(WWTI) – This milky drink is simply satisfying, it’s National Horchata Day.
Horchata is a current trend in the U.S. –and although many believe its roots are Mexican — in actuality, it originates from West Africa — present-day Nigeria and Mali — where it was and still is popularly known as ‘kuunu aya.’ The drink dates to about 2,400 B.C. and it is speculated that during the Muslim conquest, the Moors brought it to Spain.
In the 11th century, the drink spread throughout Spain and Portugal eventually getting its modern name ‘horchata’ in Valencia, meaning “drink made from barley.”
However, there’s a humorous version of how the drink got its name. In the 13th century, King James of Aragon was offered the drink by a little girl and upon tasting it he looked at her and asked what it was. The young girl replied, it was chufa milk to which his reply was:
In this version of the tale horchata loosely translates to “Gold Girl” however this story has never been confirmed, so believe it with a pinch of salt.
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
- 2 (3″) cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving
- 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk or 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 2 cups whole milk or almond milk
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Condensed milk, simple syrup, or agave, for serving
- In a fine-mesh strainer, run cold water over rice until water runs mostly clear, about 15 seconds. Transfer rice to a blender. Add almonds (if using), cinnamon sticks, and 3 cups filtered water and blend until rice is broken down but not totally pulverized about 30 seconds. Transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.
- Return the rice mixture to a blender and blend until rice and almonds are pulverized about 60 seconds.
- In a large bowl, lay cheesecloth in a single layer (do not use 2 layers of cheesecloth). Pour rice milk through a fine-mesh strainer into cheesecloth, pressing on the pulp with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible. Discard rice and pulp. Gather corners of cloth and work milk through the fibers, massaging to move around ground rice. (If you don’t mind a bit of sediment in your drink, this can be done without cheesecloth by pouring the mixture directly into a strainer.)
- Add evaporated milk, whole milk, ground cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and 4 cups filtered water and whisk until combined. Taste and add condensed milk 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until sweetened to your liking.
- Spoon or pour horchata into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon.
Happy National Horchata Day!