Enjoy a cold glass of sweet, creamy horchata (“or-CHA-ta”) as a refreshing treat—or alongside your favorite Mexican food!
In large bowl, combine water, almonds, sugar, rice, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
Carefully pour almond mixture into blender. Place lid on top of blender and hold lid firmly in place with folded dish towel. Turn on blender and process until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds.
Pour strained almond liquid into pitcher. Add evaporated milk to pitcher and use rubber spatula to stir until well combined.
Horchata’s story begins more than 2,000 years ago in Ancient Rome, when people sipped on a drink made from a different grain: barley. (The word horchata has its roots in the Latin word for barley, hordeum.) Over time, different cultures in Western Europe and North Africa adapted this ancient recipe to use a variety of different grains and nuts, from almonds to sesame seeds to a vegetable called a chufa, or tiger nut.
In the 1500s, the beverage made its way to Mexico, where it became wildly popular. Today, households and restaurants across Mexico and Latin America make their own versions of creamy, refreshing horchata, though a classic combination includes rice, sugar, and cinnamon.