and water to a blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until everything is blended together well and no large chunks remain.
- Strain the mixture through a nut bag, cheese cloth, large clean kitchen towel, or even a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher or bowl to catch the liquid. Any of these methods will work, but I found the kitchen towel to result in the creamiest horchata, although it was the most work to squeeze the liquid through. You want to squeeze as much of the liquid through as possible. Discard the pulp.
- Transfer the horchata to a pitcher or a bottle. Mix in the remaining cup of room temperature water, the pure vanilla extract, sea salt, lime zest, unsweetened almond milk, and agave nectar until well combined.
- Chill the drink in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or until it's well chilled (overnight is best).
- The horchata will separate; mix together well before serving. Serve over ice and with a cinnamon stick as a swizzle, if desired.
- The horchata will keep in the fridge for at least 3 days, maybe longer.
Cook time/prep time does not reflect soaking time, or chilling time.