From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Horchata or orxata is the name for several kinds of vegetable beverages, made of ground almonds, rice, barley or tigernuts (chufas).
The name comes from Catalan orxata, probably from ordiata, made from ordi (barley) (Latin *hordeata < hordeum). The French and English 'orgeat', the Italian 'orzata', and the Surinamese Dutch orgeade have the same origin, though the beverages themselves have diverged, and none of them are typically made from barley anymore.
According to a folk etymology, James I of Aragon was offered a glass of the beverage by an Arab girl after his conquest of Valencia, and exclaimed, Això és or, xata! (This is gold, girl!).
In Spain, it usually refers to orxata de xufes (horchata de chufas), made from tigernuts, water and sugar. Originally from Valencia, it is served ice cold as a refreshment. It has a regulating council to ensure the quality of the product and the villages where it can come from, with the Denomination of Origin. The village of Alboraia is well known for the quality of their horchatas. The idea of making horchata from tigernuts comes from the period of Muslim presence in Valencia (from the 8th to 13th century).
In Central American and Mexican cuisine, horchata is a rice-based beverage. While the drink is usually white and "milky", some recipes call for milk, and others do not. Other ingredients often include sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, orange or lime. Though horchata was once typically homemade, it is now available in both ready-to-drink (shelf-stable or refrigerated) and powdered form in grocery stores.
In the US, rice-based horchata is served in some Mexican restaurants, and the horchata de chufas is virtually unknown. Rice-based horchata is also sometimes available in US grocery and convenience stores, especially those in Latino neighborhoods. Kern's Nectars, best known for its fruit nectars, has introduced several flavors of horchata in 2006 to cater to the growing Latino market. 
The horchata found in Ecuador is similar to the Mexican kind, but sesame seeds are used instead of almonds. In El Salvador, horchata is typically flavored with Morro (Calabash tree) seed, ground cocoa and cinnamon as well as sesame seeds, and in some cases is strained; this style is served in Salvadoran restaurants, particularly in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. metro areas.
- Traditional Mexican Horchata Made with rice
- Horchata de Chufas Made with Chufa Nuts
- Almond milk
- Rice milk
- The Regulating Council of Denomination of Origin "Chufa de Valencia": Quality council regulating tigernut horchata in Valencia
- History of horchata and related drinks in Europe, and a reconstructed recipe for an 18th century version