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How to Make Lemon Barley Water

It's official name is simply "Barley Water", but thanks to it's modern popularity as a bottled cordial sold in Britain under the Robinson's brand name, it is usually referred to as "Lemon Barley Water".

"The Official Drink of Wimbledon"

The oldest tennis tournament in the world is held every June at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in the south London suburb of Wimbledon, England. It holds the distinction of being the only tournament among the four "grand slam" events still being played on grass courts.

Wimbledon - the tournament - attracts worldwide interest and products associated with the event get a very high profile. Perhaps the most famous product associated with Wimbledon is the soft drink provided to players during the tournament - Lemon Barley Water.

Barley Water is a Health Drink

It was first served at Wimbledon in 1934 (excuse the pun). Beverages prepared from barley date back to ancient times and have always been regarded as health drinks with curative powers for ailments such as cystitis.

The commercial product produced in the UK under the Robinson's brand contains a lot of sugar. Not a problem if you burn as many calories as a championship tennis player, but for those of us who could use a few less calories in our intake, the homemade version can be prepared with an artifical sweetener. I am not aware of a "diet" version of Robinson's Barley Water.

Rhubarb Barley Water?

As I said at the beginning of this post, the official name of the drink is simply "Barley Water". The beverage can be flavoured with your choice of fruit juice. In fact Wimbledon experimented with several flavours including lime, orange and rhubarb.

Robinson's (now part of the Britvic corporation) produces lemon and orange barley waters as cordials (meaning they are sold as a concentrate for dilution with water).

Buy Robinson's Barley Water at Blighty's and Nobody Gets Hurt

Sure, you can be lazy and buy a bottle of Wimbledon's finest beverage at Blighty's Tuck Store, but it's more fun to make it yourself. Just be aware that you will use a lot of fuel and that will cause accelerated global warming so you will be responsible for destroying the ability of this planet to sustain human life.

Not convinced? Neither am I, so here's the recipe:

  • 50g of pearl barley
  • 2 litres of water
  • One lemon
  • Sugar or Splenda


  1. Put the pearl barley in a pan, cover with just a little water and bring to the boil
  2. As soon as the water is boiling, remove from the heat, strain and discard the water
  3. Add the 2 litres of water to the barley
  4. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water
  5. Dice the lemon rind and add it to the water
  6. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour and a half
  7. Cool and strain into a pitcher; sweeten to taste
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  1. Thank you! As a transplaned Brit with cystitis this is just what myj mother would have ordered!

  2. Thank you. I am glad you liked the recipe and I am pleased to hear your endorsement of the health benefits of barley water.


  3. It was a great guide, many thanks, now to make lemon barley water is very easy with your suggestions. Kudos

  4. Most of the people are does't know the benefits of Barley Water. In Olden days most of the people live long because of drinking barley water. nice information Thanks