Horchata is a recent pop-up trend that’s somewhat on par with the popularity matcha has gained. But if you’re like me and tend to need to do some light research to catch up to trends, then you might be a little confused about what exactly horchata is. Is it a flavor? Is it a beverage? A powder? Until I looked it up, I really had no idea.
Don’t worry, though, because I’m about to unpack everything you need to know about horchata. What distinguishes horchata the most is probably its origins. Although its origins trace back to the Catalan region of Spain, horchata is widely served in Latin American and Central American countries, though it has recently gained widespread popularity in the United States. That’s right, it’s been a trend for a long time, just in other places. In case you were under the impression I was under, which led me to believe that horchata was some kind of substance, think again.
Horchata is no one substance in particular. In fact, it’s actually a mixture of multiple ingredients that are ground up and used to make a beverage. There are multiple variations and versions of this beverage, although some of the common ingredients ground up in it include tiger nuts, melon seeds, rice, almonds, sesame seeds, and barley. Because of its richness and protein content, it has become popular for its ability to substitute dairy products in some ways. The mix creates a milky sweet liquid.
Just as vegans and people who don’t tolerate dairy often choose cashew or almond milk as a healthy alternative, some see horchata as a healthy alternative to dairy-heavy coffee drinks, like lattes or cappuccinos.
This all makes sense when given the facts. I can certainly get behind the idea of it. What you may not know about horchata, though, is that it doesn’t just have to come in the form of a beverage. There are many other ways that horchata is served. Some people find that horchata syrup works as an exceptional and unique cocktail mixer. It’s commonly used with vodka-focused alcoholic drinks. It makes for a sweet, spiced cocktail.
Horchata can also be used in other foods and drinks that normally require a milky consistency or taste. For example, one use for horchata that’s rightly gained popularity is horchata flavored ice cream. And this pairing makes total sense. Just like coffee flavored ice cream is the perfect blend of bitter and creamy, horchata ice cream provides a creamy, sweet, and spicy combination that you won’t be able to resist.
Additionally, this milky treat is used to flavor various sweets, like donuts and cake-like desserts. Since it’s more on the sweet side, you may have come in contact with it at a coffee shop or seen it advertised to be used in drinks like iced lattes or frappuccinos.
However you end up consuming this unique blend, I’m sure it will provide a unique taste bud experience. Now that the mystery of horchata has been dispelled for you, and for me, I think it’s safe to say that your next step should be to get out there and try it!