Pronounced "orchata," this creamy, cinnamon-spiked beverage makes a cooling counterpoint to Mexican foods and other spicy summer fare. Itís also welcome during the holidays as a kid-friendly, non-alcoholic party drink.
Combine rice and cinnamon stick pieces in a large, stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Stir in 12 cups of water. Let mixture stand at room temperature until rice is very soft, 6 or more hours, or up to overnight.
Without disturbing the rice on the bottom, pour most of the water into a large jug; reserve. Remove cinnamon from rice mixture and reserve. Add milk, condensed milk, sugar and vanilla to the rice mixture. Stir to mix. Process in blender or food processor, working in batches, until as smooth as possible. Stir mixture into reserved water. Return cinnamon pieces to the mixture; chill thoroughly.
Remove cinnamon sticks. Shake or stir punch briskly and serve in tall glasses packed with ice cubes. Garnish each glass with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.
Copyright by Terese Allen