Agua de Horchata – A Mexican Rice Drink Sweetened with Honey & Stevia

Latin America is known for their wide varieties of ‘aguas frescas’ (refreshing drinks). Walk into any taqueria and you will find so many options… Agua de sandia, agua de pepino con limon, agua de pina, agua de guayaba, agua de jamaica, agua de tamarindo and the list goes on.

One of our favorites is agua de horchata… a delicious, creamy, icy-cold rice drink with lovely hints of cinnamon & vanilla.

Amazingly refreshing on a hot day. Ahhh!

We have tried many different versions of horchata from Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras… we have to say our favorite is Mexico and with Honduras coming in a close 2nd.

But, the downside with horchata is that it is usually made with refined sugar and sometimes sweetened condensed milk.

Making it sickly sweet… way too sweet for us!

Thankfully we can indulge in this refreshing summer beverage at home without going into a major sugar coma, thanks to two healthy ingredients: raw honey and stevia.

I have tried many different recipes for homemade horchata, but wasn’t able to find anything that matched what we enjoyed in Mexico… until recently.

I stumbled across an authentic recipe from Paletas (by Fany Gerson) and tweaked it a bit to use raw honey & stevia instead of white sugar.

After a few tries, I was able to get just the right amounts of sweetness (with no overpowering honey flavor) and we were swept away by our memories of drinking icy-cold horchata at our favorite local Mexican taqueria.

This horchata is extremely simple to make using 6 ingredients and the results makes it so worth what little efforts it takes! 

If you want to see a step-by-step tutorial… head over to my blog and see how you can easily make Agua de Horchata.

If you don’t have a grain mill… a coffee grinder or blender will work just fine!

2.0 from 1 reviews
Agua de Horchata - A Mexican Rice Drink Sweetened with Honey & Stevia
Serves: ½ gallon
A healthier take on the classic Agua de Horchata, naturally & lightly sweetened with raw honey and stevia.
  • 1⅓ cup rice (white or brown) *
  • 6 cups warm filtered water
  • 2 pieces of cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups whole milk *
  • ½ cup raw honey *
  • 15 drops vanilla stevia *
  • 15 drops regular stevia
  1. Grind the rice in your grain mill (or use a coffee grinder or blender) on 'Bread' setting.
  2. Pour rice flour into a glass bowl and combine with warm water & cinnamon sticks.
  3. Cover and let it soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. You can leave it out in room-temp or store in the fridge.
  4. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until very smooth. It will feel slightly grainy, but should not be gritty.
  5. Strain into a pitcher or bowl through a very fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth.
  6. Press solids with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
  7. Stir in the milk, honey & stevia. Whisk vigorously until honey completely dissolves (no need to warm up milk or anything!).
  8. Taste and add more honey or stevia if you like. Store in the fridge until chilled.
  9. Serve over ice and top with ground cinnamon.
Rice - I have used either white basmati rice or regular brown rice.
Milk - You can used coconut milk if you have milk allergy.
Honey - Use mild honey, such as clover honey.
Stevia - If you don't have vanilla stevia, add in 2 tsp of vanilla extract and use 30 drops of regular stevia.
If you would rather use 100% stevia... add another 15-30 drops. Be sure to taste it before adding more!
If you would rather use 100% raw honey... add ¼ cup and taste. If you want it sweeter, keeping adding more until you are satisfied.

Ahh! Buen Provecho!
Have you tried a Horchata or any agua fresca? What are your favorite flavors?

About Mare @ Just Making Noise

Marillyn Beard is a deaf missionary wife & mama living on a farm in Honduras with her wonderful husband and 4 beautiful kids. Together they are heading up a ministry called Rancho Oasis for Youth. Marillyn takes care of her family naturally by using herbs, homeopathy, essential oils and a wholesome diet. She loves to bake wholesome treats, whip up homemade ice cream, experiment with lacto-ferments, work in the garden and care for the farm animals with her family. Between washing diapers, cooking, and caring for her family she shares her interesting & noisy life at Just Making Noise.

Grain Mill Wagon Challenge: If you are familiar with my blog… then you know I like to use whole grains (soured or soaked) for pretty much all my baking. I've always wanted to be able to use fresh flours, but my first mill made it an horrible and complicated experience. I ended up only using a handful of times before packing it away because the flours always came out gritty. I basically gave up the idea of ever grinding my own flours after that.

Later, when I was offered to try out the Wonder Mill for the challenge… I took up the offer quickly because I had heard from a few of my blogger friends how much they loved their Wonder Mills! After my first try, I was THRILLED with how simple it was to use it and how the flour was so soft & powdery in the bucket.

The Grain Mill Wagon Challenge really drove me to try different kinds of grains and I was really pleased with how well they turned out! Especially my mango cake using sorghum. That is still a favorite around here when I have mangos available.

Of course, my whole family enjoyed the creations I came up with for the challenge. I highly recommend the Wonder Mill to anyone who is in the market for a grain mill and urged any food blogger to join in the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge!

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2 Responses to Agua de Horchata – A Mexican Rice Drink Sweetened with Honey & Stevia

  1. Annie says:

    As soon as I read this I had to try it. I guess my Vitamix did such a good job at blending it that even though I strained with a cheesecloth it was too gritty. The stevia also gave it an off taste.

    • Hello Annie,
      Sorry that your Horchata didn’t work out. I want to point out a few things you could do to improve it… if you are interested in trying again.

      First, I have a Blendtec and it is much more powerful (from my personal experience) than the Vitamix. I know because I had a Vitamix for a few years before getting a my Blendtec. If you say that it was gritty (grainy with little bits of rice), then your Vitamix did not do a very good job of blending it. It should be more of a smooth grainy texture. If you go to any real Mexican restaurant and ask for a Horchata, it will have a bit of a smooth grainy texture too it. No real Horchata is completely free of that texture. IF you are thinking smooth like rice milk, that’s not a real Horchata.

      What kind of cheesecloth did you use? The kind I use is like a thin muslin cloth. Not the weave kind.

      With the stevia, what brand of stevia did you use? No stevia is the same. The kinds I like is the NOW and NuNaturals and Sweetleaf brands. They have the best taste with very little off taste that most stevia tends to have. Otherwise, like I said in my recipe, you can keep the stevia out and use only honey. Just be sure to taste the honey before using it… the mild is best.

      Again, sorry you didn’t like it, but hope you will try it again with my suggestions in mind. Plus, this recipe is not completely my own… as I said in the post above, I took it from a cookbook wrote by a true Latina (Mexican gal). I followed most of her instructions and just changed the sweetener.

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