If you’ve spent anytime in Cape Cod you know that the village of Hyannis is a bustling spot in the summer months. There is a family owned, rustic cafe off the beaten path called Spoon and Seed that serves breakfast and lunch. At some point it was a hidden gem, but with a two hour wait on a weekend morning, the word is out. There is no shortage of delicious items on the menu, especially the horchata served over ice in a mason jar. This rice based drink is a lovely, refreshing alternative to iced coffee or tea. Horchata, a diary-free Mexican rice beverage is sweetened with sugar and flavored with cinnamon. I made my own pitcher of horchata at home, using basmati rice and maple syrup as a substitute for the sugar.
Use a coffee/spice grinder to break up the rice. Add the pulverized rice, 5 cups of water and cinnamon sticks to a large measuring cup or glass bowl. The other option is to put both the rice and water into a high speed blender and blend until the rice breaks up. Add the cinnamon sticks to the rice/water mixture. Let the rice/water mixture stand at room temperature for 3 hours minimum. You can store it in the refrigerator overnight to soak longer.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the rice water into a pitcher. Discard the rice and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the vanilla extract, maple syrup, ground cinnamon and almond milk, if using. Chill before serving. Serve over ice with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.