What Is Horchata?

Horchata is a traditional, creamy beverage made in Spain and Latin America. It typically consists of ground almonds or other seeds, which are soaked in water and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, allspice or lime zest.

Horchata, which is also known as orxata in some areas, varies between regions. In Spain, it is typically made from tigernuts rather than almonds. The creamy mixture is flavored with sugar, and is served as a cold beverage in the summer months. In Guatemala, the traditional way to make horchata is with rice, vanilla and cinnamon, while in Puerto Rico, it is typically made with ground sesame seeds, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and evaporated milk. Rum is sometimes added for additional flavor.

Basic horchata is easy to make at home. Simply combine 4 cups of whole milk and 1 cinnamon stick in a saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Remove the cinnamon stick, and whisk in 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of almond flour. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, and then strain it through a sieve before serving over ice. It you wish, you can add 1 ounce of light rum to each glass before pouring in the horchata.