Tuesday, May 31, 2011


In Mexico, you can find "aguas frescas" for sale. Now, I'm not necessarily going to advocate buying it on the street from a random vendor due to the possibility of Montezuma's Revenge, but if you looked, you could probably find it made with bottled or purified water.

Aguas frescas are a combination of fresh fruit, water, and sugar. I suppose you could say they're sort of like lemonade, but different.
Watermelon, cucumber, pineapple, mango...

Tamarindo is one that I remember in particular, probably because it was so different. Made with the sour, thickly sticky pulp from brown tamarind pods, it was something I had never had before.

Although not made with fruit, horchata is a type of agua fresca.
Here in the U.S., I'm going to assume we mostly have a Mexican version, but it's actually made in many places other than Mexico.

Depending on where it's made, it can be made with nuts, seeds, or rice.
This particular version is a creamy and light homemade combination rice and almond milk.
Horchata is not too heavy, sweet, flavorful, and very refreshing when served ice cold in the summertime.

serves 8

1/2 c white rice
1 1/4 c blanched almonds
1, 2 inch stick cinnamon
Zest of one lime
1 c sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 t vanilla
7-8 c water, divided
Ground cinnamon, for serving

Place rice in a blender and blend until finely ground (some will be powdered, some will probably be in little pieces). In a large bowl or measuring cup, place pulverized rice, almonds, cinnamon, and lime zest. Add 3 c boiling water, stir, and leave out at room temperature 30 minutes to cool a bit before placing in the refrigerator overnight.

Blend the rice and almond mixture in a blender until smooth (this will take several minutes).
Add two cups cold water and blend until incorporated (depending on the size of your blender, you may need to divide the previous mixture in half and blend two separate times, adding only one cup of water to each half).

Place a strainer over a large bowl, pitcher, or measuring cup. Line the strainer with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth. Pour the almond mixture through the cheesecloth, stirring, scraping, and pressing the mixture against the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour in 2 cups cold water and stir to combine. Add additional water as needed for desired consistency.
Refrigerate until needed.

Serve horchata cold with a dash of cinnamon on top and ice cubes if desired.
Store in the refrigerator and stir before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this recipe----my daughter just made this libation and it was SO good.
    It is a fun treat to have on a hot day. YUM