This delightful recipe for Horchata, a Mexican beverage, is a refreshing, slightly creamy agua fresca flavor. It’s made with rice and cinnamon, and it’s perfect for any occasion. Forget the usual drinks; this one will surely be the life of the party! You can also try our other crowd-pleasing favorites like Brazilian Lemonade, Homemade Hawaiian Punch, and Virgin Piña Coladas.
Horchata Mexican Drink
If you’ve been to a legitimate taqueria, you might have noticed those big glass jugs or jars filled with colorful agua fresca flavors. What are they, you ask? Agua frescas, which literally translates to “fresh waters,” are light, thirst-quenching, non-alcoholic beverages made mainly with water. They are sweetened with a bit of sugar and flavored with various ingredients such as fruit, nuts, flowers, or rice. Among the many flavors available, my personal favorites are hibiscus agua fresca (also known as agua de Flor de Jamaica) and the classic cinnamon and rice horchata (pronounced or-CHAH-tah, with a silent ‘h’).
When I was planning our Mexican fiesta feast, I wanted to offer something other than the usual Brazilian Limeade. That’s when I thought of those milky white jugs of horchata, speckled with tiny fragments of cinnamon. They looked so inviting!
What is Horchata made of?
The ingredients for horchata are simple yet wonderfully flavorful. Authentic horchata consists of water, rice, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. This easy horchata recipe strikes the perfect balance of creamy rice and cinnamon flavor, with just a hint of vanilla to round it all out.
Is there milk in horchata?
While traditional horchata recipes don’t include milk, it’s quite common to add a little bit to enhance creaminess. Be careful not to go overboard with the milk or sugar, though. Horchata is meant to be a lightly sweetened, watery rice drink, not a milkshake.
Now, you may be tempted to replace the cinnamon sticks with ground cinnamon. However, using cinnamon sticks is more traditional, especially Mexican cinnamon sticks, which are easily found in the Hispanic food aisle or next to the spice section in most grocery stores. Ground cinnamon tends to float on the surface of the drink, creating a layer that is not as pleasant as the subtle, infused flavor of the cinnamon sticks when ground into the water and soaked overnight.
How to Make Horchata
Making horchata is a breeze, but you’ll need a few tools before you begin: a blender and a fine mesh sieve or some cheesecloth.
- Blend: Combine the rice, cinnamon sticks, and half of the water in a blender. Grind them up to release their flavors into the water. Add the remaining water and blend until the rice is roughly ground.
- Soak: Let the rice mixture soak for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight.
- Strain: Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or a strainer lined with 2-3 layers of cheesecloth into a pitcher. This will remove any gritty rice and cinnamon solids. Strain again if needed, ensuring a smooth horchata free of any unwanted texture.
- Add milk, vanilla, and sugar: Stir well and serve over plenty of ice! For an extra touch, sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top.
Horchata goes well with:
- Shredded Beef Chimichangas
- Ground Beef Enchiladas
- Green Chile Chicken Chimichangas
- Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salads
- Grilled Chicken & Steak Fajitas
- Crispy Mexican Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Authentic Carne Asada