Cool, spiced Mexican horchata is the ultimate refresher for fall – The Denver Post

I used to be a travel writer, and one of the pieces of advice I gave and followed the most was to pay attention to shoulder season. London in early April? Cape Cod in October? Yes and yes.

How does this relate to cooking, you ask? (You mean you don’t just want my random anecdotes?) It can be just as helpful to think about the shoulder seasons of food, too. You know, light soups in late summer or very early fall, roasted asparagus at the cusp of spring.

My new favorite example is horchata. The rice-and-milk beverage from Mexico will quench anyone’s thirst on a hot day, but right now for me, it’s ideal for that blurred area between summer and fall. Kind of like a short-sleeve sweater, as one of my tasters said. Cold and sweet is perfect for those toasty September afternoons we’re still having, while the more substantial texture created when rice is ground into milk with cinnamon and vanilla hints at the headily spiced fall and winter days to come.