Monday 19 August 2013

I found my thrill on Cinnamon Hill (and made some Horchata)!

I love, love, LOVE cinnamon. You might be able to tell from the number of recipes I have which incorporate the stuff. Check out my Cinnamon Stacked French Toast, Pennsylvania Dutch Spice Loaf, Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts, to name but a few!

Until earlier this year I did not know that there are different types of cinnamon. I was watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen who were carrying out a taste test of different cinnamons and they explained that in America they are used to Saigon cinnamon and the rest of the world tends to get Ceylon cinnamon. Both are delicious in different ways.

And did you know cinnamon is the peeled bark of the cinnamon plant? Cinnamon is Indonesian for 'Sweet Wood'. Ceylon cinnamon is sweet and citrus-like where as Saigon cinnamon is sweet and spicy. For me, Saigon is my personal favourite.

Recently I was introduced to a company called Cinnamon Hill who supply fresh cinnamon. I was lucky enough to be sent a pack of their Ceylon and Saigon cinnamon sticks to try along with their very stylish grater and cup set. Cinnamon they explain is best when freshly grated and after trying it fresh, I can certainly vouch for that.

Cinnamon Hill’s cinnamon is freshly picked and their packs are printed with the date it was harvested. The grater, made from honey oak and laser-etched stainless steel, has been exclusively designed for grating cinnamon, straight into the ceramic cup. Pop over to Cinnamon Hill’s website and take a look.

I decided to use the cinnamon in a drink I had tried for the first-time recently in a Mexican restaurant. The drink is called Horchata and if you are not familiar with it, it is a sweet milky drink which is also spicy thanks to cinnamon.

After looking a tons of horchata recipes on-line I decided to come up with a version of my own. A bit of a cheats version, as there is no blanching of almonds or grinding of white rice. Here’s how I made it…

1 tablespoon ground rice
500 ml cold water
750 ml unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon, plus more to garnish
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Agave Nectar, to taste

In a large jug, combine the ground rice and cold water. Leave this to sit for a couple of hours. I left mine overnight.

After the ground rice has been soaked, pour it into a blender with the almond milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and vanilla extract. Blitz for a good 30 seconds. Try a spoonful and add Agave Nectar to sweeten the deal. I used two tablespoons, add as much or as little as you prefer and blitz again for another 30 seconds.

Pour into glasses, filled with ice if you wish, and grate cinnamon on top. Place a cinnamon stick in each glass too if you want to be really fancy.

I love horchata. It is creamy and cold and refreshing. I think my take on it is a perfect cheat’s version – enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I was sent the cinnamon, grater and cup free to review and any opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Oh it does look wonderful. I am going to try it. I bet Graham will love it too!

  2. I love cinnamon too, and unsweetened Almond Milk, so this is a winner for me! Do you think it'd work well without the syrup though? Thanks!

    1. Yep, it all depends how sweet you like things Fanny. You could omit it altogether or add a wee bit sugar or sweetener if you'd prefer.

  3. Oooh, I am addicted to cinnamon! I buy the Saigon cinnamon in big tubs from Costco and it's probably low end compared to your fresh cinnamon but it's so tasty. This Horchata drink looks delicious, I'll have to try it once Autumn hits :)

    1. I'm busy burning a cinnamon scented candle too - think it may be an addiction. The Horchata is lovely Liana!

  4. I didn't know there were different types of cinnamon, definitely a fact of the day for me! Also great work on the cheat's version horchata - takes the hard work out, but stays delicious :)

    1. Glad to have taught you something today Kat lol!!

  5. I'm all for a cheat's version - this looks simpler than other versions I've seen. Sounds lovely. I think I first heard of horchata in the Vampire Weekend song. They rhyme horchata with balaclava and that's definitely worthy of respect.

    1. Phil, I would never have you pegged as a Vampire Weekend fan - respect goes to you!!


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