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Beat the heat | Cinnamon Rose Horchata

Horchata is a naturally vegan Mexican beverage made with soaked almonds, rice and cinnamon. This recipe includes a touch of rosewater and honey to sweeten and it is deliciously cooling served over ice

What a confusing February it has been! Early in the month we were hit by a week of steady rain and unseasonably chilly temperatures that had me happily making lasagne, throwing on scarves, and turning off the ceiling fan at night. I loved it (of course) but knew that it couldn’t last. Sure enough, this “cold snap” was predictably followed by two weeks of heat and increasingly suffocating humidity. We had plenty of storm action during this time, but nothing like the summer downpours that normally bring some relief. There has been much blasting of the air conditioner, many wet towels lain over inert bodies and a whooooole lot of complaining going on. The only things worth living for right now are icy-cold gin and tonics, a new range of homemade fruit shrubs (my flavours this year are raspberry & mint, white peach & ginger, and muscat grape), and a divine new discovery called horchata.

Horchata is a naturally vegan Mexican beverage made with soaked almonds, rice and cinnamon. This recipe includes a touch of rosewater and honey to sweeten and it is deliciously cooling served over ice

Horchata is a creamy iced beverage common to Spain, but also found in Mexico and other Central American countries. The core ingredients differ by location, with a variety of nuts, grains and seeds used, although chufas (tigernuts) appear to be traditional. The recipe I’ve used here hails from Mexico and uses a base of white rice and almonds that are soaked overnight with a cinnamon stick, then blended and strained to form a lusciously creamy milk. A touch of honey and rosewater add sweetness and fragrance and the result is a gorgeous drink that reputedly has cooling properties. I can’t say that I noticed any dramatic cooling sensation but I do know that it was lovely to sip and savour and forget about the sweat and damp for a moment. Look at me; I can barely even write a decent blog post! Bring on the cold, clear skies of winter. Until then, Cinnamon Rose Horchata.

Horchata is a naturally vegan Mexican beverage made with soaked almonds, rice and cinnamon. This recipe includes a touch of rosewater and honey to sweeten and it is deliciously cooling served over iceHorchata is a naturally vegan Mexican beverage made with soaked almonds, rice and cinnamon. This recipe includes a touch of rosewater and honey to sweeten and it is deliciously cooling served over ice

Cinnamon Rose Horchata

From Tending the Table

1 cup almonds (with skins or without)
3/4 cup white rice (any sort will do; I used basmati)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp honey
1/2-1 tsp rosewater, to taste

Place the almonds, rice and cinnamon stick in a large jar. Fill the kettle/jug with filtered water, bring it to the boil and then let it stand for 10 minutes. Measure three cups of hot water and pour over the rice and almonds. Screw the lid on the jar and allow the contents to cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator to soak overnight or until ready to make the horchata (up to two days).

Pour the soaked almonds, rice and cinnamon stick into a colander or sieve and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a blender (cinnamon stick as well), add 3 cups cold filtered water and blend on medium high until smooth. Line a colander or sieve with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Pour half of the blended almond and rice mixture into the cheesecloth, gather up the corners of the cloth and gently but firmly squeeze to extract all the liquid. Place the pulp in a separate bowl, then extract the rest of the almond and rice milk. Discard the pulp (or do as I do and stash in the freezer, breaking off pieces to use as a gentle body/face exfoliator).

Transfer the strained milk to a blender, add the ground cinnamon, honey and rose water and blend for a few seconds, until well mixed and a little frothy. Add more or less honey and rosewater to taste. Serve over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some rose petals.

17 Comments

    • You’re probably right – it does involve a bit of arm action, squeezing the milk out. I think that the only solution is to get your significant other to make it for you Lucy 🙂

  1. I have never heard of it, but it sounds really intriguing. I might wait for it to warm up a little here and then make it. Is it cooling down where you are now?

    • It has! It finally feels a bit like autumn. Nice to feel like we don’t have to have the fans blasting all night just to get a little relief *sigh*

    • The most difficult thing is squeezing out the milk, but even that was easier than I expected. Definitely worth the effort for an occasional treat 😊

    • Iced coffee is much more common down here in Australia and I’ve never seen horchata on a menu anywhere. It’s much healthier (and tastier) than drinking a large volume of milky coffee in my opinion. A great new discovery for the summer arsenal!

  2. My husband was in Sydney last week for work and initially I was quite jealous that he would be in warm weather…and then we had two days that brushed up near 80 degrees here in Baltimore. Meanwhile, I’m so over winter–I’ll trade you the cold and dryness for some heat and sweat! 🙂

  3. Hasn’t the weather been the pits. I’m loving this cool Tuesday morning and your Horchata, a totally new thing for me. I’ll definitely be trying this

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