Boozy Horchata

My good friend, Erik, was born on the 4th of July, and every year we gather at my family's house with a bunch of friends & family and drink in his-- and America's-- honor. This year we decided to go with cuisine that is as American as any barbecue: Sopes, elote, chile, tres leches cake, pan dulce, and of course: Horchata. 

But isn't that Mexican food, Sara?

Yeah, I guess? But also: I've only ever eaten these things in America, often prepared by other Americans who cherish their family's heritage. What is our country if not a messy combination of disparate origin stories, and common hope for a more beautiful future? I like a grilled hotdog as much as the next person, but there's a whole lot of corn and beans in our country's past, too. 

Horchata is a tasty, cold, cinnamon-y rice & almond milk beverage often found in Mexican restaurants and markets. It's refreshing and sweet, and it's the perfect thing to have on hand during the summertime. 

Also: It works really well with booze. 

Now, I'm going to preface this "recipe" with a big old disclaimer: I cheated. I cheated big time. And I'm going to tell you to cheat, too, because the result was freaking delicious. You don't actually *need* to make this from scratch if you don't feel like it. Will you feel proud for taking the DIY approach? If you're that kinda person, maybe you will. But, honestly: If you aren't going to tell, I won't either. 

I made a batch 3x as large as the one I'm sharing here (yield was about 3 gallons), so this recipe is based off of math. Feel free to make adjustments to suit your taste. You might like things more/less boozy, or sweeter, or whatever. That's cool! Follow your tastebuds. 

Also, I'm sorry: My camera that takes the pretty pictures is currently out of commission. Trust me for now. I'll add photos someday. 


Boozy Horchata for a crowd

by Sara Galactica

Serves 10-12

In addition to being delicious, this punch also happens to be vegan and dairy-free (and gluten-free depending on the extracts you choose). 

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 gallon almond milk
  • 20 ounces rice milk/rice-only horchata 
  • 1/2-1 cup heavy simple syrup (use 2:1 sugar to water ratio)
  • 6 ounces rum (gold)
  • 6 ounces tequila (gold)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2-1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon to taste 

A couple of notes:

I used "original" flavor almond milk-- not unsweetened, but not sweetened all to hell, either. You can use whatever flavor you like, just make sure to add the simple syrup in small doses to get the sweetness right if you do get a sweetened/flavored one. 

I made rice-only horchata which was completely unsweetened. This is a good recipe for our purposes, but only go as far as straining the horchata if you follow the same path-- no need to add anything else after that. If you want to use store bought rice milk you won't get any judge-y side-eye from me. Just make sure you follow the notes above and take care with your sweetener if you use a rice milk that has sugar added. 

If you want to go full-on traditional and make the horchata itself from scratch, I recommend you start with this recipe by NoshOn.It. I haven't made this recipe, but after researching for A LONG TIME, it seems to make the most sense. 

What to do:

Combine everything in a one-gallon punch bowl, drink dispenser, or pitcher, and stir well (I used about 1 teaspoon's worth of ground cinnamon in the punch). 

Let it all hang out for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator to get nice and cold. 

Stir well before serving over ice in your favorite punch glass or large bucket/rocks glass. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Yields approximately 10-12 servings (8-ish oz per serving).

Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one week. 


But, Sara: What if I just want a single drink? 

I get that. You have two options: 

1. Make a big-ass batch (technical term) and drink it over the course of a week or so (y'know... like medicine), or

2. Try this:

Boozy Horchata for one

  • 3 oz almond milk
  • 1 oz rice milk
  • 1/2 oz heavy simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water ratio)
  • 1/2 oz rum (gold)
  • 1/2 oz tequila (gold)
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3 drops vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill about halfway with ice. Shake vigorously for around 15 seconds.

Strain over ice into a large bucket/rocks glass, or strain into an empty cocktail glass to serve up. 

Garnish with ground cinnamon if desired.