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Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

On counters of neighborhood taquerias and Oaxacan restaurants, at Salvadoran farmers market stands and Eastside backyard parties, even at swank Hollywood restaurants, you can see the huge glass vitroleros, beehive-shaped jars filled with aguas frescas in a spectrum of stunning ... Read more

Total time: 20 minutes, plus overnight soaking | Makes 2 1/2 quarts
  • 4 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • Chopped toasted pecans for garnish (optional)
  • Diced cantaloupe for garnish (optional)

Step 1In a large bowl, combine the rice and cinnamon sticks. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, then pour the hot water over the rice and cinnamon. Cover and allow to soak overnight.

Step 2In a blender, puree the rice mixture (including the cinnamon) with the agave nectar until smooth; this will need to be done in batches. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth (or a chinois). Stir in 6 cups cold water, or adjust consistency to taste. Adjust the sweetness to taste with additional agave nectar if desired.

Step 3Just before serving, stir the horchata vigorously. Serve over ice and garnish, if desired, with a few chopped toasted pecans and a sprinkle of diced cantaloupe. This will keep for 3 days, refrigerated.

Note: Inspired by Juan Antonio of Oaxacalifornia. Soak the rice the day before.


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