Both sweet and highly flavorful beverages, Horchata and Coquito, will undoubtedly leave a strong impression on you. They have similar appearance and consistency, and they both taste heavenly, but they aren’t the same. So what are the differences between Horchata and Coquito, and which is better?
Horchata is a sweet beverage of rice, chuffa, morro seeds, water or milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It is traditionally made with barley instead of morro seeds. It originated in Mexico. Coquito is a Puerto Rican sweet alcoholic beverage; basically, eggnog made with coconut cream, coconut milk, and rum.
Both sweet, delicious, and incredibly creamy and satisfying, Horchata and Coquito have their differences as well as similarities. In the following paragraphs, I will explain how similar and different are these two beverages and whether one is better than the other.
Horchata vs. Coquito: Differences
While Horchata is a sweet non-alcoholic beverage, Coquito is quite different as it contains rum. They are differently prepared, have different nutrition values, and have different origins. Still, they have very similar consistencies and look similar.
The traditional ingredients in Coquito are condensed milk, rum, coconut cream, coconut milk, and eggs. The name itself- “coquito” means “little coconut,” hence the dominant coconut flavor.
The traditional making process includes slowly heating the ingredients to avoid their separation. As the fat content is pretty high in this drink, the fatty ingredients will tend to separate if they are heated up too quickly. The traditional method usually contains eggs.
After the drink is ready, it is left to cool down and is then collected in glass bottles with a cinnamon stick added inside. The Coquito then needs to mature and is best two weeks after making.
Of course, there’s the non-traditional method too, which is far simpler, but significantly reduces the Coquito’s shelf-life. It includes blending the ingredients with ground spices and no eggs. However, the Coquito made this way will soon become lumpy because the fat will separate just a few minutes after blending.
Both preparation methods result in a delicious drink, but they both contain things you will have to tolerate. If you decide on the traditional method, you will get a creamy drink with a longer shelf- life, but you will have to wait two weeks to taste it. If you opt for the non-traditional method, you will have your drink ready in no time, but it will be a bit lumpy and without eggs.
Horchata traditionally contains rice, water, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. However, milk, almonds, and vanilla are often included in the recipe as well.
The Horchata preparation method is pretty simple, but it is time-consuming. First, the rice needs to soak in water to soften.
Then, all ingredients are blended together and left to set. Then, the mixture is strained, separating the liquids from the solids. This usually takes 8 to 12 hours in the fridge.
This is a drink served chilled.
There’s no argument that Horchata and Coquito are both delicious. They also taste similarly because of the cinnamon, which is known to be the dominant flavor.
However, the rice makes Horchata the milder-tasting one of these two beverages. It is a combination of sweet, vanilla, and cinnamon flavor, enriched with the unique softness and silkiness of the rice.
If made with milk and almonds as optional ingredients, Horchata will also taste buttery and nutty. It will definitely be richer and fattier too.
On the other hand, Coquito is stronger-tasting than Horchata, mainly due to its alcoholic content and the coconut ingredients. The cinnamon is quite noticeable, but the coconut is a strong opponent too.
Therefore Coquito is a creamy mixture of perfectly balanced coconut and cinnamon flavors, delightfully interjected with the strong rum flavor. The Coquito flavor won’t only stay on the palate but will also spread down your throat.
Horchata is a Mexican drink and is loved and had throughout the entire year. Globally known as a Mexican rice drink, Horchata first originated in Spain and was imported to Mexico. Therefore, as it is now, the recipe is of Mexican origin.
Coquito is also known as Puerto Rican eggnog, and obviously, it originated in Puerto Rico. Just like regular eggnog, it is a traditional Christmas drink.
Considering that Coquito is a traditional Christmas beverage, it is only logical that its popularity is at its peak around that time of the year. It is most prevalent in Latin America and Spain and Portugal in Europe.
However, in recent years, it has been gaining popularity in the rest of the world.
On the other hand, Horchata is enjoyed throughout the year but isn’t as famous as Coquito. This is because Coquito is unique, but Horchata has its counterparts in different parts of the world. Although made with different ingredients and by different methods, there are other rice-based cinnamon-flavored beverages that are popular in certain regions.
For example, Sutlijash is a rice pudding that tastes very similar to Horchata. It is most popular in the Balkans and Central Asia.
Although high in calories and fat, Coquito is a pretty nutritious beverage. In addition to its fatty and caloric content, it is also rich in nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and sodium and vitamins such as A and C. 
It also contains protein and a negligible amount of sugar.
Horchata’s sugar content is significantly higher than in Coquito. 
Despite being fatty and caloric, Horchata and Coquito are nutritious. Still, you should pace yourself with them and enjoy them occasionally, and not too often.
Horchata’s variations include toasted rice instead of soaked, different kinds of nuts, barley instead of rice, chuffa, or morro seed. Also, the milk is optional, so there are milk-free variations.
The added flavors vary as well. Therefore you can make Horchata with or without vanilla, adding another flavor instead, or not adding one at all.
Coquito has even more variations than Horchata. It can be made with different kinds of milk- soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk. You can also add chocolate to it, masala chai, banana, or pineapple juice.
The only things you need to keep permanent for Coquito are the rum, cinnamon, and coconut cream. Other than that, you can add the flavors you enjoy the most.
Horchata Vs. Coquito: Which Is Better?
Although similar, Horchata and Coquito are two entirely different drinks; therefore, I cannot say that one is better than the other.
Horchata is a great energy booster, highly nutritious, and very satiating. Coquito is refreshing, zingy, and fun. Both are delicious and, depending on what you want, they can both do a great job.