People generally associate rice with salty dishes like paella, red rice, risotto, or even with desserts such as mochis or rice pudding. Only a few people know that rice can be also used as the main ingredient for drinks, not only alcoholic beverages or spirits but sweet and refreshing ones.

Rice is well-known for being the staple food for most houses worldwide, so there is no surprise people use it for making beverages. Horchata, chicha, masato, and semilla are some drinks made with rice.

  • Horchata is a popular drink in Mexico.
  • Chicha de Arroz is a creamy drink prepared in most South American countries with variations in each region.
  • Masato is a Colombian creamy rice drink.
  • Semilla is a traditional Nicaraguan drink made with rice and jicaro seeds.

A delicious drink called Horchata


Some of these rice drinks are consumed as a dessert, snack, or even breakfast since they are very creamy and tend to be very filling. You can drink one glass of chicha, Masato, or Semilla, and you will feel full for several hours.

Horchata has a different result. This Mexican drink’s distinctive signature is its freshness; it perfectly pairs with any meal during the day. It is also known as Aguas Frescas (fresh waters), and in most Mexican restaurants is part of the accompaniment drinks on their menu.

Horchata is a beverage made with rice, water, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. In Mexico, each region has its version of this cooling drink; some people add different herbs, spices, fruits, and even flowers.

A bit of history

Mexican Horchata is said to be a variation of an African beverage that was brought first to Spain during the Muslim conquest. Then, due to Spanish colonization, it was spread to other countries, including Mexico.

In Spain, it is called Horchata de Chufa and is made of dried and ground chufa (tiger nuts), water, sugar, and lemon juice. It is served with ice in the summertime.

In Mexico, Horchata is prepared with rice instead of tiger nuts, and it is drunk all over the year at any time of the day, particularly in the hotter moments of the day. It is also considered the best pairing for most spicy and flavored Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, Cochinita pibil, or rice with mole poblano.

The authentic Mexican rice-based drink

Base ingredients of an authentic Horchata are rice soaked overnight, water, sugar, and flavorings like cinnamon and vanilla. Every region has its version with different spices, herbs, fruits, and cooking techniques.

For instance, in Oaxaca, Horchata is prepared with rice soaked in water and cinnamon sticks and served with chopped walnuts, melon, and prickly pear ice cream.

authentic Horchata

In Campeche, this rice beverage is made by toasting rice and cinnamon in a skillet. Then, rice is blended to form a fine powder. Water and sugar are added and then blended again.

Preparing this refreshing beverage

Like most traditional Mexican dishes, preparing Horchata has its special method passed through generations. The ideal preparation would be very easy and fast, just taking a cup of rice, adding water, sugar, cinnamon and that is.

But if you want to taste an authentic Horchata, you must follow certain rules, and take some time to prepare it. When you get familiar with the entire process, you can take some shortcuts for getting the same flavor and texture, like soaking it for a shorter time.

Let’s make a genuine Horchata from scratch.

Mexican Horchata

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 3 cups of hot water for soaking.
  • 1 cup of white rice.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • ¾ cup of sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • 3 cups of water for finishing the drink.
  • Ground cinnamon for serving.
  • Ice cubes for serving.

Horchata Preparation


  1. Place hot water, rice, cinnamon stick, and salt in a big bowl. Soak this preparation overnight.
  2. In a blender, pour soaked ingredients and blend for 5 minutes or until getting a washy mixture.
  3. Strain the resulting mixture with a sieve or fine mesh strainer.
  4. Add sugar, vanilla extract, and extra water.
  5. Serve with ice cubes and ground cinnamon on the top.

If you want a creamy Horchata, you can add whole milk, condensed milk, or evaporated milk instead of the extra water at the end.

You can also incorporate almonds in the soaking mixture for getting a nutty flavor.

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