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Horchata recipes range widely, but the basic horchata recipe is a rice-based beverage with cinnamon and vanilla flavors that is found in Spain as well as many Latin American countries. Horchata is incredibly refreshing and a great pairing for spicy food – you can buy it premixed, but starting from scratch makes a huge difference. These 9 recipes are worth trying out if you’re on the prowl for the best horchata you can find.
1. Classic Horchata
Although it looks like a milky iced drink, most horchata drinks are actually dairy-free and this version is flavored with lime juice, lime zest, cinnamon, and sugar. Be sure to make this in advance to allow the ingredients to soak overnight. Get our Horchata recipe.
2. Horchata Ice Cream
The flavors in a traditional horchata recipe are begging to be made into a luscious and creamy ice cream flavor. You can embellish with chocolate chips, candied ginger, or even cookie crumbs to add another layer of delicious, but the sweetened condensed milk makes sure this is a kid-friendly recipe that any dessert-lover will need to add to their list. Get the recipe here.
3. Horchata Latte
If you love lattes, a horchata latte is a no-brainer. Take a shot (or two) of espresso and top with homemade horchata. Add simple syrup to taste if your drink isn’t sweet enough and don’t forget to use plenty of ice. Get the recipe here.
4. Horchata de Moras
A nontraditional take on horchata, this rendition from Saveur is made with white rice and whatever mixed berries are in season at the time. The color will range from purple to red to blue depending on the berries you use – you can also use frozen fruit, we won’t tell anyone. Get the recipe here.
5. Squirrel Horchata
CHOW’s recipe for a Squirrel Horchata (with a nut-flavored liqueur) is an easy summer basic that most people will be intrigued by, as it isn’t on many bar menus. Mix your favorite horchata together and add dark rum and some Frangelico (a hazelnut and herb-flavored Italian liqueur) for a delicious iced treat. Get our Squirrel Horchata recipe.
6. Brown Rice Horchata
A more nutritious take on horchata, this recipe uses brown rice and agave nectar (instead of sugar). Be sure to use significantly less agave nectar because it is much sweeter than sugar and can be overwhelming in large quantities. Get the recipe here.
7. Milk Horchata
Although traditional horchata is made with water, this recipe has three full cups of milk (that makes it extra creamy), vanilla extract, and rice flour. Blend the ingredients together with ice for an immediately refreshing drink you can have on the table in minutes. Get the recipe here.
8. Horchata Smoothie
If you like horchata, than you’ll be head-over-heels for this horchata smoothie. Blend homemade horchata, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, ice cream, and ice together in a blender until smooth. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon and you have a delightful dessert that is reminiscent of your favorite Latin American beverage. Get the recipe here.
9. Vanilla Rumchata Milkshake
It was only a matter of time before you decided to take your love for horchata to the next level and this vanilla rumchata milkshake is an indulgent and irresistible shortcut. You can use homemade horchata but if you’re in a hurry rumchata (the packaged horchata liqueur with rum already in it) is a great way to save time and is tasty as it is fun to pronounce. Get the recipe here.
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.