In honor of the Papal Visit to England…

… I am indulging in barley water as I watch and write notes.

I discovered Barley Water through the hospitality of Fr. Chris Basden at St. Bede’s in Clapham Park.

In the rectory kitchen it taunted me from the counter until one day I tried some at Father’s behest.

Better living through beverages.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ferreus says:

    Barley water?! What’s next, Rennet water?

  2. Roguejim says:

    Barley water is better if hops and yeast are added.

  3. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Good stuff, but terribly expensive here, so I make my own.

    It is quite good, especially on meatless days in Lent.

  4. Jbuntin says:

    Rob Cartusciello, Please tell us more!

  5. I don’t make my own barley water… yet. But I do make my own coffee!

  6. Jeffrey Morse says:

    It’s terribly refreshing, especially on a warm day, and MARVELOUS for the kidneys!

  7. medievalist says:

    Oh Father! Have the orange squash, never the barley stuff.

  8. Magpie says:

    When I drank Robinson’s barley water as a child, I always started wheezing and got itchy around my throat. Needless to say, I learned, slowly, that it was not good for me.

  9. Well, that does it. A glass of Pimms and Ale tonight and some Fish and Chips tomorrow with mushy peas.


    Fr Trigilio

  10. Magpie: You might try Mystic Monk Coffee instead!

  11. wanda says:

    Oh, I have never heard of such a thing. I’ve used Barley in soup, but, to drink?

    Father Z., will Sunday Supper include anything special in honor of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK?

  12. Martial Artist says:


    Barley water is better if hops and yeast are added.” And better still if no hops, but yeast is added, and the barley has first been toasted with a peat fire, following malting, and the end product distilled. If it is then aged in oak casks in Scotland for a minimum of three years and one day (preferably longer), bottled unchillfiltered and at cask strength, you have something truly wonderful, uisge beatha, the water of life in Scots Gaelic. I can cheerfuly drink to that.

    Pas et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer
    (Member (#6018), Scotch Malt Whisky Society (USA); Friend of Laphroaig; Friend of the Classic Malts; Companion of Aberlour.

    [The common belief that whisky improves with age is true. The older I get, the more I like it.][Ronnie Corbett]

  13. wanda: Sunday Supper in honor of Pope Benedict in England?


    Perhaps beef roast with Yorkshire Puddings and a pint of bitter?

  14. TonyLayne says:

    @ Keith Töpfer: Hmm … must be a matter of taste. Far better—at least for me—to leave off with the peat and distill it three times, thus giving us “the crayture”: Irish whiskey. (I have Celtic ancestors on both sides of the Irish Sea, so it’s not a matter of ethnic pride.)

  15. shadowlands says:

    I agree with Jeffrey Morse, any kidney or bladder complaint, the stuff clears up in a jiffy!!

    What a great name by the way, Morse. He’s my favourite Inspector. I’ve recently acquired every episode ever made. An unwanted collection, someone gave to me.

  16. wanda says:

    Nice, Father Z. (beef roast, etc.) I don’t know what Yorkshire Puddings are, but I look forward to checking in on Sunday to see all the details. Have a blessed weekend, I know it has been amazing to watch our Holy Father’s visit in the UK.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    I love Barley Water. As to Yorkshire Pudding, the first time I made it for my husband many, many years ago, it came out like tofu. Yuk. The key is to have really hot drippings before adding it to the roast. Some cheat and bake it in another pan, but that’s not British. The Sun and BEEB reported that the Pope drank an Orange Fanta, like our orange soda, when visiting the Queen. Amazing-he is now a “man of the people”.

  18. Desertfalcon says:

    Barley water and puddings…it’s a wonder the English ever subdued my people. Nothing is better for what ails you than some pluck in a Haggis, washed down with a wee bit of the king o’ drinks.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    They call pluck “offal” for a reason, DF.

    I have eaten the “great chieftain o’ th’ puddin’ race” at a Burns night dinner . . . but only in the spirit of the event.

    As a descendant of the Highlanders, give me some nice collops of loin beef or venison any day. Absolutely agree on a little of ‘the creature’ – Islay especially, Laphroaig for choice. Although I tasted some ‘Fiddich Nadurra last night . . . mmmmmm.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    Btw, our local supermarket laid on a “British Food Section” a couple of months ago. We go down that aisle to point and laugh. Some of the stuff on the shelves is just weird.

    But they do feature barley water and Ribena concentrate, as well as a wide selection of sweets. And HP sauce. And I love the bitter rough-cut marmalade, which you can’t get here (until now)

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I don’t know if AnAmericanMother is as lacking in enthusiasm for beef or calves’ liver as for ‘lights’ and other offal (I love offal-rich faggots [anyone about to freak out, at this point: do, please, check a good English dictionary or cook book, first!], myself, and as a student used to economize by leaving the beef out of my beef and kidney pies (a taste for this asked some acquiring) – but I digress), but a passable ‘pan haggis’ can be made using only ground or minced liver, in a pressure cooker (so, no pluck – or even pudding bowl).

    But Rob Cartusciello has not yet posted his recipe for barley water, and no one has offered an alternative, so – with the hope that I violate no copyrights and the hearty encouragement to all to get ahold of a copy of Polly Pindar’s ‘Drinks’ (London: Search, 1978) for yourselves – I will pass on her recipe, which we have enjoyed, and for which I here thank her most heartily!:

    Put 225g (8 oz) pearl barley in a pan, just cover with water, boil, and drain. Pour 2.5 l (7 US pints) of cold water over the barley and put this on a low heat. Chop five lemons and five limes [obviously you could vary this: we’ve done all-lemon] into small pieces (or liquidize them [perhaps organic is to be preferred!]) and add to the barley. Bring to the boil and then simmer for an hour.

    Pour the pulp into muslin and allow the juices to drip. The bag may be squeezed gently to encourage the thick barley sediment through the cloth. Return the juices to a low heat and add 280g (10 oz)of sugar. Stir until it dissolves. Leave to cool. Bottle and refridgerate. Dilute to taste. She adds, “Large quantities should be processed and waxed.”

    Obviously, you can try smaller batches, though if you follow her times (I have never yet experimented here – or with a pressure-cooker!) that makes it even more ‘stove-top fuel’ expensive.

    And you must ponder creative uses, e.g., in a soup or dessert for all that ‘leftover’ lemon(-lime)y cooked barley…

    She says, “Serve as a summer drink with ice and slices of lima and lemon” – but it is not only delicious in heat of the summer.

    I suspect the Sherman brothers have a lot to answer for, over the last couple generations: “Doesn’t smell of barley water” indeed!

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    If Yorkshire Pudding looks daunting, and you shy from baking it in another pan, look out for a good “toad in the hole” recipe, to experience some of its delights, that way!

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Ought I have mentioned (for Lynn & Jay fans) that for “toad in the hole” you need the British Emulsified High-Fat Offal Tube, or its equivalent?

  24. Panterina says:

    Barley water = orzata!

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