I gave myself a very hearty pat on the back thinking that I, and I alone, had invented the word (and indeed the idea) of “horchaita”. Then I remembered that there are no new original ideas left on planet Earth and a quick Google search underscored the notion that I was not the first person to think that chai and horchata would make a delightful couple if someone would just introduce them already. Not to worry though, as I had a brimming teapot full of chai and a warm jug of horchata waiting and ready to console my unoriginal, been-there-done-that little heart.
Horchata adapted from Gonzalo Guzman (Nopalito)
Serves 6 or more, with plenty of leftover horchata to spare
1 ¼ cups cooked long-grain brown rice
1 cup raw almonds
¾ cup + 2 tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)
¼ tsp cinnamon + more to serve
4 cups milk or nut milk (optional – using nut milk would make this recipe vegan!)
Good quality loose-leaf chai tea
The night before serving, pour 3 cups of water into the jug of your blender and add the cooked brown rice, almonds, agave syrup, and cinnamon. Let soak overnight.
The next day, blend the mixture on high speed for at least 3 full minutes, until completely smooth. Stir in 2 cups water and the milk/nut milk. If not using any kind of milk/mylk, add 4 cups of water in its place. You absolutely must dilute the horchata in some way, otherwise you will have more of a pancake batter than a beverage. Strain the diluted horchata through a fine mesh strainer, scraping out and discarding any nut solids that accumulate in the mesh. I like to strain my horchata twice, as I’m very sensitive to any little flecks of almond left in my drink, but perhaps you’re not such a delicate flower. Alternatively, you could also line the strainer with cheesecloth and let the horchata slowly strain through that, in which case, once would suffice.
Brew a large, strong pot of loose-leaf chai tea, according to manufacturer’s instructions. Gather your tea cups/mugs and pour each ¾ full with hot chai. Top up with horchata, which should serve to cool the tea down. If you want more of a tea latte, you could heat the horchata over the stove until warm and do more of a 50/50 tea-to-horchata ratio. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a sense of worldly entitlement.