Whenever I go eat tacos at a local restaurant in Los Angeles, I always have to ask myself if I want a cold glass of horchata on the side. Many Mexican restaurants nowadays have huge pitchers, or barrels, rather, of fresh fruit juices and horchata. Made in house, the juices are not too sweet but definitely thirst-quenching and perfect as a side to a spicy meal. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of horchata from the beginning, but the more I drank it, the more it grew on me. Curious about how to make this beverage, I did a little research and found out that it was insanely easy! To give it my own twist here’s forbidden rice horchata – a little modification to the traditional beverage with the same classic taste.

forbidden rice horchata


Serves 4


Forbidden rice horchata

3 hrTotal Time

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  • 1 cup forbidden rice
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar or to taste


  1. Blend rice, water, and cinnamon sticks until rice and cinnamon begin to break up, about 1 minute. Transfer to a pitcher and let sit at least 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Strain the rice and cinnamon and discard. Stir milk, vanilla extract, and sugar to the rice water. Serve chilled.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Horchata can actually be served and prepared in many different ways. It can be made from rice, almonds, sesame seeds, jicaro seeds, morro seeds, or even a combination of herbs. The most commonly known in Los Angeles is the version found in Guatemala, made with rice and seasoned with cinnamon and vanilla. I have to say, after reading about the different versions of this beverage, I’m quite intrigued! Another reason to visit Latin America!

black rice

If you’re in a rush, you can let the rice sit in the water for 3 hours; however, it is best to let it sit overnight. Strain the rice the following day, sweeten with sugar and vanilla and serve with ice. You can even sprinkle extra cinnamon for a little more spice. A handy tip: keep the strained rice to make rice pudding!

strain the rice water

Does the forbidden rice horchata actually taste a lot different than traditional white? It’s a bit less creamy in my opinion, but other than taste, it’s practically the same. My favorite part? The beautiful purple color!

forbidden rice horchata


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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