Mrs Maclurcan’s wholesome summer barley water


  • 200g (1 cup) barley
  • 4 oranges
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1l (4 cups) boiling water


This 'Wholesome summer drink' is from Nina Terry's edition of Mrs Maclurcan's cookery book (c1903), from the Rouse Hill Estate collection. It's extremely easy to prepare and delicious to drink!

Makes 2 litres


Rinse the barley in cold water, drain and transfer to a large heatproof jug (minimum 3-litre capacity).

Peel the zest from the oranges and lemons in thick strips, removing any excess white pith with a small sharp knife. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the jug along with the lemon and orange zest (keep the orange flesh for another use, or just eat it!).

Add the sugar to the jug and pour in the boiling water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 litre (4 cups) of cold water and set aside for several hours for the flavours to infuse. Strain the barley water into a clean bottle or jug, discarding the solids. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Serve chilled.

Have you tried this recipe?

Use the comments box below to upload comments and photos.