Lemon Mint Barley Water

June 27, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

It's Wimbledon time back home in England, which brings to mind several things. Rain firstly, then strawberries and cream, then this, lemon barely water. Made by Robinsons, it's one of the official drinks at Wimbledon, and for me, one of the true tastes of summer. I'd never thought of making my own until I came across a recipe in Psychologies magazine - such a great idea! I couldn't wait to try it (if only because the real deal is so hard to find here in the States). I made a couple of amendments - I added fresh mint, which muddles wonderfully with lemon, and less sugar (I don't like really sweet drinks - this is 'tangy', you could add more if you prefer sweeter). —cooklynveg

Test Kitchen Notes

This is exactly what we want to be drinking in July. With a bit more heft from the barley, this drink also has a softer, more pleasant mouthfeel that makes it stand apart from run-of-the-mill, summer lemonades. Tart from lemon and not too sweet, this is our new go-to refresher. —Food52

  • Serves 6
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 lemons, unwaxed or scrubbed of the wax coating
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 6 cups water
In This Recipe
  1. Rinse the pearl barley and place in a large saucepan. Cover with the water and place on a high heat, and bring to a boil. Bring it down to a simmer, and cook for about 60 minutes, or until the barley is soft.
  2. When it's done, skim off any foam and drain the cooking water in to a large bowl (keep the barley for whatever dish you want - I made a barley, spinach and green pea salad).
  3. Add the zest of the lemons and sugar to the barley water and leave to steep until cool. Next, add the juice of the three lemons (I added about half a cup of water at this stage to dilute it slightly) and chill in the fridge. Taste, and adjust sweetness to your liking.
  4. Pour over ice, muddle with fresh mint and serve with tennis.
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