Blood Orange Winter Spritz
I'm here to get you off your January booze cleanse (You're welcome!)
Going to a party this weekend? Is it outdoors by chance? Then this is what I suggest bringing, because that is exactly what we did last weekend: make some horchata at home.
Horchata is a cool, refreshing Mexican beverage made of milk (or rice milk), cinnamon, rice and sugar. Not whole rice grains — calm down and read on. It can be consumed alone or spiked with rum (we left that up to the folks drinking it).
The inspiration came a few weeks ago Dave and I took the bus over to North Williams and had a really delicious dinner at the Cha Taqueria. I had a guava margarita with my dinner, and Dave had a glass of ice cold horchata. We ate on the patio and basked in the amazing weather, and the cool, cinnamony flavor was the perfect compliment to our spicy tacos. Then this past weekend Dave and I were invited to my friend’s home for a little fiesta, and we needed something to bring. She and I were brainstorming non-alcoholic options for the party when I remembered the horchata from a few weeks before.
It takes almost no active time to make this delicious beverage – you just have to plan for it at least a day in advance. You probably already have all of the ingredients at home, too. And this is how you make it. For one gallon, you will need:
2 cups white rice
9 cups warm water
One 2-inch (5cm) cinnamon stick
2 1/4 cup sugar
6 cups rice or regular milk – you can play with the ratios a bit here.
Take out your food processor and grind the rice – the recipe we used recommended the consistency of very coarse polenta. The point here is, you want a lot of surface area so the rice-y goodness locked inside the dry grains can get out.
Then put the ground-up rice in a big bowl that you don’t mind putting in the fridge overnight. Add the cinnamon stick and then pour the warm water over it. Cover and keep in the fridge overnight.
The next day, set up the container you’ll be keeping the finished product in with a funnel and a fine mesh strainer. Plug in your blender nearby – there will be a lot of liquid and you don’t want to have a lot of distance to transfer it over. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour some of the liquid from the fridge bowl and scoop some of the rice out into your blender in shifts – if you’re making a gallon, you’ll have to go in shifts. Puree in the blender to grind up the rice even more, and then transfer to your jug/pitcher/etc.
Finally, add the sugar and milk, and a hearty dose of cinnamon – for a gallon, I’d say we added a heaping teaspoon. Serve over ice or not – it’s delicious either way and somehow it keeps pretty cool on its own.