In my travels into the world of non-alcoholic drinks I have discovered many strange and wonderful things. Anyway this is a drink that’s popular, in various forms, throughout Spain and Mexico. It originates from Valencia but I’m mostly looking at the Mexican version because I think it sounds more interesting.

It’s not a million miles away from almond milk. It’s basically either tiger nuts made into a sort of milk or, in Mexico rice made into a milky drink with cinnamon and some form of sweetener and maybe vanilla. It’s both comforting and refreshing. If you’re looking to buy some, you can get spanish horchata here or online here.

And if you’re interested in making you own, here’s a recipe:



8 tablespoons rice or tiger nuts

120g blanched almonds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 strips lime zest, colored part only

700ml hot water, plus 700ml cool water, divided

Sugar or agave nectar, to taste

1 tsp vanilla extract


Pulverise the rice or tiger nuts in a blender, food processor or spice grinder, the finer the better. Transfer to a large bowl or jug and add the almonds, cinnamon, and lime zest. Add the hot water, cover, and leave overnight.

The next day, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until mixture is as smooth as it will get, again taking your time to allow to get as smooth as possible. You might need to blend in batches. Add another 500ml of cold water and blend again. Pour mixture through a strainer lined with 3 layers of fine cheesecloth set over a bowl, little by little, pressing on solids and stirring to help mixture pass through the cloth. The more slowly you strain the mixture, the smoother the horchata will be. Transfer to a jug and add the rest of the water, until the mixture is a pleasant, smooth consistency. Add sugar and vanilla extract, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Serve cold over ice.


Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

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