Lemon Barley Water Recipe

Make this tasty barley water for you next summer afternoon outing. It’s nutty, sweet profile is the perfect relief from the arid, hot summer days

| March 2019


A traditional drink in many countries around the world, including India and other parts of Southeast Asia, barley water is still produced commercially in England (where it’s the official drink of Wimbledon). True, it’s not an especially captivating name for a drink, but don’t let that put you off. Barley water can offer serious refreshment on a hot summer day. Best served chilled, it tastes subtly nutty and not too sweet, making it a nice variation from regular lemonade.


  • 1 ⁄ 2 cup (100 g) pearl barley
  • 6 cups (1410 ml) water
  • Peel of 1 medium lemon, cut in wide strips
  • 1 ⁄ 4 cup (85 g) honey, or more to taste
  • Juice of 2 medium lemons (1⁄4 cup, or 60 ml)
  • 2 sprigs lemon balm or mint


  1. Rinse the barley under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well.
  2. Combine the barley, water, and lemon peel in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof container. Discard the lemon peel and reserve the barley for another use (toss it with vegetables and herbs to make a grain salad).
  4. Stir the honey into the hot barley water. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and herbs.
  6. Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container. Serve chilled.

Yield: About 1 quart (940 ml)

Variation: The barley can be replaced with hulled Job’s tears, a gluten-free grain that comes from a tall grass (Coix lacryma-jobi). Job’s tears can be found in East Asian grocery stores; it also grows wild in parts of the northeastern and southern United States.


More from Wild Drinks and Cocktails

Reprinted with permission from Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han and published by Quarto Publishing Group USA, 2015



Learn at Home!

Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020.


Become a Fermentation Member Today!


Discover how EASY and HEALTHY crafting your own money-saving fermented masterpieces can be. 

Transform mealtimes like never before and stay healthy at the same time with a one-year membership to Fermentation for only $29.95. Learn to regularly include fermented food and drinks in your diet naturally, combat bad bacteria and strengthen your immune system.

Fermentation will open up your world to the foods you can eat to improve your health. You'll learn how to make them, how they originated and what tools and ingredients you'll need to create your own delicious fermented foods and drinks. Become a member today and save as much as 25% off the newsstand price!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter