Horchata is a popular milky drink in Mexico and throughout Latin America, as well as Spain. The specifics vary by the location, but the Mexican variety is often made with rice and cinnamon. It can be made with a slew of other ingredients, too, from oats to coconut. Sometimes nuts get involved. I used the recipe from Paletas, by Fany Gerson as a starting point, then riffed from there. Swapped in brown rice and brown sugar—both instead of white. Reduced the sugar and added salt. And instead of whole milk, I went with cashew milk. You could do almond milk, coconut milk, or even rice milk. P.S. Use this horchata instead of milk or cream for the best iced coffee ever. —Emma Laperruque
Add the rice to a blender. Pulse until finely ground, almost like flour. Transfer to a bowl and add the water and cinnamon stick. Stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
Dump the mixture into a blender and blend until as smooth as possible. (This will still be slightly grainy!) Strain into a pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Stir in the cashew milk, sugar, and salt. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.