It doesn't take Roland Rubalcava of Rubalcava's in Placentia very long to make horchata, that famous Mexican agua fresca of rice, evaporated milk, cinnamon and little else. There are only five ingredients, and the most time-consuming aspect of the preparation is just soaking, which obviously requires no effort on anyone's part. "It's weird though," he says amidst throwing together a magnificent-looking burrito for a customer, "I would say that most Mexican restaurants don't have real horchata."
He qualifies the reason being that it takes about 24 hours to have a batch, but he's just trying to be nice. "The majority of horchatas you buy are just made with syrup that's been diluted with water. It's all sugar!" That's not to say that honest-to-goodness homemade horchata doesn't have sugar (it most definitely does), but its sweetness is natural and light. Roland also points out that it's incredibly inexpensive and can be paired with many meals. "Mexicans drink it with almost anything," he says, "you can have it hot or cold, and all day long."More »