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6 tablespoons long grain white rice, uncooked and unwashed
6 ounces (about 1-1/4 cups) blanched almonds
1 cinnamon stick, about 1" long
2-1/2 cups hot tap water
3 strips lime zest (colored rind only), about 2" x 3/4"
4 cups cold water
1 cup granulated sugar (more or less to taste)

Cooking Instructions

Horchata or "rice water" is a popular sweet drink in Latin America and Spain. This recipe uses blanched almonds to add richness and body. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts

1. Soak the rice and almonds
In a blender or grinder, pulverize the rice. Transfer ground rice to a medium-sized bowl. Add the almonds, cinnamon stick and strips of lime zest. Stir in hot water. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or, preferably, overnight.

2. Blend and strain
Scoop the mixture into a blender jar and blend at high speed for 3 or 4 minutes or until no longer gritty. Add 2 cups of water and blend for another 5 to 10 seconds. Line a sieve with three layers of damp cheesecloth. Place sieve over a mixing bowl. Pour in the almond-rice mixture a little at a time. Gently stir the mixture to help the liquid pass through the cheesecloth and sieve. When you have strained all of the mixture, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist them together. Hold over the bowl and squeeze the cheesecloth to expel any remaining liquid.

3. Finish and serve

Stir in 2 cups of water and add sugar to taste. If the horchata is too thick, add more water. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Stir before serving. Serve over ice. Garnish with a sprinkle of powdered cinnamon, if desired. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts. Horchata will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator. For an adult version, add light rum or golden rum to taste.

Adapted from Horchata recipe by Rick Bayless in his cookbook, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico

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