The first time I tried horchata, I thought I was drinking melted vanilla ice cream over ice. That's pretty much what it tastes like! Creamy, very sweet, and loaded with vanilla flavor. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was no actual dairy in it! Traditional horchata is made pretty similarly to rice or almond milk.
I've played around a bit with making my own horchata, and my favorite version follows the traditional formula, but has one not-so-traditional addition: coconut milk! The addition of some coconut milk gives you a horchata that's extra rich and creamy, so it kind of tastes like extra rich and creamy melted vanilla ice cream, but it's still totally vegan.
To make this extra rich and creamy vegan horchata, just soak some rice and a cinnamon stick in water for a bit, then blend and strain. The coconut milk gets added at the end, along with a nice dose of vanilla extract. I sweetened up my coconut horchata with maple syrup because (1) as a liquid sweetener it's easy to stir in, and (2) not all granulated sugar is vegan, and I wanted to keep my horchata vegan.
I recommend serving this horchata right away after you make it. If you store it in the fridge, it will separate, which isn't a huge deal—you can easily stir it up again, but for the best flavor and freshness, definitely drink up within a day or two.
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 medium about 3 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 cups water plus extra for soaking
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
- Place the rice and cinnamon stick into a bowl and cover with a few inches of water. Allow to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Drain the excess water, and then transfer the rice and cinnamon stick to a blender. Add 2 cups of water. Blend until the rice is very finely ground and the liquid is a milky color.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or large-mouthed pitcher. Stir in the coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. You can thin the mixture with some additional water and/or coconut milk, if you like.
- Divide ice cubes among glasses and pour the horchata over the ices. Sprinkle each glass with some ground cinnamon, and serve.