[Sca-cooks] How old is barley water?

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Thu May 17 07:19:35 PDT 2007

That combination turns up in the 17th century in books on cures for the

And for his drink, the decocted water  of barley,
boyled with a little licorice is best, being mixed with the juice of a
Lemon, Citron, Pomegranate, or Rybes: which the sick best liketh, for
either of them is very good.

And for his diet, he must refrain from all salt, fat, thick and sharp
meats: and from all sweet things either in meat or drink, his meat must
be of a facile and easie digestion, and that hath a cooling property in
it, as broth wherein burrage, bugloss, sorrell, and such like are
boyled, and for ordinary drink, small beer or ale is best. page 56

from A treatise concerning the plague and the pox by Edwards. 1652.


> On May 17, 2007, at 8:05 AM, Volker Bach wrote:snipped
>>  Now I'm wondering whether barley water
>> makes sense. it sounds interesting and gets mentioned
>> quite a bit in 'period' contexts, but is it
>> documentable?
> I'm almost positive there's a licorice-flavored barley-water for the  
> sick in Le Menagier...
> Of course, there was the time we made a completely unfermented ale  
> the morning of an East Kingdom Twelfth Night, and everyone wanted to  
> know if the sweet iced tea we were serving was period...
> Adamantius
> _______________________________________________

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