Mexican American Roots
Coming from Latin roots on my Mom’s side of the family, and in the southwestern United States, horchata has been a familiar drink ever since I was a little girl.
Horchata History Mapping Back to North Africa
Interestingly enough, horchata originated around 2400 B.C. per many historians. What you may not have guessed is that it got its start in Northern Africa, during the Roman conquest of Egypt.
Original Name for Horchata
Originally called “hordeata”, and instead of a rice water based drink, it was made using barley.
Historical Refreshment and Medicinal Use
Hordeata was known for its cooling, refreshing effects, and was also touted as a a drink to help lower fevers and given to babies to help with their fussing.
Different Versions of the Drink Using Native Plants
When this drink made its way to Spain, they used Tiger Nuts to make their nut milk version of the original hordeata.
When the Spaniards later came to the Americas, the drink transformed once again, this time into a rice based version of the original hordeata.
Authentic Mexican Horchata
The more authentic version would be made using rice soaked in water and cinnamon, blended and strained and then adding sugar to sweeten.
Alternative directions for this are included in this recipe to not only make it more allergy friendly and plant based, vegan, but more authentic to Mexican culture as well.
Americanized Version Using Added Milk
Todays version is yet another transformation, and made using the addition of either cows milk for a thicker frothier consistency or coconut milk for those allergic to or preferring a plant based version.
I personally love it with or without added milk, but if I have a choice I do add milk to make it extra rich and creamy.
Simple, Quick and Easy Recipe
This is such an easy, simple, refreshing recipe to have in hand especially for hot summer days. Just soak your rice the evening before, and the following morning you can blend it up and enjoy in under 5 minutes!
Be sure to enjoy your homemade horchata within 3-4 days, and keep it refrigerated.
- 1 Cup White Rice
- 4 Cups Water
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks, split in half lengthwise
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Cups Milk Whole Milk or Coconut Milk
In a medium sized bowl combine rice and water. Split cinnamon sticks in half to expose cinnamon flavoring, and add to rice water. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
Remove from refrigerator, and remove all large pieces of cinnamon sticks.
Pour rice and water into a blender that holds at least 6 cups or 48 ounces of liquid. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, or until rice is finely blended.
Using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain rice milk into a pitcher leaving the ground up blended rice. Use a spatula or back of a spoon to press, getting all excess rice milk out of rice. Discard ground rice.
Add sugar and milk to cinnamon rice milk mixture. Whisk until well combined. Chill in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes prior to serving.
Serve chilled over ice. May garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon.
The more traditional recipe of horchata would omit added cows or coconut milk, and it would purely be a rice milk drink. To do this simply add 2 cups cold water in place of the milk called for when adding granulated sugar.