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from my table: homemade horchata

May 6, 2012

Spring, in my mind, calls for refreshing drinks that just sigh of fresh rainstorms and sunny afternoons that hint of the arrival of warm weather. After a long, cold winter, resplendent with hot tea and other warming beverages, all I want is to sip something iced, blended, cool, and maybe a little fruity.

This weekend signaled both the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo, two of the best holidays for refreshing and cool “M” drinks: mint juleps and margaritas! Last year saw a Derby twist with blackberry mint julep cupcakes, so this year was the year of Mexican beverages instead. (Plus, let’s be real here: any excuse I have to eat Mexican food with friends WILL  be capitalized upon and tequila will probably be involved.)

Last night, we sipped pomegranate-habenero margaritas with our delicious dinner and for dessert, I wanted to do a two-fold treat: chile-spiked Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes and a cooling finish with horchata, an iced, blended rice drink spiked with cinnamon and vanilla. I had never had horchata before but had marked a recipe on Pinterest awhile back, intrigued by its frothy beauty and cinnamon stick garnish. And, if I’m being really, really honest, I wanted to try it also because I love any excuse to pour things in Mason jars and “horchata” is just really fun to say.

I was thrilled to discover not only is it extremely delicious, but it is easy as a breeze to make! With a little night-before prep, it’s only a matter of measuring a few things and turning on a blender. Garnished with a cinnamon stick for a little flair, it is a fun treat to serve and sip with friends. (Preferably around a bonfire, like I did. It tastes better outside is all I’m saying…)

Homemade Horchata
From A Wooden Nest

¾ cup rice (white or brown)
4 cups water
2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
½ cup sugar or mild honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups milk or coconut milk

Pour the rice in a blender and pulse until it resembles a coarse crumb. Add the 4 cups water and the cinnamon stick(s), and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.


Blend the mixture (cinnamon sticks included) for 2-3 minutes until completely pureed. Add the sugar and the vanilla extract, and blend again until completely combined. Check for sweetness.

Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve into a pitcher. Add the two cups milk, or coconut milk (depending on your preference) and stir. Pour in glasses over ice as-is or add a splash of brandy or rum. (I also tried mine mixed with coffee as a morning treat. Half horchata, half hot coffee, all delicious.)

Garnish with cinnamon sticks and enjoy.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    August 8, 2012 11:49 am

    I LOVED horchata when i was in spain! I NEED to try this!!

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