It’s a beautiful spring day in Madrid, and that alone makes me feel like celebrating.
What better way to celebrate than with a refreshing and delicious glass of Spanish horchata? This sweet and cooling drink is made with milk from tiger nuts, or chufas, which is typically sweetened and added to crushed ice.
Tiger nuts are a type of ancient tuber that has been traced back as far as ancient Egypt. In Spain they are mostly grown in the Alboraya region of Valencia, where this cooling summer drink has its roots.
Rich in starch, oil and sugar, tiger nut milk has a nutty flavor similar to that of almonds or hazelnuts. To make horchata, the nuts are harvested and dried, and then ground, soaked in water and mixed with sugar and a touch of lemon juice.
Of course the typical thing is to enjoy a glass of cooling horchata with friends, but this nectar also be used as an ingredient in Spanish cuisine.
For another take on this classic beverage, try this recipe for Tigernut horchata ice cream with flourless dried fig sponge cake (Helado de horchata de chufas con bizcocho, sin harina, de higos secos) from Spanish chef María José San Román.