The story behind horchata water

In Mexico, the main ingredients of horchata water are rice soaked in water, sugar, and cinnamon

The story behind horchata water
“Aguas frescas “ are a must of Mexican cuisine – Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 13/09/2019 18:14 EL UNIVERSAL in English/Miranda Perea Mexico City Actualizada 01:06
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Mexican “aguas frescas” are light beverages made from fruits, cereals, and flowers, as well as other ingredients that add a tasty touch to these drinks. One of the most popular kinds of "aguas frescas" is horchata.

In Mexico, horchata water is a beverage usually made with rice grains soaked in water that are then ground and mixed with sweetened water. A pinch of cinnamon is added as an extra flavor.

Horchata water is originally from the Mediterranean. It came to Mexico through the Spanish. According to a Catalan or Valencian legend, the name of this beverage comes from the time a young peasant offered a glass of this water to King James I of Aragón. Horchata comes from the Latin hordiatam, from hordia, meaning barley.

In many parts of Mexico, people add cow milk to the mix and some other occasional ingredients.

In several parts of Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche, people prepare horchata with coconut. This drink is made with ground rice mixed with milk, cinnamon, and sugar, but they also add the juice obtained from the blending of coconut pulp. The coconut juice and the milk give density and flavor to the beverage, the reason why many consider this horchata the most delicious one on the Mexican coasts.

In Chiapas, they have a version of horchata using melon seeds, and another one with almonds, in addition to the traditional ingredients. Some recipes include orange peel as well.

In Colima, they have a version of horchata made with ground oats and seasoned with lime zest. It must be stirred constantly to prevent it from settling. Some even add orange or lime juice before drinking it.

In Oaxaca, they have several recipes, including milk, almonds, or lime peel. During, April and May, they add a fruit called jiotilla, which resembles a prickly pear fruit, which gives it a pink color, besides adding melon cubes, nutmeg, or roasted nut.

In Querétaro, it is a tradition to offer horchata water to the pilgrims visiting the Dolores altars.

In Tabasco, the recipe includes oats boiled in water and cinnamon; then, they add milk and boil the mix again, and add vanilla at the end.


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