Thursday, January 3, 2013

12 Days of Christmas: 8th Day, Horchata


The 8th Day of Christmas is now officially my favorite day of Christmas.  Because of this recipe.  Thank you, eight maids a-milking, for all your inspiration.  And thank you to whoever it was, ages ago, that invented horchata.  Because I'm hooked.

If you've never heard of horchata (which I never had until a few years ago, when a friend adopted the word for her stage moniker), it is a milky rice-based Mexican drink.  You may have tried RumChata (which is my new favorite alcoholic drink)?  It's that, minus the rum.  And really, I did a taste-test today, and my homemade horchata and the RumChata taste almost identical.  I think I actually prefer the horchata.

And it's ridiculously easy.  And cheap.  It has four-five ingredients, depending on how you make it, and one of them is water.

This would be the perfect drink for summer.  Really, it's the perfect drink for anytime, but I can already imagine sitting in our backyard, reading a book and sipping a tall, cool glass of horchata.  I can't wait.

Incidentally, it does mix well with rum.  In case you were wondering.

On the eight day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight maids a-milking...

(makes about 6 cups)
adapted from David Lebovitz

2/3 c long-grain white rice
3 c. warm water
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
1 c. sugar
2 c. milk or rice milk
Ground cinnamon, to serve

With a coffee grinder, or in a blender, grind the rice so that it is in fine pieces (about the consistency of coarse polenta).


Transfer to a medium bowl and pour the warm water over.  Add the cinnamon stick.  Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the rice and water until it is as smooth as possible.  I used my immersion blender for about two minutes.  There will be a sand-like rice residue remaining at the bottom.

Strain through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth into a large bowl.  Squeeze or push down on the rice residue relatively firmly to get as much rice flavor as possible into the horchata.

Stir in the sugar and the milk, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.  Refrigerate until completely chilled.

Enjoy over ice with ground cinnamon to garnish.

Store in the refrigerator for up to four days. swans a-swimming...

...six geese a-laying...

...four colly birds...

...three French hens...

...two turtledoves...

...and a partridge in a pear tree.

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