In a blender (VitaMix is great for this), grind the rice finely, almost to a powder.
Transfer the rice to a bowl then pour warm water over it. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, but preferably overnight.
Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth, squeezing it to extract as much of the rice flavor as possible. Some recipes blended the rice and water and water together again before straining it, but I did not see the need to do this and was quite happy with the flavor.
Store in covered container until ready to use.
To make the spice syrup:
In a saucepan add sugar, water, whole spices and vanilla (if you don’t want to spoon the whole spices out later, wrap them in a bit of cheesecloth and secure with a band or tie and place the bag in the pot). Bring the mix to a boil slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. After the mix comes to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and steep the spices in the syrup for 30 min. to 1 hour. Strain the syrup to remove the whole spices (or remove the spice bag if you used that) and pour syrup into bottle and refrigerate. If you would prefer buying this syrup, you can always purchase it from Heathglen.com
Pour rice water over ice and stir in 2-3 Tablespoons of the syrup. Use cinnamon stick as stir stick or sprinkle cinnamon on top. Many people will add milk or rice milk to the drink also. I prefer mine really light without the milk, but it is definitely more creamy and lush with milk.
Storage: Store the rice-water in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and the syrup in the refrigerator indefinately.
** The cinnamon vanilla syrup is wonderful with other drinks, including hot cider, Irish coffee (use the syrup instead of sugar), and Italian sodas (use 2-3 Tablespoons with 8 oz sparkling water and stir).