You could do worse on a hot summer day than sipping on a glass of horchata, the Spanish milk that's generally made with rice and spices. And though it's traditionally made with white rice, the folks at LA's Winsome make horchata with a healthier twist: quinoa. "Settling on quinoa was a decision based on using the black rice," explains Edwin Cruz, the restaurant's beverage director. "To me Horchata is all about texture and spice. The black rice alone created a good mouth feel and very little chalkiness, which is common with horchatas that are made with white rice. However, this horchata was really thin. I experimented with several grains and found that quinoa added back the velvety mouth feel that was missing as well as enhanced the toasted spices. Not to mention it’s healthy and a great source of fiber." (You see? Healthy!)
But how does the flavor of this quinoa and black rice horchata compare to the original? "You get lots of the classic elements of horchata, which is essentially sweetened and spiced rice milk," explains Cruz. "However, the grains I’m using add a beautiful layer of subtle earthiness that cuts through the sugar and brings you back in for another sip." Perfect for a hot summer day in southern California, or anywhere you might find yourself.
Winsome's Quinoa Horchata
- Yields: About 4 quarts
Combine quinoa and black rice in a 4-quart container with 2 quarts of cool water. Cover and allow to soak in fridge for 12-24 hours.
Toast the spices over low heat in a saucepan, until aroma is released. Allow to cool.
Remove quinoa and rice mixture from fridge, and drain all liquid. In a blender, combine even amounts of grains and spices with 1 quart of water. Blend on high for approximately 30 seconds. Repeat 4 times. Fine strain preferably through chinois strainer or through a regular strainer and cheese cloth.
In a saucepan combine sugar depending on taste and the quinoa liquid. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Promptly remove off heat. Allow to cool.
Serve over crushed ice and grate some fresh nutmeg and cinnamon over the top! If a creamier texture is desired add 1/4 cup of regular milk, soy milk or almond milk per quart of horchata.