Horchata is the beverage superstar in refrigerated cases and local cocktail hotspots around the nation. But not many people know how to make it from scratch.
What is horchata?
Horchata is a creamy, sweetened rice beverage that is served chilled, usually at mid-day meals or as a snack. Cool refreshing beverages made from starchy ingredients have been around for a long time since the days of the Roman Empire. In fact, many believe that the word horchata comes from the Roman word hordeum, which means grain. Oats, wheat, rice, and barley can be boiled to extract their starch, and with added water, ice and a sweetener, make a delightful filling summer beverage.
Mexican style horchata is traditionally made with white rice, which as an added bonus makes it incredibly inexpensive. Add a little bit of tropical fruit, and you have a great basis for a summertime cocktail.
Variations are Delicious!
Adding other fruit is definitely an option: try adding a cup of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or even a ¼ cup of coconut to change up this poolside sipper.
And sample your horchata before adding any sugar. You might find that sweet summertime fruits add enough sugar on their own. You can always substitute agave syrup, artificial sweetener, or honey for refined sugar.
Buy a Good Quality Rum
Select a dark rum for this horchata cocktail, as the caramelized overtones of the rum’s main ingredient sugarcane adds just a hint more flavor. You could even use a spiced rum if you prefer. Making this horchata as a cocktail is what this recipe calls for, but leaving out the rum is fine too.
Also, make your horchata a day in advance so it has time to cool and thicken. Having a ready-made beverage in the fridge waiting for you gives you a head start on the relaxing.
Rum Mango Horchata Recipe
- ¼ cup uncooked rice
- 2 quarts water
- 1 pound fresh mangoes, peeled with seeds removed
- ¾ cup sugar, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup dark rum, or to taste (optional)
- Lime wedges
Place the rice and water in a 3 quart saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmering, and cover. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow the pan to cool completely.
Add the fresh mangoes to the rice water, and purée until very smooth using an immersion blender (or you can blend in a regular blender as well.) Add the cinnamon and sugar, and blend for 2 to 3 seconds to combine well.
Pour the mixture into a pitcher, cover, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Stir in the rum right before serving. Serve with lime wedges.
Makes 4-6 servings