Tequila and avocado sales are on the rise which can only mean one thing: Cinco De Mayo is almost here. Cinco De Mayo, or May the 5th for those whose Spanish is a bit lacking, is neither Mexican Independence day (which is September 16th) nor a large Mexican holiday. In fact, it marks the end and victory of the small Battle of Puebla in 1862. This was between France and Mexico in the aptly named Franco-Mexican War, fought from 1861-1867.

You may be asking, "Well then why is it one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year?" We can thank President Franklin Roosevelt for that. On May 4, 1933, Roosevelt enacted the "Good Neighbour Policy", which was meant to improve the relations between North America and Latin America. The drinking part came from North Americans' love for all things alcohol. 

Now I'm going to teach you how to make horchata: my way. I am not claiming this is the right way—or even the traditional way—but it is mighty tasty, cheap, and simple.


  • Prep Time:4 hrs
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:4 hrs 10 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 1 cup long grain or short grain white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1-3 sticks cinnamon or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sugar or your preferred sweetener to taste
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish
Salina Wall
  • Step 1

    There are two options here:
    1) AKA the "Lazy Route"—take the rice and soak it in the water for at least 4 hours. The longer it soaks the easier it is to blend, so I usually leave it overnight.
    2) Grind the rice in a food processor or coffee grinder and then soak it for 2-3 hours.

    milk, rice
    Salina Wall
  • Step 2

    Add the cinnamon. Cinnamon sticks are the proper way but I'm broke so I use the ground stuff. Season to taste.

    paprika, chocolate, coffee
    Salina Wall
  • Step 3

    If using the first method, blend the rice mix for about a minute. If you went the second route this step is not needed.

    Salina Wall
  • Step 4

    Strain the blended mix using a cheesecloth that's been folded a few times.
    I didn't have any on hand, but luckily a piece of paper towel works just as well. Moisten the cloth or paper towel and then just drape it over your container to strain. The wetness will keep it from absorbing a lot of the liquid. Although the paper towel will need to be changed multiple times, it totally works.
    #SpoonTip This method also works for things like cold brew coffee

    dough, sweet, milk, cream, cake
    Salina Wall
  • Step 5

    Taste to see how much sweetener and vanilla you want to add. Keep in mind: this is literally just cinnamon and rice milk, which is a little strange. I added about 5 tsp of granulated sugar and roughly 1 tsp of vanilla.

    milk, tea, coffee
    Salina Wall
  • Step 6

    Mix it on up, pour over ice, add some cinnamon for garnish and enjoy. Salud!

    dairy product, sweet, cream, milk
    Salina Wall

For a little bonus recipe, freeze your leftover horchata and use them as ice cubes in iced coffee.