Mexican Horchata (Almond Rice Drink with Cinnamon)

June 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

The first time I had horchata was at Anna’s Tacqueria in Boston (woohoo Anna’s!). It was unlike anything I had tasted before, it was sweet, milky, and a little tangy.

The surprising thing about horchata is that it is completely dairy-free, despite it’s milky appearance.  It is made up with ground rice, almonds, and cinnamon.

I didn’t think this was going to be that hard to make when the recipe showed up in my inbox this week, but to be honest, it took a lot longer than I thought! Sure, the end result was delicious and refreshing, but even for me, it took a little longer than I would have liked so I only recommend making this if you have a bit of time to spare. Otherwise, it’s the perfect summer beverage!

Horchata Recipe


Game plan: Start this recipe a day ahead, as the ground ingredients need to soak overnight.

Total Time: 10 mins, plus soaking time
Makes: 4 to 6 drinks (1 quart)

1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
2 (1/2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 cup blanched, sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
4 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 (2-inch-long) lime zest strip, removed with a vegetable peeler
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. Pulverize the rice and cinnamon in a spice grinder in batches until the mixture resembles a fine powder. Place in a 2-quart container with a tightfitting lid. Next, pulverize the almonds in the spice grinder until finely ground but not a paste. Add the almond powder to the rice-cinnamon mixture, pour in the water, and stir to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours.
  2. Add the sugar and zest to the mixture and, using a blender, blend in batches on high until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer placed over a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, press on the solids to extract all of the liquid, then discard the solids.
  3. Stir the lime juice into the horchata, then transfer the beverage to a pitcher and chill in the refrigerator. Serve over ice.


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