Recipe Review

I Tried Pistachio Horchata and It Was One of the Best Versions I’ve Ever Had

published Oct 16, 2022
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I Tried Pistachio Horchata
Credit: Carlos Matias

Summer may be gone, but what didn’t leave with it was my craving for a nice refreshing beverage. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been seeing fewer recipes for cold drinks in my feed, with instructions for copycat PSLs and new takes on Hot Toddys taking over. It’s for this very reason that I was elated to come across Esteban Castillo’s (@chicanoeats) recipe for pistachio horchata. 

The popular rice-based drink can be easily found in Mexican restaurants, but there are different varieties of horchata throughout Latin America. Rarely do I enjoy a trio of tacos without a cup of horchata to quench my thirst, but I’ve never had a version with pistachio before, so I was excited to try Esteban’s recipe.

Get the recipe: Pistachio Horchata

How to Make Pistachio Horchata

Lightly toast shelled pistachios and a Mexican cinnamon stick over medium heat, stirring for about 5 minutes — or until you can smell the cinnamon.. This can be done on a dry skillet. Mix the pistachio, cinnamon stick, and long-grain white rice in a bowl and pour in hot water. You’ll want to set this aside for 4 to 6 hours.

Next, pour this mixture into a blender, blending for 30 seconds. Run the mixture through a mesh filter or colander and add cold water, condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well before serving with ice and garnishing with pistachios.

My Honest Review of Pistachio Horchata

This recipe is exactly what I needed in my life. The pistachio horchata was easy to make and satisfied my thirst for something refreshing. It came out sweet, smooth, and creamy, with a hint of cinnamon. It tasted no different than many of the horchatas I’m used to; in fact, it was better than a lot of them.

Although making horchata involves a few more steps and takes a little longer than other drink recipes I’m accustomed to (due to the toasting, soaking, and blending), it was still easy to make and worth the time. Next time I try this, I will increase the recipe to make a bigger batch. A few people in the post’s comments mentioned spiking the horchata with rum, and that doesn’t sound like a bad idea either!

This recipe will make an appearance at my next taco Tuesday night, along with these quick-to-throw-together chicken tacos or even these mahi-mahi tacos with avocado sauce if time allows. 

3 Tips for Making Pistachio Horchata

  1. Soak it all in. It takes a while for everything to soak together and the flavors to blend, so make sure to build enough time in your recipe. The instructions call for soaking the ingredients for 4 to 6 hours, but I left it even longer.
  2. Don’t over-toast. Lightly toast the cinnamon and pistachios for a few minutes until you start to smell the cinnamon. I left mine a minute too long and it began to burn.
  3. One cinnamon stick is all you need. I was tempted to put more, but I’m glad I didn’t because it would have overpowered the drink. Start small with the flavor and then if you feel like you need more after tasting, build it up.

Get the recipe: Pistachio Horchata