What is the most refreshing summer drink? Some might argue lemonade. With its puckery punch and bright yellow color, it’s a tough drink to beat in the summer months. And yet, ever since moving to L.A., I find myself gravitating towards another drink when I’m hot and want something a little less tart, a little more smooth. That drink, as you can tell from the title of this post, is horchata. It’s a drink that’s naturally thickened from the starch in white rice and heavily spiced with cinnamon. I’d never made it before (I usually get it from one of the plentiful Mexican restaurants here in my neighborhood), but making it just by itself seemed a little boring. Which is why I had the idea to incorporate another ingredient, something to give the drink more body and also to make it more healthful; that ingredient, as you can also tell from the title of this post, is an avocado–rich with Omega-3 fatty acids. Together, horchata and avoado might make a killer smoothie. Only way to find out was to try.
Luckily, I had a new tool that was sent to me by the sponsor of this post: a Vitamix S30. It’s a personal blender made by Vitamix that’s super easy to store and clean; it comes apart very neatly. It also makes perfectly portioned smoothies and blends everything up fast.
I used the S30 in three different stages for this drink: stage one was blending long-grain rice with a cinnamon stick and water. That mixture is poured into a bowl, more water is added, and you let it sit (covered) for a few hours while the rice softens and thickens the water.
Stage two is to blend that mixture again, which you then strain into another bowl:
At that point, you whisk in half a cup of sugar (horchata’s guilty secret, but all the best summer drinks have sugar; I’m looking at you, lemonade):
At this point, you should chill the mixture for an hour at least. But congratulations, you’ve made horchata.
To finish, rinse out your blender. Remove the horchata from the fridge and slice an avocado in half, removing the pit:
Scoop the avocado into the blender (this is stage 3, by the way):
And ladle in enough horchata to cover. Add 3 cubes of ice, a pinch of salt, and a splash of vanilla:
Then blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
To finish, and to thin it out a bit, I squeezed the juice of a lime directly in there:
And blended one more time.
Voila, a beautiful summertime smoothie, garnished with a little more cinnamon.
It’s a drink that offers all of the refreshment of horchata, but feels healthier because of the avocado. Plus you get to use your blender THREE times. And who doesn’t enjoy the thrill of flipping a blender on? Happy summering.
Recipe: An Avocado Horchata Smoothie
Summary: An original recipe except for the horchata, which comes from Aaron Sanchez.
- 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 avocado, pitted
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Juice of one lime
- Ground cinnamon
- Begin by blending the rice, the cinnamon stick, and 4 cups of water in a blender. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add another 4 cups of water. Allow this mixture to soak (covered with plastic wrap) at room temperature for three hours.
- Then, pour the mixture back into the blender (in batches) and strain the results through cheesecloth or a fine sieve into a separate bowl. Whisk in the sugar; taste to adjust and chill the mixture.
- To make the smoothie, rinse out your blender and scoop the avocado into it. Ladle in enough horchata to cover (you’ll have plenty of horchata leftover to drink or for more smoothies), add three cubes of ice, the salt, and the vanilla and blend for at least 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and then adjust with lime juice. Garnish with ground cinnamon.
Preparation time: 3 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2