A combination of summer like weather, a craving for homemade almond milk, and memories of Houston taqueria, resulted in making horchata. Horchata is a rice based drink, often laced with cinnamon and almonds. It is light and creamy, but refreshing and sweet. You could also easily turn this into a traditional ice pop and maybe even add a bit of cooked rice for some texture. Horchata is incredibly easy to make at home, requiring just an overnight soak and a couple minutes in the blender.
I used brown rice here, as that is what I always have on hand, and it lent a slightly nuttier tasty to the finished drink. Instead of sugar, I used honey to sweeten, agave nectar is also a good unrefined sweetener option. Because both honey and agave are sweeter than sugar, use 1/3 to 1/2 less, depending on taste. To make it even creamier, use rice milk, almond milk, or dairy milk instead of water after blending everything together. Also, the horchata has a tendency to separate, but just stir it back together.
Horchata De Almendra
from Mexico, One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless
(Speaking of which, we will be in Chicago for July 4th weekend and eagerly looking forward to eating at Xoco and other Bayless restaurants. Any other suggestions?)
2/3 cup rice
1 1/4 cup almonds, blanched*
small piece of cinnamon stick
4 1/2 cup water OR 2 1/2 cup water and 2 cups milk
1/2 or more cup honey or agave OR 1 cup of sugar (more traditional)
Soak rice, almonds, and cinnamon in 2 1/2 cups of water and chill overnight.
The next day, puree the rice mixture and the sweetener in a blender until it is as smooth as possible. Pass the mixture through a strainer, if your strainer is not super fine, line it with cheesecloth. Press the mixture through the strainer until the remaining pulp is dry-ish. Add the remaining water or milk to the mixture. Taste and add more honey or sugar, if needed. Serve over ice and enjoy!