National Horchata Day has been held on September 24 every year since 2001. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of this delicious beverage and also to honor its rich Hispanic history. Many of us may not have heard of horchata before; it is a name given to an array of different refreshing Mexican drinks made up of white rice soaked in water, flavored with cinnamon, almonds, tiger nuts, or a little sugar. All the ingredients are usually ground up together in a blender until it has a semiliquid consistency. Eventually, the mixture is sieved to remove the solid granule, to leave a nice and smooth milky consistency. There are different variations of the recipe. Some people prefer it with milk and some people like to add flavors such as vanilla or coconut. Overall, it is healthy and full of vitamins and supplements.
History of National Horchata Day
To fully immerse ourselves in this simply satisfying drink. We must gain some perspective on where this drink originated from and why it now has its holiday.
Horchata is now a very trendy drink in the U.S., and many believe its roots are Mexican but in actuality, it originates from West Africa, present-day Nigeria, and Mali where it was and still is popularly known as ‘kuunu aya.’ It dates back to as far as 2,400 B.C. It is speculated that during the Muslim conquest the Moors brought it to Spain. In the 11th century, it spread through Spain and Portugal and eventually got its name ‘horchata’ in Valencia.
Though the origin stories of this non-alcoholic drink may have African anecdotes, the tales of where the name came from make-believe that there might have been other cultures that were creating their version of this drink. Around the 16th century, the Romans were making their version of the milky drink. Instead of making it using the popular ingredients such as rice or Tiger nut — which in actuality isn’t a nut, the Romans made use of barley because at the time the grain was believed to have some medicinal properties. Romans milked the barley by soaking it in water, forming the base of the drink they called ‘hordeata’ which in translation means drink made from barley.
There’s another humorous version of how the drink got its name: In the 13th century, King James of Aragon was offered the drink by a little girl and upon tasting it he looked at her and asked in bewilderment what it was. The young girl replied, it was chufa milk, and he replied, “Això no es llet, això és or, xata!” “This is not milk; this is gold, my dear!” and that is where the name horchata originated.
National Horchata Day timeline
Findings trace the original creators of this drink back to Nigeria and Mali.
It’s claimed King James of Aragon coins the name ‘horchata’ from ‘Orxata.’
The Spanish bring rice, cane, cinnamon, and chufa with them from their travels.
National Horchata Day is created by a brand called ampm.
National Horchata Day FAQs
How do you store horchata?
Generally, you should drink horchata fresh, but you can store it in a fridge or freezer. It can be kept in an airtight bottle or jar for up to 10 days. It will most likely still be okay as most horchata recipes don’t have dairy in them.
What does it taste like?
Horchata has a rich refreshing creamy flavor, with a smooth texture and sweetness that often depends on how much sugar or vanilla syrup is used in making it. It can also be quite nutty depending on how much nuts are included.
What can you have it with?
If you see a local vendor selling horchata we can bet you will most likely find them serving them with sweet or semi-sweet pastry. This yummy drink can also accompany bread, and main meals like tortillas, or it can be drunk on its own as it tends to be very rich and full.
National Horchata Day Activities
Engage your online friends
You can share fun facts about horchata on your social media and use the hashtags of the day, such as #NationalHorchataDay.
Go get horchata with your peers
There are so many different flavors of horchata, some come a little sweet, and some come a little spicy; you and your friends can go out and find which flavors are your favorites.
Make it yourself
There are a lot of recipes online for horchata. A good way to get into the feel of the day will be to whip out your apron and make a recipe you think you’ll love.
5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Horchata
The most famous horchatas are Mexican
There are over 10 varieties of horchata, the popular ones being Mexican rice-based drinks.
Horchata is quite healthy
It’s rich in natural ingredients like vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and more.
It is an aphrodisiac
Locals in Spain, Mexico, and Nigeria vouch for its aphrodisiac effects.
We’re still using the same recipe
Though there’ve been spins to the recipe, the 13th-century process has been incorporated.
Tiger nut is not a nut
Tiger nuts or chufa are small tubers; the name comes from the stripes on the tubers.
Why We Love National Horchata Day
It educates people
There are a lot of people that are missing out on this tasty treat. It can be served hot on a chilly day or cold on a hot summer's day. Either way, it is often a healthy refreshment instead of the carbonated usuals.
It celebrates history
This day aims to celebrate the journey of horchata, from Egypt to Valencia and now Mexico. This tasty beverage has been a part of many cultures. For this reason, the rich history of its origin is a good story to tell.
It promotes businesses
Horchata is mainly available in small shops or confectioneries. Because of this, the day encourages people to support small businesses while enjoying the drinks.
National Horchata Day dates