For anyone that’s never tried it and is wondering, “What does horchata taste like?” I’ve got the answer right here.
Horchata is a cold and creamy drink made of milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. It tastes similar to rice pudding but in a refreshing, liquid form. It’s the perfect balance of creamy and sweet.
It’s wonderful with a plate of tacos. And it’s the ideal drink on a hot day.
No matter when you drink it, a glass of horchata is a delicious way to quench your thirst.
Though it’s popular all over the world, it’s actually an iconic Spanish drink. And you’ll see carts all over Spain selling it during the summer.
So, if you’ve never had this sweet, cinnamony drink, keep reading because you’re in for a refreshing treat!
What is Horchata?
So, what is horchata?
Horchata, also known as orxata, is a cold and creamy drink that’s off-white in color. It’s made primarily of milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Though the traditional recipe featured tiger nuts, sugar, and lemon peels.
There are a few different kinds of horchata, including the one mentioned above. Featuring tiger nuts, it’s popular in Spain and called horchata de chufa.
But today we’ll be making the Mexican version using white rice as the main ingredient.
This is how it’s usually made in taco shops and Mexican restaurants in the U.S.
Aside from being delicious and refreshing, horchata is also quite a healthy drink!
In fact, this Mexican drink is widely used to help ease up a fever.
Not only that but it’s also rich in Vitamin B for extra energy. Who doesn’t want more of that?
What Does Horchata Taste Like?
Mexican horchata (horchata de arroz) is made mainly of rice and milk with a hint of cinnamon. It tastes similar to rice pudding but in a refreshing, liquid form. Add in the nuts and it also has a hit of earthiness.
Sounds delicious right?
It’s usually served over ice cubes or crushed ice and has a flawless balance of sweet and creamy.
That’s why it pairs perfectly with any Mexican dish, especially spicy ones!
Some of my favorites to go with a cold glass of horchata are tacos al pastor, barbacoa burritos, or spicy cheese quesadillas. Yummy!
How to Make Horchata
This recipe makes 4 servings of horchata and takes just 10 minutes to prepare.
How Long Does Horchata Last?
For the best tasting horchata, you can keep it chilled in your fridge for as long as three days to one week. Make sure to never leave it out in room temperature for longer than an hour!
Tips for Making the Best Horchata
Like many recipes that are this easy and simple to make, one of the best things about horchata is you can get creative and tweak it to your taste. You can have it as sweet or milky (or even boozy!) as you want.
If you’re following a special diet, don’t worry. You can definitely still enjoy this drink as there are a variety of alternative ingredients you can use.
- For a vegan or dairy-free horchata substitute the whole milk with coconut milk. You can also use almond milk for an extra earthy flavor!
- For a nut-free horchata just take out the almonds, no need for replacement.
- For a sugar-free horchata you can use artificial sweeteners like stevia. Another healthier option you can try is honey. Of course, you can adjust the sweetness level to your taste!
- For an alternative to long-grain white rice, you can use any other rice you want. For extra fiber, you can use brown or black rice.
One of the key things that makes a good horchata is not only its milkiness and creaminess but its smooth texture as well.
Strain It Well
It’s very important to strain carefully (double straining is recommended!) so you don’t get any unwanted chunks in your drink.
If you can, use pre-sliced almonds when blending.
Use a Blender
The best way to make horchata is with a blender. It’ll make pureeing the ingredients much easier.
But if you don’t have access to one, don’t fret because there’s another way to make it using just a whisk.
How to Make It with A Whisk
Instead of long-grain white rice, use unsweetened rice milk. For the cinnamon sticks, substitute it with ground cinnamon.
You’ll need extra whisking power for this version. But while blended horchata tastes better, this shortcut is still worth a shot!
Make It Boozy
Oh, and one last thing. If you’re wondering if you can add a little spike to your horchata, the answer is yes!
Think of it like eggnog! After you’ve chilled and strained the liquid, add a splash of something boozy.
Rum is probably the most common liquor added to horchata. I recommend spiced rum.
If you’re making a dairy-free version, some white rum will go well with coconut milk (think pina coladas).
You can also try bourbon and have something similar to eggnog but thinner and sweeter.
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