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Food

The best horchata is made with Mexican-grown rice

Morelos rice horchata
Morelos rice horchata, a classic recipe made with Mexican-grown short-grain rice.
(Camily Tsai / For The Times)

This recipe is inspired by the fragrant short-grain rice from Morelos, Mexico. Starting from that ingredient, I only add the essentials: filtered water, canela and piloncillo (although, if you want an even more floral horchata, use honey from the Yucatán). A pinch of sea salt brings out more of the rice’s aroma, as well. This recipe is meant to serve as a basic, universal recipe from which you can spin off your own tastes. If you’d like extra richness, try out any of the nut variations, below (macadamia makes the richest-tasting horchata), or what I’m calling the L.A.-style variation, which replaces half the water used with evaporated milk.

All-Clad’s three-piece stainless steel strainer set makes easy work of straining rice water for silky smooth horchata.

Morelos Rice Horchata

10 minutes, plus overnight soaking. Makes 7 cups.

Ingredients

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  • 4 cups short-grain white rice from Morelos, or jasmine rice
  • 2 sticks canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • ⅔ cup grated or finely chopped piloncillo (4 ounces) or packed dark brown sugar, or honey, plus more to taste
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree on high for 30 seconds to break up the rice. Turn off the blender and refrigerate the mixture in the blender overnight, or at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, re-blend the mixture. Pour it through a fine mesh strainer then pour it through a layer of cheesecloth to remove any remaining sediment. Taste and add more sugar, if you like. Serve the horchata over ice.

Variations
Macadamia/cashew/almond
Replace 2 cups of the rice with 2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts, cashews, or blanched almonds.

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L.A.-style
Replace 4 cups of the water with 4 cups canned evaporated milk.

Spanish-style
Replace the rice with 4 cups tigernuts (you can purchase them online).


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