My brother, Stephen, believed in me for a long time. You see, I used to make really yucky horchata because I didn’t know any better. I thought horchata began with a powdered mix. Yes, my horchata was very sad to say the least. But, Stephen would drink it anyway. “You know, Cole, I kind of like the stuff.” Then, I moved on to using mysterious liquids in a bottle. I thought this must be it, but I could never pinpoint that exact milky cinnamon flavor that I remember so well. All the while, Stephen was still there saying, “Not so bad.”
And then one day, I did it. I made my own horchata from scratch. I was inspired by this video here created by Yessica Pérez of La Receta de la Abuelita. When I saw how simple and easy it was to make the drink, my whole idea of horchata was revolutionized. I combined rice, real Mexican cinnamon, and lots of love. And…a delicious pitcher of light and creamy horchata was born! Stephen came home that weekend, and I gave him a sample. He smiled. This time I could tell that the horchata really hit the spot. “You got it, Cole. That’s it.”
The rest is history. Since then I’ve been enjoying perfectly smooth glasses of ice cold milky horchata. Now, you can, too!
*Horchata is made in many Spanish-speaking countries, and the recipe varies quite a lot. Some horchatas contain almonds or different types of seeds. In Mexico, horchata is usually made with rice, cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and some sort of sweetener. It is a good thing to grab when you are “enchilado” (AKA your mouth is on fire from eating too much chile pepper) because it is milk-based. Chiles contain a substance called capsaicin that provokes the burning sensation in your mouth. Milk, on the other hand, contains casein, a compound that binds with the fiery capsaicin oils and washes them away. So when your mouth is blazing from too much habanero love, make horchata your friend.
Click here for printable recipe.
Rice Milk Drink (Makes 6-8 cups)
½ cup extra long grain white rice
2 cups of cool water
1 stick of Mexican/Ceylon cinnamon (only 1 layer, about 5-6 inches in length) -OR- 1 ½ tsp. ground Mexican/Ceylon cinnamon
1 12-oz. can of evaporated milk
1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 TBSP vanilla extract
4-6 cups of cold water (depending on how sweet you like it)
*Ground cinnamon for garnish
→Place the uncooked rice and cinnamon stick in a small bowl. Pour 2 cups of cool water over the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2-4 hours or overnight.
→Pour the soaked ingredients into a blender. Add the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth.
→Once you have completely blended the ingredients, pour the horchata through a fine mesh colander into a pitcher in order to remove any large bits of rice or cinnamon. This is really important. Don’t skip this step!
→Add 4-6 cups of cold water depending on how sweet you like the horchata to taste. Start out with 4 cups and see if you like it. Adjust as needed.
→Serve over ice and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon.
- Be sure to buy extra long grain white rice. This really affects the taste and texture of the horchata. You definitely want it to be milky white. I used the brand “La Preferida.”
- Mexican cinnamon is also known as Ceylon cinnamon or real cinnamon. It is not as hot and spicy as the cassia variety that is often sold in the U.S. Mexican cinnamon can be identified by its appearance. It is usually long and made up of layers of thin papery bark. It is delicate and the layers tend to curl around themselves. Cassia cinnamon on the other hand is short and stumpy. It has very thick bark and there is usually only one tight curl. Try to search for Mexican/Ceylon cinnamon because it provides a more subtle cinnamon flavor. I found mine at the local Mexican grocery store.
Recipe Source: Adapted from “La Receta de la Abuelita” YouTube channel