Horchata is a favourite drink of Spain and Spanish speaking countries, but unfortunately little where-else. Though the beverage varies widely depending on where you are, and Horchata de Chufa is the most popular version in Spain, the recipe has had quite the evolution, but still remains a cool, refreshing summer drink.
The history of Horchata isn’t known for sure, but there’s a few things we can point to which give us an idea.
Today, Horchata is most commonly made with tigernuts, ‘chufas’ in Spanish, which were brought over by the Moors who conquered Iberia in 711AD.
Almonds, which the Romans spread to Spain much earlier, were being used to sweeten barley water by aristocrats, the only people who could afford it. Like Horchata today, barley water is drained in rice before drinking.
At some point, with the popular cultivation of tigernuts in the Valencia region, tigernuts became so cheap that just over a kilo cost the same as 20g of almonds. The drink then became popular with the lower classes and became Horchata de Chufa.
The first recorded recipe dates back to September, 1748, but calls for almonds instead of tigernuts. This is probably because the upper classes still used it as a status symbol. The Spanish took the drink with them to their colonies, but outside of Hispanic influence, Horchata remains largely unknown.
- 1 and 1/3 cup of rice
- Good amount of almonds
- 2/3 a cup of milk (almond/nut milk for taste)
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 tsp of cinnamon
In small batches, pour in one and a third cups of rice, six cups of water and a good amount of almonds.
Blend after each batch for about fifteen seconds. Try and use a blender that doesn’t leak…after the last batch, blend for a minute.
Then when frothy and milky, pour it all into a large jug and let sit for at least four hours, stirring it every so often.
Once time, strain the liquid out and discard the rice. Add two thirds a cup of milk, using almond milk gives it extra taste. Put in two teaspoons of vanilla extract, two of cinnamon and mix until all mixed in, then leave in the fridge overnight and serve with ice.