How to Make It
Combine rice and almonds in a medium-size heatproof bowl. Combine water, salt, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high. Pour boiling mixture over rice and almonds. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
Discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, reserving solids. Place rice mixture, sugar, and 4 cups of the liquid in a blender; process until smooth. (Use a few splashes more liquid if necessary to liquefy mixture.)
Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or a strainer lined with a single layer of cheesecloth into a bowl or pitcher, pressing solids to extract all liquid; discard solids.
Serve horchata immediately over ice, or chill before serving. Garnish each serving with a pinch of ancho chile powder and ground cinnamon.