Perhaps the most surprisingly good food or drink that I had at last weekend’s Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium was a simple combination of horchata and Jack Daniels. Call me crazy, but this was just like a very tasty milk punch, but with no milk. So for all you lactose intolerant folks out there, get to your local Mexican joint for some horchata. Or make it yourself, as it’s easy! Add some bourbon or Jack Daniels, and you’re good to go.
6 tablespoons rice
1-1/4 cups blanched almonds
1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
3 (2-by-3/4-inch) strips of lime zest (colored portion only)
About 1 cup sugar
Completely grind the rice in a blender or spice grinder. Transfer to a bowl and add the almonds, cinnamon stick and lime zest. Stir in 2 1/4 cups of hot tap water, cover and let stand a least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Transfer the mixture into a blender jar and blend for 3-4 minutes, until it no longer feels very gritty. Add 2 cups of water then blend for a bit longer. Working slowly, strain the mixture through a large sieve lined with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth, collecting the white liquid in a bowl. You’ll need to stir gently to help get the liquid through. When all has been strained, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist them together, squeezing, to strain the remaining liquid.
Add 2 cups of water to the white liquid and stir in enough sugar to sweeten the drink to your taste. If the consistency is too thick, add additional water. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir before pouring. Makes about 7 servings.
Serve with bourbon, of course!!
Adapted from Rick Bayless’ Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking From the Heart of Mexico