HORCHATA CONCENTRATE DRINK MIX
Horchata Concentrate Drink Mix varies in taste across Latin America.
While in some countries the drink is usually tan and “milky”, some recipes call for milk, and others do not. Other ingredients often include sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Though horchata was once typically homemade, it is now available in both ready-to-drink (shelf-stable or refrigerated) and powdered form in grocery stores. Horchata, together with tamarindo and Jamaica, are the three typical drink flavors of Mexican Aguas frescas.
- In Mexico and Guatemala, horchata is made of rice, sometimes with vanilla and always with cinnamon.
- In the Central American countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica, horchata refers to the drink known as semilla de jicaro, made from the jicaro seeds ground with rice and spices such as ground cocoa, cinnamon, sesame seeds, nutmeg, tiger nuts and vanilla. Other nuts that may also be used include peanuts, almonds, and cashews. Because of these ingredients, the horchata is usually strained before serving. Horchata in Costa Rica is most popular in the Pacific region of the country, specially Puntarenas, although it is widely consumed in the rest of the country. Nicaragua has begun exporting this product, primarily to the United States.
- In Puerto Rico, horchata is called horchata de ajonjolí and made with ground sesame seeds. Water is boiled with sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon sticks. When done the water is poured over the ground sesame seeds and left overnight. The water is then squeezed through a cheesecloth. Some recipes call for added ground rice, ground almonds, evaporated milk, coconut milk, allspice, and rum. Horchata with barley and lime zest is also popular, but mainly in homes.
- In Venezuela, horchata is made with sesame seeds, water, and sugar in the western area, Zulia. There is also chicha, made with rice flour, milk, and sugar. The alcoholic variant is called chicha Andina which is made with fermented corn flour.
- In Ecuador, horchata is a clear red infusion of 18 herbs and is most famous in the province of Loja.
What is Horchata?
This traditional Mexican beverage is sweet and refreshing.
Horchata (pronounced or-CHAH-tah) is a Mexican drink made with rice and is flavored with cinnamon and sweetened with sugar. The rice, sometimes along with some nuts or seeds, is ground and mixed with water to make a milky looking drink. It is served over ice as a cooling beverage in Mexico’s hot climate.
The roots of this drink stem from Egypt where they originally used the chufa nut to make horchata.
During ancient times, the drink made its way to Spain, where it is called horchata de chufa. When the Spaniards brought the drink to Mexico, the natives replaced the chufa nut with rice (although you can find the alternate chufa version in Mexico as well).
This drink can be found in most Mexican restaurants and is often sold by street vendors in Mexico. Since it does not contain milk, it will not spoil as easily as a dairy-containing beverage.
You can buy a horchata syrup, where you just need to add water, but it is easy (and will taste better) if you make your own horchata. You only need white rice, a cinnamon stick, sugar, and water, along with a blender and fine-mesh strainer. Although not the traditional version, you can add different flavors to the rice mixture for an interesting twist on this Mexican classic.
Horchata Rice Drink—Basic Recipe and Variation
One of the most popular of the Aguas Frescas, horchata (the h is silent: or-CHAH-tah) is common in most of Latin America. It consists of water and/or milk mixed with ground seeds or nuts (such as sesame or cantaloupe seeds, almonds, or others). In Mexico, horchata is most often made with ground white rice and cinnamon, and the result is unexpectedly refreshing. Although you can buy bottled syrups to which you need only add water to make horchata, this homemade version is so easy that it seems sensible just to prepare it from scratch.
What You’ll Need
- 1 cup dry, uncooked long-grain white rice
- 1/2 of a cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 5 cups drinking water
- 1/2 cup white sugar or stevia
How to Make It
- Grind the rice in your blender until it is pulverized. Toss with a cinnamon stick and lime zest; let rest overnight.
- Place rice mixture into the blender and blend until smooth. Add 2 cups of water to the mixture, stir, and let soak for 2 hours.
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or a few layers of cheesecloth, squeezing frequently to remove as many of the solids as possible.
- Add the rest of the water (3 cups) and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Refrigerate your delicious horchata. Serve over ice, if desired.
Some simple variations on Rice Horchata
- Coffee Horchata: Follow the basic recipe, adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder together with the sugar (step 4).
- Coconut Horchata: Replace one of the cups of water with 1 cup of coconut milk (not coconut cream).
- Strawberry Horchata: Add 2/3 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries to the mixture after step #3; blend until smooth.
- Vanilla Horchata: Add ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence to each serving of horchata right before serving.
- Chocolate Horchata: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mixture after step #3; blend or stir vigorously until smooth.
- Peanut Horchata: Add 1 tablespoon peanut butter to the mixture after step #3; blend until smooth.
- Nut Horchata: Add 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts to the mixture after step #3; blend until smooth.