Barley Water & Orgeat



by Cat, Nov 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: Barley BrowniesBarley: A Low-Gluten & Nourishing but Forgotten Grain in the American DietUses of Cereal Grains, an Overview

This article includes the following topics:

  • Barley Water
  • Orgeat

Barley is one of the oldest cereal grains.  It is used in making beer (barley malt), bread and gruel.  The Greeks valued barley’s ability to give physical strength and mental alertness.  It is one of the few grains that can be grown above the Arctic circle. (3)

Barley water is an ancient and very nourishing and healing beverage.

See also: 1. Barley Brownies, 2. Barley: A Low-Gluten & Nourishing but Forgotten Grain in the American Diet, 3. Uses of Cereal Grains, an Overview

Barley Water

Barley water has many health benefits, especially for infants, the infirm, and the convalescent.  It is also a good tonic for the liver.  A similar beverage, Rejuvelac can be found on my Systemic Health site.

This first recipe if from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig.  Makes 1 quart.

Barley Water #1

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 4 Tbsp pearled barley
  • filtered water
  • juice of 1 lime
  • Local honey, or Rapadura sugar to taste
  • ¼ cup whey
  • double boiler


  1. Wash barley, cover with cold water, heat to boiling and discard this water.
  2. Place barley and 1 quart fresh filtered water in top of double boiler.  Simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Strain and cool.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Drink warm or cold

Barley Water, Version 2 

Here’s another recipe for barley water, from Alton Brown on the Food Network (6).  Makes two quarts.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup de-hulled barley
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • medium saucepan


  1. Place water and barley into saucepan.  Cover, set over high heat, and bring to a boil
  2. Decrease heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. While the liquid is cooking, peel lemons, being careful not to cut into the white pith.  Juice the lemons, and place juice and peel into a 3-quart pitcher and set aside.
  4. After barley has cooked, strain the barley water through a fine mesh strainer into the pitcher.  Discard the barley.  Add honey to pitcher, and stir to combine.
  5. Refrigerate until chilled, then serve.


Orgeat (pronounced ‘or-zsa’ as in Zsa Zsa Gabor) is a French beverage originally made from barley water and flavored with almonds and orange flowers.  See FX Cuisine (7) for an almond orgeat recipe that has eliminated the barley water. It makes a syrup (that is added as a flavoring to water or other beverages), and is flavored with the almonds, rose water, orange flower water and white sugar (I would use local honey).

I’d like to find a recipe for original orgeat (made with barley water), although I understand the barley was dropped when people realized it added nothing to the flavor (though it did add health benefits).

Orgeat Syrup recipe

This is my adaptation of the FX Cuisine recipe for Orgeat Syrup (7)

  • 300 gr blanched whole almonds, roughly chopped (about 10.6 ounces)
  • 100 gr white almond powder or almond meal (about 3.5 ounces)
  • 2 liters mineral water (about 2 quarts)
  • About 3 kg total fine-grind white sugar*, divided (about 15 cups granulated white sugar, at rate of 1 kg per 5 cups) or about 6.7 lb at rate of .45 kg per pound) OR 3 3/4 –  5 cups honey (to taste)
  • Rose water to taste
  • Orange flower water
  • Bitter almond extract

*note: the FX Cuisine list of ingredients says ‘white sugar’ but the instructions say ‘caster sugar’ which is fine-grind white sugar used for making sugar syrup .

  1. Place 400 grams of the sugar/honey in large pot. This is about one-tenth of the total sugar.
  2. Add chopped almonds and almond meal.
  3. Add minerals water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat to rest at room temperature for 12 hours.
  5. Strain through cheesecloth into cleaned large pot (determine tare amount for pot before adding the strained syrup, so you can subtract the tare from total weight of syrup in the pot).
  6. Warm storage bottles/jars with boiling water.
  7. Weigh the strained syrup using an accurate scale. Determine additional sugar to add based on the net weight of syrup (minus tare weight of the pot)  and 700gr caster sugar for every 500gr of strained liquid.
  8. Add the additional sugar.
  9. Place pot over low heat just long enough to dissolve the added sugar, heating to about 40°C or 104°F. Do not boil.
  10. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding a few drops of  additional flavorings.
  11. Transfer to warmed bottles/jars.
  12. After resting, the almond powder will form a layer on the top. This is normal; to get to the syrup, break through the powder layer with a skewer. Then cover bottle and shake.


  1. Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, with Mary G. Enig
  7. FX Cuisine recipe:
  8. Edible Missoula magazine, Fall 2008

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