In tropical Yucatán, we are always looking for something cool to drink. Of course there are beers and soft drinks, and freshly squeezed juices in most restaurants. You will also see “aguas frescas” on menus everywhere, literally translated as “fresh waters”. But these are, in fact, non-alcoholic fruit-based drinks mixed with water, similar to lemonade, and can be prepared with or without added sugar. Some of the most unique are tamarind and jamaica (made from the hibiscus flower).
Horchata is a milky variation on the fruity “aguas frescas”. A great way to serve it is in a margarita glass with a cinnamon-sugar rim.
1 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup almonds
5 cups water
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups ice
Put the rice, almonds and water in a blender and blend until the rice and almonds are broken up, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture overnight. Strain the water into a pitcher. Add the ice, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla bean. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
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