Creamy and sweet with a whisper of cinnamon, horchata is like the most flavorful glass of nondairy milk you’ve ever had. Technically, horchata is a catchall term for blended drinks native to Spain and Latin America. It’s typically made with a base of pantry staples like rice, barley, almonds, or sesame seeds, but it can also be made with oats. Just like nuts and grains, when left to soak in water and then blended until frothy, oats become a refreshing drink. Carve out just under an hour of your morning and you can buzz together a batch.
I know what you’re thinking. Under an hour sounds like a lot of time. Does she know they sell flavored nondairy drinks in bottles everywhere now? Sure, in a pinch you can glug a few cups of packaged oat milk into the blender, toss in some sugar and spice and be done with it. You can even buy almond horchata at the grocery store. But if you don’t want to leave your house, here’s how to do it in the kitchen:
Scoop 1½ cups rolled oats into the beaker of a blender along with 4 cups water, place the lid on the beaker and let it sit in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Take the lid off the blender and toss in 2 tablespoons raw or granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of nutmeg, and a pinch of sea salt. Return the lid and blend the mixture well, for at least 15 seconds (it may take a little longer in a standard, non-Vitamix-like blender). Taste the mixture and add more sugar and cinnamon to your liking. If you find yourself wishing the horchata were creamier, add ⅓ cup milk—stick with uber-creamy cashew or coconut milks if you’re hoping to keep the horchata non-dairy; if you don’t care, whole cow’s milk works great.
Position a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup. Pour the horchata through the sieve to strain out any bits of oat pulp that weren’t pulverized during blending.
Cover the bowl or measuring cup with a lid or plastic wrap, or transfer the horchata to a large pitcher or mason jar and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to chill completely.
Serve oat horchata over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.