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Barley water is a traditional drink consumed in various parts of the world. Drinking boiled grain in water, strained or not, is an ancient practice.
Variations of barley water include:
- Kykeon (Gr. κυκεών - kykeōn, from κυκάω, "to stir, to mix") was an ancient Greek drink made mainly of water, barley and naturally occurring substances. It was used at the climax of the Eleusinian Mysteries to break a sacred fast, but it was also a favourite drink of Greek peasants.
- In Spanish speaking countries they have Agua de cebada which is made with barely flour and may add milk or fruit.
- The British version is made by boiling washed pearl barley, straining, then pouring the hot water over the rind and/or pulp of a lemon, adding fruit juice and sugar to taste. The rind may also be boiled with the barley.
- Eastern and Southeastern Asian versions are typically not strained and may be consumed hot or cold, with or without lime. These kinds of barley water generally include the strained grain within the drink. Hot barley water is often served with a spoon and cold barley water with a straw so that the soft-boiled grains can be eaten.
- Roasted barley tea is also a popular East Asian drink, but the taste and texture are very different from barley water, with no barley in the tea.
- It is also a popular drink among Punjabi peasants. It is called 'sattu' in Punjabi.