Rice and Cinnamon Drink

Agua de Horchata


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 5 cups

Appears in

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Muy Bueno

By Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Published 2013

  • About

Horchata is a drink made primarily with rice and spices. Although it is white in color and creamy, it usually does not contain milk. My children and grandchildren love this very old, traditional drink. If I don’t have time to make it when they come to visit I know we can always buy some at a Mexican restaurant or a Latin grocery store. In Spain horchata is made with chufa (tiger nut) but in Mexico it’s made with rice. Most Latin families that make it have their own special twists.

My niece Georgina shared her recipe with me, and I gave it a few tweaks (using simple syrup instead of granulated sugar and pulverizing the rice beforehand to eliminate chalky sediment and a gritty taste). Grinding the rice also helps thicken the drink.


  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups medium simple syrup


In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulverize the rice so it is the consistency of ground coffee.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat; add ground rice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cover and let soak for 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.

After soaking, break the cinnamon stick in half, and place the rice mixture in a blender. Puree for 2 to 3 minutes.

Strain the liquid by pouring it into a fine strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth set over a pitcher. Squeeze out any excess liquid into the pitcher and discard the solids.

Stir in the vanilla and medium simple syrup. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Stir before pouring into glasses and serve over ice.