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Does anyone know what this is?  I sure didn’t, until I ate mexican down in the States.  Now I dream about it.  It’s a rice based drink that is sweet and has a cinnamon twist.  Every summer my team would go down to California at least once.  The weather is more fair than Calgary in the spring and every back road you can think of is paved.  Let me just go on a side bar here – picture a gravel road climbing up a mountain in Kananaskis, this is paved in the States.  Picture a gravel road in the country – replace wheat field with cacti – paved.  I could go on and on.  It’s a rider’s dream.  Ok, back to mexican….

The first time I tried it, I wouldn’t even buy it.  My husband,  my friend Shannon and I were doing a major road trip to Moab for a friend’s wedding.  We had been driving for about 14 hours and began to scour the areas along the way for an out-of-the-way traditional Mexican restaurant.  Finally we saw one.  We pulled into the parking lot and stepped into the restaurant.  Actually, I think we moaned and hobbled into the restaurant.  Three things that made me very happy:  there were mexican people eating there, it was run by a mexican family and the menu was not in English.  Jackpot! 

So, we ordered up our fancy and sat down to wait.  Along the side they had a salsa bar.  Of course!  We moseyed over and noticed that there was a very large , I want to say about 5 gallons, tub filled with a milky liquid.  It looked suspect.  We asked what it was and of course Arne ordered up a glass.  He was handed a glass and instructed to ladle out the horchata.  The what?!  We asked about 10 times how to pronounce it, but the lady’s speech was so fast that we gave up. 

We were served our chimichangas and such and Arne began to rave about this drink.  I was very wary of it.  It came from a tub!  Finally he talked me into a taste.  Once it hit my lips, it was so good (movie anyone?).  Since then I have been dying for more.  This was not available in Calgary.  My apologies to the mexican restaurants in Cowtown, but the food does not compare.  I wait for the summer to get down to the States to drink the thirst quenching, fire dulling, sweet beverage.

With urging from my friend Shannon , who is a master baker I might add, I decided to try it myself.  It turned out just how I had hoped.  I now urge you to try this out.  It goes perfect with spicy heavy foods or just by itself. 

Horchata – adapted from allrecipes online

4 cups warm water

1 cup long grain white rice

1 cinnamon stick

0.5 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups water


In a blender, blend the dry rice,  warm water (hot tap water), and cinnamon stick.  Hold a t-towel over the lid because my mixture spurted everywhere.  Oops.  No need to liquify, just get it to look cornmeal-esque.  Put in the fridge over night.  If you make this part in the morning, you could probably just leave it in the fridge the whole work day.

Remove from fridge and blend once more, just to mix it up and make the rice chunks a bit smaller.  Hold a wire mesh strainer lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth over a pitcher.  Strain slowly, using a spoon or small spatula to help it through.  When all of it is through, lift up the cheese cloth and squeeze the rice to get every drop out.

Finally, add the rest of the water, vanilla and sugar and stir until incorporated.  Serve over ice.  This recipe makes about 4 large glasses.  If you want to drink a lot you will probably need to double the recipe or more.  That’s when the multiple gallon tubs come into play.  Looks sketchy, but tastes incredible!  Store in the fridge.  It never lasts long enough for it to go bad at our house, but I’m guessing it would last a week?   ¡buen provecho (that’s enjoy!)



I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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