OR hot water
or to taste
In a large bowl, combine the drained rice, almonds, and cinnamon with the warm milk or water and soak at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight. Drain, reserving liquid.
Puree half the rice-almond mixture in a food processor or blender. Add about 1 cup of the reserved liquid and blend until as smooth as possible. Transfer the blended mixture to a bowl and repeat with the remaining rice mixture and liquid.
Strain the mixture through 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth into a glass pitcher or jar, squeezing the cloth to extract all the milky liquid. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Chill and serve over ice cubes.
Variation: For a chocolate-flavored drink, add about 1/4 cup sweetened cocoa powder, or to taste, to the rice and almonds.
Wash and drain the rice.
Popular in Central America as well as Spain, this refreshing summer beverage deserves to become better known north of the border. When the rice is steeped in milk rather than water the final result is tastier. Covered and refrigerated, the cooler keeps up to a week. Top it off with a splash of Kahlua, if you enjoy the liqueur.