Almond Horchata

Almond Horchata

When I first moved to San Diego, I was introduced to many different Mexican eateries throughout the city.  In addition to a regular soda fountain, most casual restaurants also had a fountain that dispensed Mexican beverages such as Tamarindo, Jamaica and Horchata.  After taking a sip of each, I was most intrigued by Horchata, a rice-based drink spiced with cinnamon.  This Almond Horchata is a variation on the Mexican classic.  Rice, almonds and canela are steeped overnight then blended into a creamy concoction.  Almond Horchata is sweet, smooth and incredibly refreshing.  One major advantage to making Horchata at home is that you can easily control the sugar level.  Store-bought or restaurant varieties can often be way too sweet.  Also, the recipe below will serve six to eight people; however, you can easily scale the quantities up to serve a crowd.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Soaking Almonds and Cinnamon Soaking Rice and Almonds Strained Horchata

Almond Horchata
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 6
Adapted from here.
  • 6 tablespoons white rice (just plain rice, nothing fancy here)
  • 6 oz. blanched almonds
  • A 2-inch long cinnamon stick (Mexican canela works best here if you can find it)
  • 1 cup canned evaporated milk
  • White sugar, to taste
  • Ice cubes, for serving
  1. To a medium bowl, add rice, almonds, cinnamon and 2 1/2 cups water, stirring to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight (at least 8 hours).
  2. Transfer the contents of the bowl (water included) to a blender and process for 3 to 4 minutes. You want to blend until the mixture is smooth and the grit is fairly small. To test, rub a small drop between your fingers. If it feels very gritty, continue blending for another minute or two. Add 2 cups of water, then blend for a minute more. If your blender isn’t big enough to accommodate all of the liquid, work in batches.
  3. Set a medium mesh basket strainer over a large bowl then line with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth. Pour the almond-rice-water mixture through the strainer until it comes about 3/4 of the way up the cheesecloth. Gently stir with a spoon to help the liquids pass through. Continue this process until all liquid from the blender has passed through the strainer. Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth, twist them together to trap the contents inside, then squeeze to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the solids and cheesecloth. Line a fine mesh basket strainer with a layer of dampened cheesecloth then set over another large bowl. Strain the liquid once again to remove any fine grit.
  4. To the almond-rice mixture, add 1 cup of water and evaporated milk. Stir in sugar to taste (I started with a 1/2 cup, tasted, then added an additional 1/8 cup). If the consistency of the drink seems thicker than whole milk, stir in additional water.
  5. Transfer to a pitcher, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. To serve, stir up the Horchata then pour into a tall glass filled with ice.


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17 Responses to Almond Horchata

  1. 1

    Brandon this looks awesome! It’s a wayyyyy better version of homemade almond milk or rice milk…I am so making this! One of my fave treats is going to the Hillcrest Farmers Market, there’s some Mexican ladies there that sell homemade/fresh squeezed juice blends and one of the things they also have is Horchata and it’s amazing and I can’t wait to recreate at home. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. 2

    This is intriguing (and a lot of work, with all that straining).

  3. 3
    Jenni says:

    Can it be done without the evaporated milk? I can’t have any kind of cow’s milk thanks to food allergies.

  4. 4
    Eliot says:

    I have never heard of this. I am intrigued as well. I love the flavor combos so might have to give this a shot.

  5. 5

    YES!! I grew up with horchata at all of the local eateries. I’ve been craving it lately and have even made a sad concoction out of almond milk, truvia and cinnamon……but it was a sad substitution. I grew up ordering horchata in the most enormous size any restaurant had whenever I saw it, I love it, and it’s super nostalgic for me.

    This looks AMAZING and will most definitely be prepped tonight, as I have some fish tacos on the menu for tomorrow’s dinner.

    I’ve been dreaming of a boba/horchata fusion….but haven’t decided if it would be wonderful or horrible….

  6. 6
    Amrita says:

    Hmmm this is an interesting drink, indeed! I’ve never heard of this before and looks like it has a unique flavor profile. Will try this some time!

  7. 7
    Crystal says:

    I wonder how brown rice would work…must experiment!

  8. 8
    Medeja says:

    I tried coconut one, I think it’s time for almond :)

  9. 9
    Cindy says:

    I learned something new today (horchata)! Thank you!

  10. 10
    toni says:

    Brandon, Have you ever tried mixing this beverage and making an alcoholic version, say with some amaretto or rum? sounds delish!

  11. 11

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE HORCHATA!! Horchata is so yummy and delicious! I definitely need to try it with the almonds. Yum!

  12. 12

    [...] I recently saw my friend Brandon (who is also my competition in Marsh Madness) make almond horchata, I knew I had make [...]

  13. 13
    Kara Pena says:

    I love to make Horchata at home (my husband is full Mexican, I’m 1/2). It is such a yummy treat to have and as a Celiac I love not having to miss out. I don’t know if you have tried hazelnuts in it, but it becomes something quite fancy. I live in Arizona so a drink like this is such a welcome break from the water we take in here and very refreshing as the water heats up. great job!

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