Dandelion Chocolate's nibby horchata. (Eric Wolfinger)

7 Best Horchatas in the Bay Area (+ Recipes!)

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You may have noticed that plant-based milks are insanely popular right now. Hemp, macadamia, oat, hazelnut, flax, coconut, cashew, walnut, and even pea milk are sprouting like spring flowers in the grocery aisles. But before you abandon tradition, you should know about this old-school milk alternative that's making a splash around town.

Horchata—that suspiciously brown-tinted rice milk ladled from a plastic barrel in your local taqueria—is getting a makeover at Bay Area restaurants and bakeries.


Although most of us think of it as a Mexican beverage, horchata actually originated in Valencia, Spain, where it was made from barley. Everywhere horchata lands, locals tweak the recipe with their own particular flourishes. The Moors added almonds and tiger nuts, which are a kind of groundnut. In El Salvador horchata is made with morro seeds, while Venezuelans add sesame seeds and Puerto Ricans dose their horchata with coconut and, of course, rum.

In keeping with this tradition, Bay Area chefs and baristas are taking local liberties with the ancient libation. Here's a taste of horchata options available nearby, including three recipes you can make at home.

Chisme

(Courtesy of @chismesf)

Chicago Style

It may be hard to imagine what a Chicago-based restaurant could add to SF's well-established taco culture, but if you haven't tried Chisme Cantina's succulent pulled chicken or jackfruit tacos, cauliflower ceviche, or elote, pop in for a treat. Finish off your meal with their sumptuous coconut horchata. // 882 Sutter St, (TenderNob), chismesf.com

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