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I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holidays than with a festive beverage. My friend Johnny Hernandez is the chef-owner of several great restaurants in San Antonio, including The Fruteria. The Fruteria is inspired by Mexico’s beautiful and colorful fruit stands, so the emphasis is on freshness. Here, Johnny shares a favorite recipe for horchata, the creamy, comforting Mexican drink made by steeping rice in water. It’s simple to make, incredibly refreshing to drink, and the fragrant cinnamon and orange flavors make it perfect for the holidays. Cheers to a great season!
1 cup sugar
8 cups water
2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 Mexican cinnamon stick (approx. 3 inches long)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange, plus additional orange for garnish
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
1. Combine sugar and water in a large, sealable container or pitcher and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rice and cinnamon stick and refrigerate overnight.
2. The following day, remove the container from the refrigerator and stir in the vanilla and orange zest and juice.
3. Transfer the liquid mixture to a blender and process to a fine purée. (You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender.) Strain the purée through a fine sieve.
4. Serve the horchata over ice in glasses garnished with orange wheels or slices and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Servings: 9. Serving size: 8 ounces. Per serving: 93 calories, 0.11 g protein, 0.01 g fat, 23.91 g carbohydrates, 0.11 g dietary fiber, 8 mg sodium, 23.37 g sugars, 0 mg cholesterol
Use a Mexican cinnamon stick because it grinds up more easily in the blender.