Mexican Horchata

     I’ve gotta be honest and tell you that the only reason I’ve ever been interested in making horchata is due to my love of the Vampire Weekend song by the same name. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard of it before- I hadn’t either. But once I did, I started noticing it everywhere- on Pinterest, in cooking magazines, and even in Golden Corral. 
     If you’ve never tried this before, I would highly recommend branching out and making yourself a batch. Preparing it involves some fun and unique processes- and a fair bit of patience. Don’t worry though, the end result is pretty astounding. 
     There are countless variations to this Latin American beverage. This recipe is loosely based off of Emeril Lagasse’s version. You only need a few simple ingredients, a blender, and some cheesecloth. Oh yeah, and a little patience, but we’ll get to that later. 

-8 Tablespoons Long-grain White Rice
-1 Cup Almonds
-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon + More for Garnish 
-1 Tablespoon Lime Zest
-3/4 Cup Sugar 
-1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract 

1. First, you need to blanch your almonds. Sure, you can buy them like this already, but it’s much more cost-effective to do it yourself, and it seriously couldn’t be much easier. Simply boil some water, and throw your almonds in for exactly 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water, and then pinch the skin off of each almond. Be careful not to send them flying across your kitchen. 
2. Blend your rice in a blender or food processor. Here’s where you’ll need to exercise some patience. The more finely you blend the rice, the smoother your horchata will be. This can take a long time. I’m talking, 10-15 minutes of vigorous, “ice-crush” setting, blending. But you can do it. You might want to give your blender little breaks every few minutes. 
3. Once your rice is blended into a fine powder, transfer to a pitcher and add almonds, cinnamon and lime zest. Add 3 cups of hot, but not boiling, water. 
4. Cover, and let sit overnight. 
5. The next morning, throw your mixture in the blender and blend until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. 
6. Add 2 cups of cold water, and blend again, until fully combined. 
7. Layer your strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. 
8. Carefully pour your mixture in slowly, stirring as needed, to extract all of the liquid. 
9. Transfer back to pitcher, adding sugar and vanilla extract. Stir well. 
10. Refrigerate to chill. 

     Serve this with your favorite Mexican dish, as dessert, or even a refreshing drink over ice on a hot summer day. And if you haven’t heard it already, go listen to “Horchata” by Vampire Weekend. 

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