Classic Hispanic beverages such as Horchata or Agua de Jamaica are delicious to drink, but unfortunately they are full of sugar and calories. To make these drinks healthier, try substituting a few ingredients. Instead of whole milk, use non-fat or light plain yogurt, and instead of sugar use fruit.
Date Sweetened Horchata
- 3/4 cup long brown rice
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 cup non-fat milk (or can substitute for unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk or light coconut)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup pitted medjool or deglet nour dates (depending on desired sweetness)
- 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
Soak rice in 2 cups very hot (not boiling water) for 2 hours. The rice should be soft but still very raw. Drain and add to a blender. Add 4 cups water, dates, vanilla, and the cinnamon stick, top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 1 minute until the date specks are very small and the mixture seems well combined. In two batches, pour the mixture over a bowl or pitcher covered with cheesecloth. Strain the mixture until only pulp remains in the cloth. Rinse out cloth and set aside for washing. Next, stir in milk (or substitute of milk) whisk and transfer to large beverage container with a lid. Chill and serve over ice. Will keep in the fridge for several days.
7 cups water
1/2 cup dried, crushed hibiscus flowers
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 cups cold water
8 oz. pitted dark cherries (can use any fruit), fresh or frozen
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add hibiscus flowers and remove from heat. Let infuse for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the hibiscus flowers. Add remaining 3 cups of water, along with the cinnamon. Chill. To make cherry hibiscus agua fresca, add cherries, ice and hibiscus agua fresca to blender and blend well.
- 1 cup macadamia nuts or cashews, soaked for 2 – 8 hours the drained and rinsed
- 2 cups coconut water or water
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels or thawed frozen sweet corn kernels
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cardamom
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until very smooth. Serve warmed or chilled. Can be stored refrigerated up to 3 days.
Written by Dahlia Marin, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & dietetic intern Olivia Ostunio.