It didn’t occur to me until I made horchata for the first time that this refreshing beverage is basically flavored rice milk. Say rice milk and I feel like snoozing, but say horchata and I’m ready for a good time!
So I know what you’re thinking–that I’m going to toast the rice itself before whipping up this horchata. Nope! The way I infuse a toasty essence into this drink is by simply throwing a few Genmaicha tea bags into the rice soak. Just that easy.
Genmaicha, or Japanese toasted brown rice tea, adds a roasty, nutty taste to the milk. When you drink this Toasted Rice Horchata, you won’t know that you’re drinking tea– you’ll just notice that the beverage has a wonderful taste and aroma, and that it has extra depth in flavor.
My sweeteners of choice for horchata are either agave or regular sugar. An overly sweetened horchata can be unpleasant, so start with a quarter cup and only add more if you need to. The brand of almond milk you use will also influence how much sugar to add.
I like to give this Toasted Rice Horchata a quick zip in the blender just before serving. The creamy, slightly chalky texture of the milk holds a beautifully foamy top over which you can generously sprinkle some extra cinnamon. Try the tea-inspired version of this traditional Mexican drink and you may never go back to the original recipe again!
Makes 1 large pitcher.
1 cup long grain rice, washed
4 cups water
4 Genmaicha tea bags
2 cups almond milk
1/3 cup agave, or to taste
1 Tbsp cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1. In a large bowl, combine the rice, water and tea bags. Allow this to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight at room temp.
2. Remove the tea bags, then transfer the mixture to a blender. Blend on high for a few minutes until it looks like milk. Pour the mixture through a strainer layered with several pieces of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and into a large pitcher.
3. Add the almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste to the milk and mix them in well with a wire whisk or in the blender until frothy. Serve chilled or over ice.