New & NowNon-Boozy Drinks

A Brief History of the New Starbucks Horchata Frappuccino

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Starbucks is introducing its newest flavored drink: the Horchata Almond Milk Frappuccino. The product will be the brewing behemoth’s first ever all almond milk beverage.

It's prepared by blending almond milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, coffee and ice, with a topping of whipped cream, a caramel swirl, and cinnamon sugar sprinkles. Note: There's not any actual horchata in it.

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The drink’s title, however, didn’t just emerge from the brain of some Starbucks exec. Horchata has a lengthy transatlantic history that reveals colonial pathways and historic trade routes.

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The drink is said to originate in Valencia, Spain, where residents soaked tiger nuts—introduced to the Iberian peninsula by Arab traders—in water to produce a frothy milk substitute. Spanish invaders then brought the drink to the Americas, where it’s taken on a variety of interpretations. In El Salvador it’s made with morro seeds, while in Puerto Rico they add sesame seeds. But the rendition consumed in the U.S. is inspired by the Mexican preparation made by blending soaked rice with cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar.

To honor this drink’s epic history, don’t just wait in line. Experiment with similar techniques at home with these recipes:

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Tags: starbucks, horchata, rice milk, almond milk