One venture into a natural foods store, and you can’t help but notice the hosts of functional beverages in the marketplace. Kombucha (personal favorite), coconut water, chia drinks, protein shakes, and on and on and on. I have always been a fan of the DIY approach – brewing Kombucha in my condo, buying young coconuts for the freshest in coconut water, brewing my own loose leaf tea, and even a misbegotten adventure in hard cider. In keeping with the tradition of ancient and holistic beverages (made at home), I recently heard of barley water. A big fan of eating barley, I was intrigued, and dug a little deeper.
Barley water is an ancient beverage revered for its tonic properties. Its list of reported benefits is surprisingly long – from anti-aging, soothing digestive inflammation, and expulsion of toxins to treating urinary tract infections, acting as a mild diuretic, and nourishing the kidneys during times of stress.
In fact, barley water recently received accolades on NPR for its skin-nourishing capabilities, and, upon a brief google search, I even came across an Alton Brown recipe on Food Network – I feel so behind the times!
I decided to give it a try, and made a very basic barley water than can be sweetened with fresh fruit juices, honey, or citrus (such as lemon or lime). I followed the premise behind Alton’s recipe, and gently simmered hulled barely in purified water for a little over half an hour. I let the water cool and poured a glass – it was mild, unoffensive, and bland. I stirred in a small amount of raw honey and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. This immediately perked it up and made it undeniably refreshing – I immediately imagined sipping this in my yard this summer while taking a break from tending to the garden.
My intention is to drink at least a glass a day for several weeks – I am intrigued by its benefits and can’t wait to report back on what I find!
Have you tried this drink yet? What are your thoughts on functional beverages?