In Mexico and other parts of the world, tasty drinks called aguas frescas often accompany meals. Spanish for “cool waters’ aguas frescas are refreshing non-alcoholic drinks made from fruits, grains, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water. Horchatas, also called aguas de horchata are made with rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. A great balance for spicy foods, enjoy this served over ice.
1⁄3 cup long grain rice
1 piece Mexican cinnamon, 1-inch
2 strips lime (1-inch) or lemon zest plus grated lime zest, for garnish
1 cup whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups water
Pulverize the rice in a blender or spice grinder until it has a flour-like texture. Set aside in a bowl.
Add cinnamon, lime zest, and almonds to the pulverized rice. Add 2 cups of water and stir. Cover and let the mixture sit overnight.
The next day, blend mixture in a blender until smooth. Add 2 cups of water and mix.
Strain into a pitcher using a sieve. Stir in sugar and vanilla.
Serve over ice and garnish with lime zest.