Now that the weather is warming up on our side of the country (hooray!), I wanted to share one of my favorite homemade beverage recipes with you - Horchata! This is probably one of the easiest drinks to prepare at home, and I actually prefer to make it myself because I like my drinks less sweet than most people. That said, feel free to adjust the amount of sugar or honey you use according to your taste. I also occasionally add nuts or different spices to change the flavor a little, but this is my basic go-to recipe. Enjoy!
¾ cup rice (I usually use long grain white or brown basmati)
4 cups water
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup sugar or mild honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups water, milk, or coconut milk
Pour the rice in a blender and pulse until it resembles a coarse crumb. Add the 4 cups water and the cinnamon stick(s), and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Blend the mixture (cinnamon sticks included) for 2-3 minutes until completely pureed. Add the sugar and the vanilla extract, and blend again until completely combined. Check for sweetness.
Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve into a pitcher. Add the two cups water, milk, or coconut - depending on your preference - and stir. Pour in glasses over ice as-is, or add a splash of brandy. Garnish with cinnamon.