When I was born, my birth was celebrated with the planting of a tree. It’s a tradition in my family. My older brother had a blue spruce and my younger sister a peach tree– and for me a cherry tree. While my sister’s tree produced abundantly, mine was a bit of a late bloomer. So on the occasion that we did get some cherries from my tree, it was a special day.
That feeling has stayed with me into adulthood. Whenever I see fresh cherries at the store, I look at them as if they were a Gucci bag– gorgeous, desirable, and expensive. That’s why I love cherry season. They become so much more abundant and inexpensive, so I feel like I get to eat like a queen with a bowl of sweet cherries in my lap.
Well, my friends, that season is upon us! And that’s why I’m making Cherry Horchata. Horchata is a Mexican drink that is made from a mixture of water, rice, almonds, and cinnamon. These ingredients are soaked, blended, and strained to create an irresistible drink. It is creamy, but amazingly refreshing at the same time. Why not take it to another level with a handful of fresh cherries?
After tasting this Cherry Horchata, I feel like I just witnessed a love story happening in my mouth. The almonds are all like, “Oh cherries, where have you been all my life?!” and the cherries are all like, “Oh almonds my love, you complete me!” And they ride off into the sunset. You get the idea. It’s. So. Good.
If you’ve never made horchata before (and even if you have), here are a handful of pro tips:
Plan Ahead – This drink does have to sit overnight, so be sure to make it the day before you plan to serve.
Stir it Up – With homemade horchata, separation is inevitable. If you put your horchata in the refrigerator only to find it has divided itself into 2 layers, don’t worry! You didn’t do anything wrong. Just give it a good stir and all will be right in horchata land, once again.
Filter and Filter Again – There will be a lot of little bits of rice, almonds, and cherry skin that will need to be removed from the drink so that it’s silky and smooth. To do this, strain it through a wire strainer, then filter it again through cheese cloth. The more you do this, the less grainy it will be.
What kind of fruit reminds you of summer? Tell us all about it. See you next time!
- ⅓ cup long grain white rice
- 6 ounces blanched almonds
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 ¼ cups water, divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups fresh pitted sweet cherries
- ice for serving
- Place the rice in a food processor or spice grinder and blend until it is finely ground. It will be about the consistency of coarse sand.
- Place the rice, almonds, and cinnamon in a large pitcher and cover with 2 ¼ cups of water. Cover and allow to sit overnight.
- The next day, place the rice mixture in the blender along with 1 more cup of water, sugar, and the fresh cherries. Blend for 3 minutes, then filter through a wire strainer.
- Strain the mixture, once more through 3 layers of cheese cloth. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of water and chill in the refrigerator. Serve over ice and enjoy! If the horchata separates, simply stir well before serving.