If you’ve never made horchata before, its a pretty simple recipe with a lot of waiting in-between steps. The steps go like this: blend uncooked rice and cinnamon in blender until finely chopped. Add a few cups of water and sit in fridge overnight. Strain mix through cheesecloth to remove goop. Add milk/vanilla/sugar/spices/whatever your family/regional specialty is. Toss in some ice cubes (and perhaps some rum!) and serve.
My version is made from leftover (already cooked) brown rice, and the flavor stays just as true to most original versions. The sweet milkiness really compliments a super-spicy Mexican or Latin-American dish. Mixed with espresso or rum is also fantastic.
This specific recipe is more of a concentrate, because I like to maintain a stronger flavor when I use it as a baking substitute. It can be used for anything you can possibly imagine: banana bread, pancakes, or pretty much any baked good that requires milk. If you like really sweet horchata then just add ice cubes and a dash of cinnamon, and its the real deal. If you prefer a subtler drink, serve 2 parts concentrate and 1 part milk.
1 1/2 C cooked brown rice
1 T ground cinnamon
4 C water
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C white sugar
Pulse rice, cinnamon, and 1/4 C water in a food processor until rice looks more like mush than rice. Transfer mixture to a pitcher or large bowl. Add remaining 3 3/4 C water. Let mixture sit in refrigerator overnight. 12 hours is ideal, but 6 hours works just fine, too.
Pour mix through cheesecloth or strainer; there should be a gloopy mix that remains behind. It may take 5-10 minutes to entirely separate the liquid, depending on your straining method. Discard the gloopy mix or make horchata cookies with it!
Add vanilla, sugar, and evaporated milk. Stir until most of the sugar dissolves. Serve with rum, espresso, or use as a substitute for milk in your favorite baking dish. If you prefer a milder flavor, serve 2 parts horchata, 1 part milk.