Sunday, May 15, 2011

Horchata: A Central American rice drink

When I saw the English translation for "Horchata" was "Orgeat" on the B&B version of the condensed drink, I had to look it up. I've never heard that word before. The definition according to Merriam-Webster was: a sweet almond-flavored nonalcoholic syrup used as a cocktail ingredient or food flavoring. That's not at all what horchata is today, but after researching I found that in the past almonds actually were an ingredient.

According to, "Horchata is a traditional Central American rice drink that blends ground rice, cinnamon and sugar into a delicious and milky result. The Spaniards brought this drink to the new world, where they replaced the traditional ground melon seeds with squash seeds, and later with rice and almonds. The rice was traditionally ground with a "metate y mano," an old Mayan-style mortar and pestle. More modern, less ambitious methods use a blender."

I've never seen horchata made with anything other than the following ingredients:

(Uncooked) White Rice 1-2 cups
Cinnamon sticks (3 to 4)

If you would like the "less ambitious" method, here is a recipe:

1. Get your blender and put about 1-2 cups of your uncooked white rice in your blender, you'll need the lid on there because you don't want rice flying everywhere.

2. Now you're going to add about 3 cups of water to your blender (depending on the size of your blender, you want the water to be 2/4 to your rice). Now you are going to blend the water and the rice all together. Do this for about 1-2 minutes to make sure everything mixes all together.

3. Now that you have all this mixed together let you blender sit in your fridge with the rice for about 1 to 2 hours, this will assure that the flavors from the rice stick to the water so when it is time to take the rice out the rice flavor is still there..Also let your cinnamon sticks sit along with your rice water. If you use powdered cinnamon in there, use about half a cup of cinnamon.
You can adjust the tastes to your liking.

4. When 1-2 hours have passed you are going to get a colander and drain the rice out. You can transfer the water into your pitcher now.

5. Now you add about 1 cup of sugar. Make sure you taste your Horchata and make sugar and cinnamon adjustments if it needs to be sweeter. Here you will now need about 2-3 cups of milk. The milk is what brings the whole Horchata together.
Add ice and you have yourself a cool summer Central American beverage.

If you would like an even less ambitious version of this drink, buy the concentrated version, (B&B is one of the best) and just mix with the ratio of one cup of concentrate to 12 cups of water. Make sure you use cold water or it will make a clumpy, stringy mess. Chill and drink!

This is one of our daughter's favorite drinks! If you are very hungry and have to wait to eat, this beverage will make you feel full for a little while, so go easy if you drink it with a meal.


  1. Is the rice supposed to be already cooked?

  2. I love horchata! It's super popular here, and you can get it at several restaurants. I've never tried making it, though. Hmmm...

  3. For the B&B concentrated version on the bottle it says to add sugar how much would I add?

    1. It is to taste. A starting ratio is usually 1 cup sugar to 1 gallon. You can taste and go from there.