Horchata – Mexican Rice Beverage

Horchata 3

Our son served us this refreshing drink as a wonderful souvenir from Mexico, but it very popular in Southern Countries as Texas and California as well.

This sweet refreshing drink is mostly served chilled or over ice originated in Valencia (Spain) and has become a favorite summertime refreshment throughout Spain and South America.

But there is another story about this drink! Many years ago, as I was still a little child, I remember I got a delicious white drink with almonds flavor called “orzata” (Italian) or Orgeat syrup in English.

It seems that this kind of drink originated in several places around the globe as the Egyptians as well the Mayas already prepared this with different kind of seeds.

The name “horchata”or “orzata” comes the grain from a plant called Hordeum vulgare (Latin), orzo (Italian), cebada (Spanish) or barley (English) as this drink was make by a mixture of barley and almonds.

It’s almost impossible to give THE best recipe of horchata as there are so many different possibilities to prepare this refreshing drink.

Most recipes says you have to sieve the rice, but if you stir the mixture you will see that the rice automatically separates from the liquid and this step is not really necessary. I let this up to you!

You can choose how much milk or water you prefer but I really like only one quarter of milk or even less.

You need:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (extract or paste)
  • 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon ground, to taste (quantity depends on taste and on quality)
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  1. Blend half of the water and rice until finely grinded.
  2. Add the second half of the water stir and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
  3. Sieve with a cheesecloth to remove the rice (optional).
  4. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar
  5. Stir well and chill before serving.
  6. Fill into glasses and top with little cinnamon.

Variations based on cinnamon:

  • Replace milk with almond milk.
  • Replace milk with water, but add 1/2 cup of peeled almonds to the rice and blend together.
  • Replace milk by the desired quantity of condensed milk or powdered milk (blend it first).
  • Replace 1 cup of rice by 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut.
  • Replace water by milk.
  • Replace milk by water.

Variations different flavors:

  • Ginger and lemongrass
  • Coffee and cinnamon
  • Cacao and cinnamon
  • Berries
  • Melon seeds instead of rice
  • Tigernuts (chufas) instead of rice

Horchata 7


6 thoughts on “Horchata – Mexican Rice Beverage

  1. I chose Version #1. I completely skipped Step #3 and the big change here was omitting the cow’s milk. I was rather perplexed by the addition of cow’s milk I must admit. Having made horchata before I don’t ever remember there being cow’s milk. That’s a new one for me. So, I skipped it. I would consider coconut milk however. The sugar was processed in a spice mill to superfine. This helps the sugar to dissolve better in the mixture. I would also reduce the amount of sugar, too. Mexicans sure do like sugar! 😉 I used a ratio of 75/25 long grain white rice and jasmine rice. Vanillas paste in place of vanilla extract. Prepared for the Beverage Tag. Was a fun cooking experiment!

    • Hi! I really appreciate your details with all your suggestions, thanks! My son got a recipe with milk, but this can be easily replaced by almonds milk for example especially for a vegan version. 🙂

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