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It has been a hot summer in Buffalo. One of the hottest that I personally can recall. We’ve been traveling a ton and trying to enjoy every last-minute of the heat and sun while we are in town. We don’t leave again for another month so we hope to get the bikes out a few times, head to the beach and maybe even squeeze in some hiking or camping or something. Now that we are working from home, we really want to take advantage of the summer months while we can and enjoy the beautiful weather, before the snow and cold set in.

One of my favorite things about the short-lived summertime in Buffalo, is playing around with refreshing drink recipes. Admittedly, I planted mint in my yard, just to make mojitos and this summer I even infused my own liquors after reading this article in Bon Appetit magazine. Now that I made my first two batches and they turned out great, I plan to write-up a post about them.  Don’t worry though, it isn’t just “adult beverages” I like to create, I love making fresh smoothies in the morning, iced teas, flavored sparkling waters and the like. Naturally, when I came across a post on David Lebovitz’s blog about making homemade horchata, I couldn’t wait to try it. There is nothing better than an ice-cold refreshing glass at an authentic mexican restaurant. OK, so maybe it is a close second to a good margarita, but it’s still incredible. It’s light, full of delicious flavors and it is perfect on ice on a hot summer day. There are few “authentic” Mexican restaurants here in Buffalo, (as far as I am concerned, none of them are authentic) and definitely no taquerias, so the chances of finding horchata here, are slim to none. I usually reserve my mexican indulgences for when we travel, rather than being let down, so when we aren’t traveling and I am craving Mexican, I tackle it myself at home. It isn’t nearly the same, but I still find it to be better than any of the Mexican restaurants here. I make my own tortillas, pico de gallo and guacamole, which is already a step above most places. We are actually having black bean tacos at home this week and I cannot wait.

When I saw how easy this horchata recipe was, I knew that this would be another Mexican treat worth trying at home. It is quite simple, you will spend more time waiting for the rice to soak then all of the prep time combined. You definitely want to make sure you strain in through cheese-cloth so you get all the rice bits, otherwise it will settle to the bottom of the pitcher in the fridge.

In addition to David’s recipe, I also checked out Rick Bayless’ recipe and many others. I came across many variations on the recipe, some include almonds, lime zest, etc. I decided to alter them all slightly and go with my own combination and I was very happy with the results. Oh and definitely try a glass with a shot of good rum stirred in, YUM!

Another fun twist you can take with the horchata is something that I have now learned is called a “Cochata”: Iced Coffee + Horchata. I made this apparently trendy drink in accidental desperation the morning after making the horchata. I wanted an iced coffee and realized after it was poured that we were out of any milk or cream, so I poured in a large glug of the horchata and was instantly in love. You have to try it.

On a side note, I apologize for the lack of posts and recipes on here, we just got home from nearly 2 weeks on the west coast. So I am hoping to get more recipes up here in the next few weeks as we are home for a month straight, finally. It has been a busy summer, full of travel and events, so I am excited to have some time at home.

Ground up rice and spices for horchata

Makes 7 servings
Adapted from recipes from Rick Bayless and David Lebovitz

2/3 cup white rice
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
3 2-inch strips of lime zest (colored rind only) 3/4 inch wide
3 cups of hot water
3/4 – 1 cup sugar
3 cups of cold water

Grind the rice in a blender or spice grinder into fine pieces. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add in the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and lime zest. Stir in 3 cups of hot tap water, cover and let stand at least 6 hours or preferably, overnight.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and pour the mixture into a blender and blend for 3 to 4 minutes, until it no longer feels very gritty. Add 2 cups of water, and then blend for a few seconds more. Set a large sieve over a mixing bowl and line with 3 layers of dampened cheese cloth. Pour in the mixture a little at time, gently stirring to help the liquid pass through. Squeeze the cheese cloth firmly to extract as much of the rice flavor as possible.

Add 1 cup of water and stir in your desired amount of sugar, mix until the sugar is dissolved. Taste, and adjust sweetness, if necessary. If the consistency is too thick, add additional water. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Stir before pouring.  Serve over ice with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon on top.

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110 Responses

  1. Tes says:

    I have never tried Horchata before but it looks so amazing, a perfect summer drink 🙂

  2. Sounds really good, and filling. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Carlie Chew says:

    I love horchata! My favorite drink on earth, I will definitely be trying this recipe out, thanks.

  4. Thanks for the great recipe! I’m kind of an horchata snob to be honest; I’ve spent the last few years in Mexico and even there in the heartland, most horchata is just made from a packet mix these days. Your recipe looks amazing though and I can’t wait to try it out…

  5. wadingacross says:

    Never heard of this before, and I’ve been to plenty of Mexican restaurants. So, it’s basically sweet rice water puree. That doesn’t necessarily sound very appetizing.

    • R.A. Stewart says:

      It is a whole that is far more than the sum of its parts. In my experience you’re more likely to find a good horchata in a small family-run Mexican restaurant. Highly recommended if you get a chance to try one.

  6. Marc Schuster says:

    So “Horchata” isn’t just a Vampire Weekend song… Who’d have guessed? Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I’m finding myself grateful for the recipe … and the link to the Bon Apetit about infusing liquors. Mmmmm…


  8. Amanda says:

    This is great! My boyfriend loves Horchata and every time we go Mexican food he orders it 🙂 I’ll have to make this for him!


  9. jtnesse says:

    Have you heard the song Horchata by Vampire Weekend? If you haven’t I suggest looking it up!

  10. nice post – looks great

  11. Thank you. I will try it today.

  12. man oh man, was this good. I will deff make it again.

    Arjun Kay


  13. Beto / Brazil says:

    Horchata (or simply Orchata) here in Brazil is just a watermelon juice… 😉

  14. I LOVE horchata! Such a great summertime drink, especially sitting on a patio overlooking a garden while munching on carne asada with a girl lol.

  15. enjoibeing says:

    ONE OF MY FAVORITE DRINKS EVER! okay sorry with the caps but this drink right here is probably one the best drinks i have ever tasted. great post oh and by the way ill be taking this recipe from you 😉

  16. Deyanira says:

    In Spain we prepare it with an special root named “chufa” Cyperus esculentus in latin: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chufa

    It is tipical valencian fresh iced beverage http://www.mercadocalabajio.com/2007/05/como-hacer-horchata-de-chufas-casera.html

    Try it when you visit our country, it´s delicious

  17. Thanks, I love horchata! It is so hard to find homemade at restaurants now, I will definitely have to make my own! This would go perfectly with my latest nopales (cactus) recipes.

  18. uh yum!

  19. beyondanomie says:

    Never heard of this drink before but it sounds quite fascinating. Might give it a try soon; thanks for the recipe.

  20. It looks good, maybe i will try one, thanks for sharing.

  21. Looks delicious!

  22. Carola says:

    Growing up my stepdad used to buy this drink for the family at a little Arabian owned shop. They made it with almonds and it was delish. I might just have to try this recipe, sounds yummy.

  23. YanLú says:

    Hello there from México to all “Gringos”:


    Horchata is an excellent drink, very tasty & with different flavors. It’s origin (antient Egipt) comes from Arab influence in Spain, after 700 years of occupying most of the península Ibérica. The day America as a Continent was bumped into, was the day the last Arabs in Spain went back to África. From Spain (mainly from the Canary Islands) Horchata came to México.

    In Spain, it usually refers to orxata de xufa (horchata de chufa), made from tigernuts, water, and sugar. (you haven’t lived until you taste tigernuts!-YanLú)
    Originally from Valencia, the idea of making horchata from tigernuts comes from the period of Muslim presence in Valencia (from the 8th to 13th century).
    It has a regulating council to ensure the quality of the product and the villages where it can come from, with the Denomination of Origin. The village of Alboraia is well known for the quality of its horchata.
    It is served ice cold as a natural refreshment in the summer. Tigernut horchata is also used in place of milk by the lactose intolerant.

    Horchata varies in taste across Latin America. Although the drinks may share the same name, the flavor of each is unique to its country of origin.
    While in some countries the drink is usually tan and “milky”, some recipes call for milk, and others do not. Other ingredients often include sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Though horchata was once typically homemade, it is now available in both ready-to-drink (shelf-stable or refrigerated) and powdered form in grocery stores. Horchata, together with tamarindo and jamaica, are the three typical drink flavors of Mexican agua frescas.
    In Mexico, horchata is made of rice, sometimes with vanilla and always with cinnamon.

    In the U.S., rice-based or ‘morro’ horchata is served in many Mexican restaurants, and the horchata de chufas (tigernut) is virtually unknown. Rice-based horchata is also sometimes available in U.S. grocery and convenience stores, especially in Hispanic neighborhoods.

  24. This sounds beautiful!
    Congratulations on being FP x


  25. rastelly says:

    I’ve never tried this, and wonder why I’ve never seen it.
    I used to hate mexican – till I tried “authentic” and realized
    I just hated taco bell. Why oh why do my favorite restraunts
    forget stuff like this? I so want to try that but blenders hate
    me so much. If you like bloody marys though heres something
    I like – mix a little grapefruit juice, lime juice, and hot pepper
    juice into some tomato juice and add garlic papricka and
    black pepper. I call it – the tomato tingeler.

    • smurfelf says:

      Taco Bell is the complete opposite of authentic Mexican food. Some items on their menu are complete fabrications, they are not imitations/alterations/anything of traditional Mexican dishes. They’re just new ways to combine ground beef, cheese, and beans. Oh, and don’t forget the “meat flavor,” ha.

  26. lindayoga says:

    I love horchata!

  27. Alvaro says:

    In fact this is a typical spanish cold drink but here is made with chufa


    in fact not a cereal but a slightly sweet and nutty tuber. If you like the rice variety sure would love the spanish one.


    It serves usually as a middle afternoon snack with fartons, light long buns.


    The process to make valencian orchata is almost the same as with the mexican one. You shoud try it if you can get tigernuts.

  28. i love horchata, but have never made it from scratch at home. i am definitely going to try this recipe. thanks for sharing and congrats on being FP.

  29. Brandie says:

    Yum! I love horchata. Never tried making it myself though so I’ll definitely be trying this out!

  30. I love horchata and of course never get it here in the UK – thanks for the recipe!

  31. juliacastorp says:

    going to try this

  32. Jenna says:

    I tried my hand at horchata for the first time this summer also. So easy and delicious! Bet it will be great with hot coffee too as the weather cools down in NY (thanks goodness!!).

  33. Julie says:

    I am Mexican (born and raised and still living in Mexico) and it never crossed my mind to add lemon zest to the horchata… I will try it, lol. =)


  34. these are come really nice recipes! I was just wondering if anyone could vist my blog I wish the best to you guys!

  35. Eva McCane says:

    looks tasty and refreshing! thanks for sharing!

  36. I love horchata! I grew up drinking it as a kid and it is perfect on a hot day accompanied by a soft fish taco 🙂 Great article, and thanks for the recipe.

  37. Laura Fyfe says:

    I’ve always wondered what horchata was since the vampire weekend song, now I know! Sounds delicious, will have to give it a go! Thanks

  38. pretty sure i want this now. plus, it’s fun to say.

  39. LukeR84 says:

    Definitely only knew about Horchata (and Kefir for that matter) from Vampire Weekend also. Nice post, I can’t wait to try it!

  40. crimsonlocks says:

    I’ve acquired an addiction for horchata in the last year or so, and it’s not always easy to find the good stuff. I’ve gotten stuck with a glass full of what tastes like milk with Dentyne gum mixed in it. Yuck! But when you get some good stuff, it’s like heaven. Thanks for the recipe!

  41. Alice says:

    My mom makes Horchata all the time! For dinner or lunch! We had Horchata last night.

  42. jfashionuk says:

    yummies !!! great coffe !!!!

  43. ambermackey says:

    I am so glad you put the recipe for horchata 🙂 thank you

  44. Growing up as a kid we were often ‘financially challenged’ and rice pudding was what we ate for breakfast, lunch and supper. You have succeeded in dignifying this poor-man’s meal. Well done!

  45. Alessandro Paiva says:

    Hum, I’ve never heard about it! Sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  46. gcampanale says:

    This sounds so good!!! I can’t wait to try it! Thank you.

  47. Caitlin says:

    We Love!

  48. That looks really fresh and beautiful!

  49. Shamel says:

    You’ll love the drink even more when you listen to ‘Horchata’ by Vampire Weekend.

  50. This drink sounds delicious, now all I need to do is track down some cheese cloth and I’m set to go. It was the cinnamon on top that got me! Sounds yummy and really nicely written blog post.

  51. worldinform says:

    It sounds good and looks good. But can you please tell me that whether it is a hot drink or cold drink

  52. I wanna try this 🙂 Hopefully, soon. Thanks for sharing.

  53. […] It has been a hot summer in Buffalo. One of the hottest that I personally can recall. We've been traveling a ton and trying to enjoy every last-minute of the heat and sun while we are in town. We don't leave again for another month so we hope to get the bikes out a few times, head to the beach and maybe even squeeze in some hiking or camping or something. Now that we are working from home, we really want to take advantage of the summer months whi … Read More […]

  54. elliotwade says:

    I definitely look forward to browsing through the different categories and recipes. It’s always great to come across others who are so passionate about food as oneself.

  55. kat says:

    love this! 🙂

  56. I’m a Puerto Rican living in Spain who’s definitely in love with the popular Spanish horchata de chufa. http://spanishfood.about.com/od/spanishfoodfaqs/f/horcatadechufa.htm
    This one looks like it’s every bit as delicious as the Spanish one. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being FB!

  57. Thank you for the post! I just had a wonderful glass of horchata in Magog, Quebec. My friend makes it, too. I was hoping to find a recipe…so here it is! Lisa

  58. Cinderella says:

    Hi! Ehem… I hope you don’t mind but I’m “valenciana” (from Valencia, where the Horchata is from) and… I don’t know how to say this but… the recipe you gave in this post, isn’t from the Horchata. This recipe is from the Leche Merengada. 😛 The “horchata” is made from the chufa (Cyperus esculentus; a brown root, typical in Valencia). To make Horchata you need chufas, water and sugar.
    Kind regards from Spain!

  59. Cinderella says:

    PS: and when you use rice in the recipe, it is Arroz con Leche, a typical desert in Spain.

    – Horchata: chufas, water and sugar
    – Leche merengada: cinnamon sticks, strips of lime zest, sugar and milk (you can also use a bit water, but the milk is important!)
    – Arroz con leche: same recipe as “leche merengada” + rice

  60. I work with Latino college students in California, and they introduced me to horchata. It is one of my favorites now. Thanks for posting a new recipe for us to try.

  61. Great recipe & blog post! I lived in Spain for a year and never tried Horchata but knew a few people who really loved it. Maybe I’ll give it a go!
    Thanks! And well done on Freshly Pressed 🙂 definitely subscribing x

  62. neerajpro says:

    the name is only so unique…………..realy want to taste it

  63. All I have to say is oh my blog!! It’s tasty and no fat :O winner!

  64. Gosh, this sounds interesting and I will certainly try your recipe.

  65. joyce says:

    I never try Horchata. Thank you for your post. I think I will try .

  66. I love it 🙂

  67. Jen Letts says:

    I’ll take mine with rum, thanks!

  68. Charlie says:

    Why don´t you try iced horchata with iced coffe.

    How do you prepare? It´s simple. Just put black coffe (with a lot of sugar) and horchata in your freezer (separeted in two recipients of course).

    Take them out from the freezer, Just wait for few minutes and later break the ice with a spoon or a not sharped knife. Finally mix both or just serve one of them in a cup.

    You can enjoy it at same time It´s melting.

  69. Great recipe, I always wanted to try a Horchata recipe – thank you for sharing!

  70. TL says:

    I can’t even describe to you how much I LOVE horchata. It is my favorite drink ever. Now I want one for lunch!!! Thanks so much! I’ll definitely try your recipe. It looks absolutely delicious. Great post.

  71. I am definitely going to have to try this one out!!

  72. trialsinfood says:

    looks yummy!

  73. Cleo says:

    Tried the receipe and loved it! Can’t wait for you to post more recipes!!

  74. I love horchata and I wish my mom knew how to make it. She only knows how to make agua de Jamaica which I do not like as much as horchata.

  75. TravelMex says:

    In August, drinking horchata…

  76. seems to be delicious 🙂

  77. Great recipe! I love horchata. I haven’t had it in ages and really didn’t think to make it at home, but now I will have to! Thanks for sharing!


  78. mmm yummy

  79. I discovered this drink about ten years ago. This drink is so good!

  80. ncc19825 says:

    Felicidades! se ve muy bien! if you like mexican food you should really try menudo, pozole, birria… this kind of food it´s great…and with a really cold beer even more! 😉

  81. I made Horchata earlier this week and love it! I’ll have to try your recipe also. I put Horchata in my Chai Tea and it was yummy! And, I used NuStevia as a sweetner with good results. Very refreshing. : )
    Thanks for sharing!

  82. Ever since I heard the Vampire Weekend song “Horchata” I’ve been curious about it. I found out it was a drink, and decided to stop at a family owned fancy little burrito shop. So i tried my first horchata, I didn’t have it in December so I didn’t quite feel like vampire weekend…I fell inlove with the drink. I’m looking forward to using your recipe next week.

  83. Perfect timing to find this! I have just recently taken up cooking and I LOVE horchata!! Homemade is always the best and I’ll definitely be trying it with a shot of rum. Thanks!

  84. pryan51 says:

    Hope you were in California at least part of your trip and had a chance to enjoy some real Mexican food. The best Horchata I’ve tasted so far was at Senor Fresh in Modesto. GREAT food!

  85. I’ve never had Horchata before, but this definitely makes me want to try it! 🙂

  86. Y8 says:

    thanks for your sharing, cooking and recipes that is great for those who d…

  87. kvennarad says:

    I am now salivating. Thank you. However as soon as I saw you were in Buffalo I couldn’t resist leaving a comment to ask if the Ee-ry-ee is rising and if the gin was (in inverse proprotion) getting low. Oh boy I bet you’ve never been asked THAT before!

    Greetings from Scotland.


  88. aryatny says:

    ughhhhh i love hortchata! glad you had a great tasting one! enjoy!

  89. ennospace says:

    I have never tried Horchata before but it looks so amazing, and it seems easy to make a drink for summer, great idea!

  90. lanpto says:

    you were in California at least part of your trip and had a chance to enjoy some real Mexican food. The best

  91. Taantraa says:

    Hmmmmm that’s interesting for an Indian. Drink made out of rice. I thought only Sonti was made with it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  92. whatsaysyou says:

    This looks yummy!

  93. Valentine says:

    Yum – love this drink, and add a little bourbon you have an great adult beverage.

  94. anissette says:

    Horchata… the best drink ever in all across Latin America and Spain and France and Italy and Germany ! (:

  95. I have tried it yesterday. It’s sooooooo good! Thank you!

  96. Rafael says:

    Nice post, mate! However I can’t help being patriotic here. Horchata is not a Mexican beverage, is actually Spanish, from the Mediterranean coast to be precise. Here is very popular specially in summer, when we have it with “fartons” (fartó, in valencian) in the evening.

  97. sayter13 says:

    man Horchata is one them drinks that ones you have some you will always want more. I love the pics. Thanks for the recipe as well!!!

  98. charlywalker says:


    Looks Lovely.

    spread the humor:chalrywalker.wordpress.com

  99. Jack says:

    its nice dish…

  100. Yumolo says:

    Wow this is inspiring!Your post just made me hungry. I really enjoyed your post .Love the photographs and your story!Thank you for sharing that.

  101. aubrey says:

    I have never seen, heard and tasted Horchata before but looking at this makes me want to try it even though it’s not yet summer here.

  102. Thanks for the recipe! I always wanted to know what Horchata was.

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