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A long time before the rise of fancy brand-name alt-milks, there is horchata. Even though many people think about it to be traditionally a Mexican drink (its often sold alongside other variations of agua fresca in neighborhood taquerias) horchata has its origins in Africa and Spain, where its commonly manufactured in horchaterias with tiger nuts (a.k.a. chufa), that actually arent nuts but edible tubers that look a little like wrinkled chickpeas. Across SOUTH USA horchata is manufactured with rice and/or sesame seeds, melon seeds, peanuts, almonds, or cashews.

Because of this homemade almond-and-rice milk horchata recipe, we roast the nuts for maximum toasted flavor (if you can skip this task if you like). Jasmine rice lends a hint of beguiling fragrance to the drink, but any long-grain white rice will continue to work equally well. A high-powered blender like a Vitamix obliterates the rice and nuts, yielding the smoothest, creamiest horchata. In case you have a different type of blender, anticipate to strain out substantially more bits and obtain much less of the finished drink. If youd prefer to keep it dairy-free, use sugar to sweeten the horchata rather than condensed milk. Focus on cup and adjust from there to your taste. For a genuine treat, put in a splash of horchata to your morning coffee to provide it a jolt of sweet, nutty cinnamon flavor.

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68 servings

cup raw almonds


cup jasmine rice, rinsed a few times


14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk


tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt


tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

tsp. ground cinnamon; plus much more for serving (optional)

Special equipment:

A layer of cheesecloth

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