Butterfly Horchata

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Aguas frescas vendors line parks in Mexico with their rainbow of brightly colored beverages. Of them all, horchata is my favorite. A creamy rice and almond blended brew with wisps of mild flavor from true cinnamon. Refreshing and sweet, horchata cuts the heat from popular Mexican street food and makes a perfect pitcher for any backyard BBQ. This season, we’ve given it a festive color boost with ice cubes made with butterfly pea flowers. Start a day ahead to make the ice and soak the ingredients for the horchata. The next day blend it up and you’re good to go! As the ice cubes, melt they’ll turn your horchata a sweet lavender color.

true cinnamon

True cinnamon might be thought of as more powerful or better than cassia cinnamon, which isn’t the case. Of the two, cassia actually has stronger and spicier flavors whereas true cinnamon is more mild and less heat-forward. True cinnamon’s soft bark makes it quick and easy to grind at home but also makes it more evanescent. Having fresh sticks and only grinding when need makes all the difference!


  1. Brian says:

    I don’t understand how I’m supposed to get a puree with this volume of water after the soak and blend. There’s nothing thick about the resulting blend and I have to go beyond a fine strainer to cheesecloth, which takes an incredibly long time to try to filter out all of the grit from this. Is there any adjustment?

    • Jamie says:

      Thank you for reaching out about the horchata recipe. It’s normal for the mixture to resemble slightly thickened milk after blending the soaked rice. The goal is not to achieve a traditional puree consistency, but rather a smooth and well-mixed liquid.

      While straining with cheesecloth is not mandatory, it is recommended if you desire an ultra-smooth end result, as it helps filter out any remaining grit. If you find that the straining process is taking too long, you might try using a fine mesh strainer first and then moving on to cheesecloth for any finer particles.

      Additionally, adjusting the water-to-rice ratio slightly during the soaking and blending stages might help you achieve the desired consistency more easily. Feel free to experiment with the quantities to find the balance that works best for your taste preferences.

      I hope this helps, and happy horchata making!

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