Vegan Friday: Horchata

Horchata in a wine glass. That's how we roll.
Horchata in a wine glass. That’s how we roll.

I think by this point, we have long since established my fondness for Mexican food. Pretty much everything I cook around here is either Mexican or Italian. The latter comes from growing up in Herrin, Illinois, where everybody is Italian but me. The former comes from developing a taste for hot sauce at age 4 and never outgrowing it, I think.

Anyway, in my travels in the Southwest, I’ve come to appreciate horchata. Good horchata is hard to come by in Southeast Missouri. We had a little taqueria in town that served it, but it closed a few weeks after it opened — a bit too authentic for the gringo palates around here, I guess — and the stuff you get at the Mexican grocery store invariably contains aspartame, which tastes nasty.

I finally got tired of driving all the way to Carbondale to buy horchata at the Neighborhood Co-Op and decided to make my own.

I started by reading this Nosh On It post about the various methods of making horchata, then — in my usual fashion — figured out an easier (read: lazier) approach.

Ingredients:
1 c. sliced almonds (I buy mine in bulk at the health-food store)
1/3 c. white rice
Generous pinch or two of ground cinnamon
Water
Simple syrup to taste (mix a cup of sugar with a half-cup of water and nuke until sugar dissolves)

You know my entire kitchen revolves around Mason jars.
You know my entire kitchen revolves around Mason jars.

Put the almonds, rice and cinnamon in a standard (not wide-mouth) quart Mason jar, screw on the blade assembly from your blender, and process to a fine powder.

Pulverize the nuts, rice and cinnamon together in the blender.
Pulverize the nuts, rice and cinnamon together in the blender.

Fill the jar with hot water, put the lid on the jar and let stand overnight.

Mix with water and let it sit overnight.
Mix with water and let it sit overnight.

Put the blades back on the blender and give it another good whirl until it’s smooth. Strain through fine cheesecloth or a permanent coffee filter. Divide the resulting liquid between two quart jars, add another cup of water to each jar, and sweeten with simple syrup to taste. (Don’t get carried away with the syrup; you can always add more, but you can’t undo it if you make it too sweet.)

Blend again and strain.
Blend again and strain.

Chill and serve with your favorite Mexican meal.

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