Early spring in Oklahoma has us caught in a quagmire of three different seasons. It’s still winter some days with frigid nights and gray days. It’s classic spring with trees flowering and tornado threats, and then it turns around and can be early summer with highs in the higher 80’s and home air conditioners kicking on.
Today was a mix of later winter and full on spring; cold, windy, gray morning, followed up with humid, warm , and “chance of golfball sized hail and tornado warning” afternoon.
That’s the perfect kind of day of homemade horchata for me. It’s also non dairy and uses agave nectar for sweetness… OK for those who do not like to consume processed white sugar.
1 cup brown “basmati” rice (any brown rice will work)
1 1/2 cups blanched slivered almonds
2 cinnamon sticks (about 3” each)
1/2 vanilla bean split
3 cups (24 ounces) unsweetened almond milk
3 cupshot water
3/4 dark agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- In a large mixing bowl combine the brown rice, almonds, vanilla bean and split vanilla bean. Pour in the hot water. Let the mixture cool, wrap the top in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge over night.
- The next day, pluck out the vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla bean caviar. Add to the mix, and discard the spent bean. Pour the ingredients in a blender, including the cinnamon sticks, a cup at a time. Blend on high until smooth. Add another cup and keep blending ( With the blender not running. If you do not understand why you should not be running the blender at this time, then get out of the kitchen. Go on now… GET!) Add 1 cup of the almond milk and continue bending. If your blender is getting too full, pour the entire blended contents into a separate bowl and continue blending the remaining un-blended ingredients along with the agave nectar and 1 more cup of the almond milk.
- Place a large metal “chinois”/china cap, or fairly fine mesh strainer over a bowl, and line it with cheesecloth. A little at a time pour in the blended puree and move around with a spoon or spatula to release the liquid. Press down on the pulp with the spatula or spoon. Lift the cheese cloth up and twist the top into a satchel. Squeeze out as much of the horchata milk that you can. Discard the pulp and continue if there is more to be strained and squeezed.
- Once you have drained and squeezed all of the horchata that you can, add a pinch of salt and taste for flavor.
- Pour the horchata in a large pitcher and add the last cup of almond milk. Adjust the sweetness if needed by adding more agave nectar.
- To serve pour into iced glasses. If you’re wanting a more “adult” version, or Rum-Chata, add a shot or two of dark rum into the glasses, then pour in the horchata. To take it one step further down the rabbit hole, I contacted "shot connoisseur" Bret Streetman. Blend Rumchata along with Fireball "liqueur" to produce a Cinnamon Toast Crunch shot. You're welcome and thanks, Bret!