The coffee chain is clearly playing to its legions of lactose intolerant or otherwise alternative milk-favoring customers here, as this is the first Frappuccino to be specifically made with non-dairy milk: The Horchata Frapp contains almond milk, Cinnamon Dolce syrup, coffee, and ice, and is crowned with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and cinnamon-sugar sprinkles. (The garnishes do contain dairy, but can be left off for the truly lactose-averse; it’s also worth noting here that any of Starbucks’ Frappuccinos can be special-ordered with alternative milk options — soy, almond, or coconut — to create a non-dairy Frapp.)
Note that the Horchata Frapp does not actually include, uh, horchata, but Starbucks notes in today’s announcement that it’s simply “inspired” by the popular Latin American beverage. The best-known horchata to most Americans is the Mexican version, a milky, rice-based beverage flavored with cinnamon. It’s also popular in other countries such as Spain (where it’s made with tigernuts) and Puerto Rico (where it’s made with sesame seeds); in parts of Central America, horchata can also be made with almonds.
Perhaps a more appropriate name for this beverage would be “Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino,” but that already exists on the Starbucks menu (and has for years). Essentially, then, this new drink is just a Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino with almond milk and the addition of caramel drizzle. Salute to the Starbucks R&D department for dreaming up new menu items using stuff stores already have on hand — that’s the magic of marketing.