Horchata (or-CHA-tah) is a sweet rice beverage, often seen in big jars beside other agua frescas like tamarindo, melon, strawberry, cucumber, etc. Agua Fresca translates to fresh water in Spanish and makes for a refreshing drink on warm summer days.
Mixes are available to buy, but there's no need when this is so simple to make. Rice, water, and a cinnamon stick are pureed in the blender, then flavoring, condensed milk, sugar, and water are added and chilled until serving time. If you want a little kick, some banana or coffee liqueur would be a good addition.
Horchata de Arroz (Rice Horchata)
1 cup white rice, uncooked
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 T vanilla
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 cups water
Soak the rice in 3 cups water for 3-4 hours, or overnight. Pour rice (along with the water) and a cinnamon stick into a blender container and puree until mixture is well combined, 1-2 minutes.
Using a fine mesh strainer, or a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth, strain the mixture into a gallon size container. Add vanilla, condensed milk, sugar and 8 cups water. Stir vigorously to blend and refrigerate until well chilled.
Before serving, stir horchata well. Pour horchata over ice and dust with cinnamon.