In need of some refreshment? Look no further than a frosty glass of horchata (pronounced or-CHA-tah). This dairy-free category of refreshing beverages are popular throughout most of Latin America and Spain. Let’s ponder and sip on this intriguing drink.
What is Horchata?
Horchatas are a variety of beverages, popularized throughout the Spanish speaking world, and made using plant-based ingredients. The most well known horchata, the Mexican horchata, is made using rice. Other countries have variations that are made using nuts, seeds, or fruits. Some horchatas are watery, others, rich and creamy, varying from region to region and household to household. Although there are a variety of horchatas with ingredient differences, the basic recipe and method of preparation is pretty straightforward.
How to make Horchata
Horchatas are made by soaking or blending grains (or crushed nuts) in water. The more grains added, the thicker the horchata. The resulting brew is a creamy, milk-like drink, all made without the addition of dairy. Sugar and baking spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or allspice are added to the mixture, providing delicious flavor and refreshing sweetness. Here are three of the most popular types of horchata:
Mexican-Style Horchata. This recipe keeps with Mexican tradition, using rice, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar.
Spanish-Style Horchata. This recipe uses the traditional Spanish horchata ingredient tiger nuts. Tiger nuts are actually almond-like legumes, prepared in the same style as Mexican horchata. Read more about tiger nuts here.
Fruit Horchata. This recipe combines the Mexican-style horchata with fresh strawberries, a creative and delicious variation that would be perfect for sipping throughout spring and summer.