Creamy Chai Horchata (Horchaita)

It's no secret that we Tea Babes love a good pun – and of course, an even better drink. So when we dreamed up this refreshing riff on traditional Mexican Horchata for Cinco de Mayo (Horchaita, y'all!) you bet we got pretty dang excited.

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Now that the days are getting warmer, we're craving more summery ways to sip our tea. Light, creamy Horchata fit the bill nicely – and since it's traditionally infused with cinnamon, adding some of our signature Chai to the mix was, like, kind of a no-brainer. 

Note: the red rooibos in our Chai base is a naturally sweet-ish tea grown in South Africa, with super high levels of antioxidants. It's milder and sweeter than black tea, so it lends itself to a Horchata preparation particularly well (as it won't overpower the drink.) Blended with tulsi, freshly ground cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, star anise, ginger, and peppercorn, our Chai was practically made for making Horchaita! 

First, a couple of things. If you've never made horchata before, don't stress! It's mega easy. Also, you might be tempted to use pre-made rice, almond, or regular milk from a carton, but there's definitely no substitute for the real deal. Plus, it all comes together pretty quickly (minus the waiting.) Promise!   

Creamy Chai Horchata (Horchaita)

Makes: 6 servings

Active Prep: 20 minutes

Inactive Time: 6–12 hours (overnight)

Ingredients:

  • 3 heaping teaspoons Big Heart Tea Co. Chai 
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • 3/4 cup almonds (raw or blanched) 
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 cups water, divided
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The night before, put your uncooked rice in a blender or food processor and give it a whirl to break the grains down. (We used Thai jasmine rice which, in tandem with our Chai, gives the Horchaita a really nice aroma.)  

Add the rice, almonds, and cinnamon stick to a large bowl along with 1/4 cup of sugar. This will give the Horchaita just enough sweetness to start, but you can always add more later to taste!

Now, brew up some Big Heart Chai! Heat 4 cups of water to just below boiling. While your water is heating up, scoop your Chai into a teaball or mesh strainer. Once your water is ready to go, steep the Chai for 2 minutes. Mmm, good smells.

Pour the hot brewed chai into the bowl with almonds, rice, and sugar. Stir well to combine and cover. Now you want to let the mixture mingle several hours – or even better, overnight. (We went 12 hours. Beat that.)

Once the Horchaita base has had ample time to soak, it's time to pour your mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. (Just be sure to remove that cinnamon stick first!) Slowly pour the blended mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a couple layers or cheesecloth, making sure to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Toss the dry paste that remains. Finally, add 4 cups of cold water and stir. You're done! Serve chilled over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

If you do want to sweeten it up a tad more, we like adding a little simple syrup or agave to taste. A dollop of sweetened condensed milk works super great too, if you dig that kind of thing. 

Now you have fresh, silky smooth Horchaita at the ready for summer sippin'. Enjoy!

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