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A drink flavored with rice and cinnamon may sound unusual, but in Mexico it’s common, and very popular. It’s easy to make, and refreshing in both cool and warm weather. BY ADAM RIED
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings

kitchen gear

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Pot or kettle
  • Blender (adult needed)
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth (if you have it)
  • Large bowl
  • 4 medium glasses


  • 1⁄2 cup white rice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • ice cubes


  • Put the rice, boiling water, and salt in the blender jar. Put the top on tightly and set aside (not in the refrigerator) for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Put the blender jar on the base, turn the blender to medium speed, and blend to begin breaking up the rice, about 30 seconds. Adjust the blender to high speed and blend until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it, 1–2 minutes.
  • Set the strainer over the bowl, line the strainer with cheesecloth (if using), and pour the mixture through the strainer. Discard or compost the rice from the strainer.
  • Return the strained liquid to the blender jar and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk. Put the top on tightly, turn the blender to medium speed, and blend until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
  • Pour the mixture into the glasses. Serve right away with ice cubes, or refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour, then reblend or stir well. Sprinkle each glass with cinnamon.


Two things to remember
  1. The rice has to soak in the water overnight, so start making the horchata the day before you want to drink it.
  2. Don’t skip the straining step, since this catches some tiny bits of rice that don’t break down completely in the blender. Just make sure your strainer is fine mesh, which means the holes are super, super small, allowing it to catch tiny bits of rice, or else line it with cheesecloth.
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