Thursday, June 1, 2017

Agua de Horchata (Rice Water)

A few years ago I started a new job and there happened to be many Spanish speaking families there as well as Spanish speaking teachers. One of those teachers was my co-teacher. After just a few days I quickly realized that the saying "If you don't use it, you lose it." was so true. Back in my undergraduate days I minored in Spanish, however over the years I used it less and less and realized just how much I had forgotten.

One of the best things about working with my co-teacher was the talks we would have. We would talk about anything and everything. I loved asking her how to say things in Spanish and always had a good chuckle when she would say "just say it with a Spanish accent.". I also loved it when I was able to stump her and she would not know how to say something in Spanish and had to look it up. It was also really cool learning about her Puerto Rican culture, especially the food and drinks.

One of the many conversations we had was about a drink called "Aguachata", aka rice water. After hearing about this drink, and then eventually trying it, I wanted to find a recipe so I could make it at home. When I googled aguachata recipes, I did not find anything. I asked my co-teacher how to spell it, thinking I spelled it wrong. When that was not it, I asked her if there was another name it was called, but she could not think of one. So I made my google search a little more specific, adding words like Spanish aguachata and Mexican aguachata. Finally I found a site that mentioned "Agua de Horchata" and asked her if that was the same. She then had this light bulb moment and said  "oh, yeah that's the correct way to say it. Remember we Puetro Ricans tend to blend our words together, like aguachata.". After going through a few recipes I found one that included all of the ingredients she had mentioned she used in her aguachata.

Fast forward a few months and aguachata came up in a conversation with another co-worker. She had never heard it called aguachata, but knew it as agua de horchata. We then asked a few Spanish speaking parents how they said it and discovered yet another way to say it, agua de horchata con arroz. Agua means water and horchata means a milky drink made from ground almonds, sesame seeds or rice. So the parent was saying you had to specify what kind of horchata you want. Wow, a lot of different ways to say the name of one very delicious drink.

Well, fast forward a few more months and I finally made this incredibly delicious drink. Although it was not exactly like the aguachata I tried it was really delicious. I think the main reason was that I used ground cinnamon and not a cinnamon stick. I always have ground cinnamon on hand and rarely buy cinnamon sticks for a recipe. Either way, I will definitely be making this again and real soon.

If you have stayed with me through this long post and are wondering what this drink tastes like, the best description I can give you is that is tastes like a liquid form of rice pudding. The taste really reminds me of rice pudding, but in liquid form. I hope that helps you understand what this drink tastes like and I hope you give it a try.

Agua de Horchata (Rice Water


  • 68 ounces water, divided
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 15 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 1/2 ounces evaporated milk
  • ground cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • For Serving

  • ice


  1. Pour 16 ounces of water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add in the rice and remove from the heat. Let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the rice and water mixture to a blender. Blend the mixture well. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheese cloth. Transfer the mixture to a large jar.
  3. Add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, remaining 52 ounces water, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir until everything is well mixed.
  4. Serve over ice.

I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

If you want to use a cinnamon stick instead of ground, add 1 stick in with the rice and then remove before blending.

You can also combine the rice, 16 ounces water and cinnamon stick together and let soak overnight or at least 10 hours. Then remove the cinnamon stick, blend the mixture and follow the rest of the directions.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 10

Amount Per Serving

Calories 183

Total Fat


Saturated Fat


Polyunsaturated Fat


Monounsaturated Fat


Trans Fat








Total Carbohydrates


Dietary Fiber






Vitamin A 2.01% Vitamin C 7.81%

Calcium 16.03% Iron 0.06%

*Nutritional information will vary depending on the brands you use.

*Adapted from kiwilimon.
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