If you've never had horchata before, or if you've never even heard of it...you're missing out. Horchata is basically a homemade rice milk drink that is spiced with cinnamon, and sometimes vanilla, and served over ice. While horchata originated in Latin America, there are many versions that vary from country to country. If you're like me, and you love absolutely anything that is made with cinnamon, then you're in luck. This drink is so refreshing, and tastes creamy, but is not made with milk. It reminds me of a more mellow version of an iced chai.
There are many different techniques for making Horchata, some are very authentic, and some...not so much. I've tried several. The "quick and easy" horchata recipes that include sweetened condensed milk and regular milk are way too sweet, thick, and dense, in my opinion. They would make for great coffee creamer, but not as a beverage if you ask me. It probably goes without saying, but authentic is the way to go. This recipe is my own version that achieved nearly the same flavor and texture as the authentic version, with much less effort and time commitment, and no blender needed. I loved the authentic version, but it was a bit more time-consuming than I would like for a recipe that I hope to make quite often this summer.
I found that using almond flour and rice flour saved me the steps of having to grind the ingredients into a fine powder myself. Other than that, the steps are basically the same as the authentic recipes. If you are able to find Canela, which is a Mexican cinnamon stick, in your grocery store- use it. Canela has a little bit different taste to it than regular cinnamon sticks, and you'll achieve a more authentic flavor. If you can't find it, don't worry, regular cinnamon sticks are fine. I was surprised to find Canela in my regular grocery store's produce department near the other Latin ingredients, plus it was available in bulk, so buying 4 sticks only cost me about 50 cents! You'll notice if you look carefully in my photos that the Mexican cinnamon sticks are a bit more woody/bark-like in appearance than regular cinnamon sticks.