Rice, Rice, Baby

Young vegans today don’t even know how good they’ve got it. Back in my day, dairy-free milk was still a rarity, available only in niche health food stores. Even there, your choices were limited to only soy or rice. Oat? Almond? Cashew? Forget about it! Who knew there were so many potential sources of creamy liquid back then?

Shelf stockers at mainstream markets would either scratch their heads, dumbfounded by the request, or haplessly led you to the lactose-free cartons. For a compassionate eater living in the suburbs, without a driver’s license, that meant stocking up and paying obscene prices for the luxury of access, or getting a bit more creative.

Guess which path I chose?

When sold in watered down cartons, rice milk was usually my least favorite option, but at home, I found a crafty loophole to create a thicker, richer blend. Creating a dense rice milk concentrate, not entirely dissimilar to wallpaper paste, I could better control the viscosity, flavor, and sweetness, all while building up a stockpile to easily whip up another cup, quart, or gallon at a time if I so desired. It was cheap, effective, and highly satisfying to beat the system.

Over time, my own means of access improved along with a boom in widespread availability. Once an essential staple, that formula that served me so well fell to the back of the digital recipe box. Collecting virtual dust, forgotten until an unfortunate computer crash forced me back onto an old laptop, it suddenly popped up like a long lost friend.

Today in 2021, I don’t need to make my own rice milk in bulk (thank the stars) but the concept spoke to me in a whole new way this time around. With a few little tweaks, a little polish, and some modern upgrades, I had a beautiful, brilliant instant horchata concentrate on my hands.

Perfect for sweltering summer heat when all you need is a tall, icy drink to keep your cool, horchata is the ultimate agua fresca. Creamy but not thick or rich, subtle notes of cinnamon and almond play in the background with in delicate, balanced harmony.

By skipping the time-consuming step of soaking whole grains of rice, prep time is slashed by an eighth or more, and it’s ready to reconstitute whenever a profound thirst strikes. Whether you’re serving a solo drinker or making a pitcher for a party, this stuff is like liquid gold for a quick fix.

We may not need bulk rice milk anymore, but you can never have too much horchata.

Yield: Makes 4 1/2 Cups Concentrate; 1 Gallon Horchata

Instant Horchata Concentrate

Instant Horchata Concentrate

Whip up icy cool horchata in an instant with your own homemade horchata concentrate. It's sweet, creamy, and perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 1/4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract


  1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the confectioner's sugar, rice flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure the dry ingredients are well combined and evenly distributed before slowly pouring in the water while whisking continuously.
  2. Beat out any lumps so that the mixture is completely smooth. Set over medium-low heat and continue to whisk slowly. When bubbles begin to form around the edges, gradually drizzle in the oil to emulsify.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring vigorously while scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to make sure nothing sticks or burns. Cook at a steady boil for at least five minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and no longer gritty.
  4. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the hot mixture into a separate bowl to stop the cooking process. Whisk in the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Let cool for about 10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge to finish cooling completely; about 1 hour. Transfer to a glass jar or an airtight container.
  6. For one serving, combine 1/4 cup of concentrate with 3/4 cup of water either in a blender or shaker bottle; mix well until smooth.


The concentrate will keep for up to 1 month in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 69mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.




6 thoughts on “Rice, Rice, Baby

  1. Well done, Hannah. As for hot summer days, yeah, we have a few of those. I read today that Phoenix just set a record for number of days over 115. Last year it was days over 110. I really didn’t need to be here for either of those records, but they do make cold drinks sound enticing. However, when I get a mocha, I always get hot because you get so much more than if you get it iced. I often just drink it hot or else I bring it home and put it in the fridge for later. :-)


    1. Absolutely, one of my favorite beverage hacks! It’s hard to resist the perfectly shaped, crystal-clear ice in the heat of the moment though, quite literally.

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