Photos by Stuart Mullenberg

Homemade Horchata

Simple yet refreshing, a tall glass of horchata instantly cuts through the heat of a warm summer’s day. But finding the perfect recipe was easier said than done for Joshua Kimball, chef at Por Qué No Taquería in Portland, Oregon. He traveled to Guadalajara three years ago only to get a taste of what he didn’t want to serve. “Everywhere we went people were drinking powdered or premixed horchata,” he says. “We wanted to get back to something more authentic.” Traditional recipes call for everything from nuts to grains, but Kimball’s combines the best of both worlds. Adapted from a recipe from Rick Bayless’ Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, it combines blanched almonds with raw white rice to smooth and creamy results. Add a splash of dark rum to make an Horchata Borracha, which appropriately translates to “drunken horchata,” a decidedly grown-up take on a sugar-spiced classic.


1/2 cup uncooked, long-grain white rice

1 1/2 cups blanched, slivered almonds (see tips)

1 cinnamon stick, preferably canela (see tips)

5 cups hot water (divided)

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

3 cups cold water



Spice grinder

Food processor


Large mixing bowl

Clean kitchen towel



Wooden spoon

Large pitcher



Step 1
Pulverize rice in a spice grinder until powdery.


Step 2

Blend almonds and powdered rice in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.



Step 3

Transfer almond-rice mix to a large bowl and add cinnamon stick. Stir in three cups of hot water, cover with a clean towel and refrigerate for 10 hours.



Step 4

Working in batches, purée the mixture on high speed in a blender for five minutes, pouring the puréed mixture into a new bowl.



Step 5

Add the sugar and two cups of hot water to the mixture in the bowl. Working in batches, purée in a blender for three minutes on high speed.



Step 6

Strain each blended batch through a cheesecloth-lined strainer and into a clean pitcher. Stir in three cups of cold water and refrigerate for up to three days. Serve over ice. Makes about 8 cups.




Canela, or Mexican cinnamon, is a softer, loose-bark cinnamon grown in Sri Lanka that’s common in Mexican cooking. You can find it at gourmet grocers and Mexican markets. Common cinnamon sticks, or cassia, may be substituted for a more woodsy, subtle flavor.


Blanched, slivered almonds are available in the bulk grocery section of most natural-food markets. If you only have raw almonds on hand, blanch them first by covering with boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. Slip off the skins and coarsely chop prior to step 1.










Raspado de Ciruela y Frambuesa

(Red Plum and Raspberry Shaved Ice)

Mexico-born pastry chef Fany Gerson, author Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice and Aguas Frescas and My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages and Frozen Treats, evokes the flavors of home with this deep red syrup.


2 lb. ripe plums

1 cup granulated sugar

1½ cups water

1 pint fresh raspberries

Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Shaved ice


Cut plums into quarters, discarding the pits, and place in a pot with sugar and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the plums are tender. Let cool at least 30 minutes, then add the raspberries and purée in a blender. Add the salt and lemon juice, blending until smooth. Strain and discard the solids and refrigerate syrup until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.


Pour about 1/2 cup syrup over 1 cup shaved ice. (Alternatively, if you have an ice shaver, you may freeze syrup into cubes or a block, then put the flavored ice through a shaver.) Serves 8 to 10.


Fany Gerson, La Newyorkina, New York City







© Wariatka


Sharp as a Tack

DIY drinking vinegars and shrubs are a snap to make at home.


Our May/June 2012 issue highlights 50 of our favorite Drinks of the Moment, and among our picks are drinking vinegars. A sharp, tangy infusion of fruit, vinegar and sugar, drinking vinegars (aka shrubs) can trace their roots back to American colonial days, though regions across the globe from the Middle East to Asia have all at one point offered their own interpretations. With a snap of fresh fruit flavor, drinking vinegars offer the ultimate thirst-quenching refreshment, and they’re versatile, adding a tanginess to alcohol-free sodas and cocktails. The category hit an all-time high in popularity last summer when award-winning chef Andy Ricker released Pok Pok’s line of Som drinking vinegars, but they’re also surprisingly simple to whip up at home, and with ingredients you probably already have on hand. Some methods call for cooking a syrup, but we like how the freshness of fruit stays in the forefront with the following steep-and-refrigerate method.


2 cups fresh, whole berries (frozen also works)
2 cups vinegar (we like using Champagne or apple cider vinegar, though distilled white vinegar may be substituted in a pinch)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, or more, to taste

Large glass jar with lid
Clean glass bottle

Combine the fruit and vinegar in a large jar, tightly screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Let infuse for one week at room temperature, shaking daily. Strain the juice through a double layer of cheesecloth and funnel into a clean glass bottle. Add sugar and shake to combine. Refrigerate for one week before using, shaking daily until sugar has fully dissolved.

To dilute in a drink, add one ounce (or more, depending on taste) to five ounces of soda water. Serve over ice.

Following the method outlined above, you can experiment with these other flavor combinations:
Blackberry + fresh thyme
Cucumber + mint + honey
Cherry + vanilla bean + maple syrup
Ginger + Demerara sugar
Apple + agave
Strawberry + basil



Click here for a pineapple-rosemary shrub recipe and a cocktail that puts it to delicious use.






Put the Lime in the Coconut

Lime zest cuts through the rich, thick coconut cream for a bright yet milky shaved ice treat. Real coconut cream is widely available at Asian supermarkets.


1 cup real coconut cream

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water)

Zest of ½ a lime

Shaved ice


Combine the coconut cream, lime juice, simple syrup and lime zest, stirring well. Overfill a small cup or dish with shaved ice and drizzle generously with the coconut-lime syrup. Serves 8.


Maureen Norton, Fresh Snow, Portland, Oregon








Chocolate Phosphate

A chocolate soda that at once tastes decadent and refreshing, thanks to an added pop of acid phosphate.


1 tsp. acid phosphate
8 oz. club soda
2 oz. chocolate syrup (see below)
Tools: barspoon
Glass: highball
Garnish: fresh strawberry, optional

Pour the acid phosphate and the soda water into a chilled glass and slowly add the chocolate syrup to avoid spilling over. Stir gently to combine and garnish.

Chocolate Syrup
1 oz. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 drop cinnamon oil

Combine cocoa powder, sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, while stirring. Continue stirring and let boil for three minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then add vanilla and cinnamon oil. Stir to combine and funnel into a clean glass jar. Keep refrigerated and use within one month.


Adapted from Darcy O’Neil’s Fix the Pumps





Read more about phosphates and the soda fountains that are using them in "Fizzy Business" from the July/August 2011 issue.


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