Written by on June 3, 2012 in Food - 5 Comments

By Miss South

Lots of people are having get togethers and parties for the long Jubilee weekend. Everyone loves a cucumber sandwich and strawberries, but drinks are trickier. What can you serve that will suit everyone of every age, not break the bank and not be so sugar loaded you can’t manage a nice slice of Victoria Sponge?  I think the answer lies with this home made lemon barley water based cocktail

Simple, inexpensive to make and equally good as it is or with a splash of gin, it went down well last week when I tried it out on some Eurovision revellers. Less bitter than commercial barley waters, it’s fresh and tangy and can be adjusted to your own tastes and made in big enough quantities to quench the thirst of even the biggest party!

Lemon Barley Water: (makes 2 litres/4 pints, but simply scale up to make more)

  • 225g pearl barley (look in the pulses section of stores)
  • 2 litres/4 pints of water
  • 5 lemons
  • 100g granulated sugar

Put the pearl barley in a large pot, cover with the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, skimming any froth off. Drain, setting the cooked barley aside and reserving the water separately. You can serve the cooked barley as a delicious salad.

Stir in the sugar while the water is still warm so it dissolves. Then add the juice of 5 lemons to get a creamy lemony flavour and allow it all to cool before bottling (I washed out some old fizzy water bottles and used those). It’ll store for 3 or 4 days in the fridge so can be made in advance.

To make the cocktail, add ice to a jug, before emptying in a punnet of blueberries and some chopped mint and mixing it round just enough to release the flavour of the mint and the berries, then top up with chilled lemon barley water and drink! The grown ups can add their spirit of choice or a splash of elderflower cordial if they so desire, but this is a one size fits all beverage for the big day. Apparently the Queen is rather fond of a bit of barley water herself…

Miss South blogs at North South Food


About the Author

Miss South is Food Editor for the Brixton Blog and Bugle. She blogs at and can be contacted at or Twitter @northsouthfood. If she isn't thinking about what to have for dinner or buying something in Brixton market she doesn't recognise but might deep fry anyway, she'll email you back as soon as possible...

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