[Sca-cooks] barley water

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Nov 26 20:29:41 PST 2007

On Nov 26, 2007, at 11:16 PM, Heleen Greenwald wrote:

> Thanks for the good explanation Master A!  Can you explain to me
> though, why people would want to drink "...basically water boiled
> with barley until it has taken on a  starchy, slightly mucilaginous
> viscosity..."  sounds.... uhm, like something that I have to drink as
> a prep before a certain test that I have to take every year.  <trying
> to be delicate here.>

Resemblance to various test prep beverages notwithstanding, it was  
considered in period to be nourishing for those with weak digestion,  
cooling for people with fevers, and it coated and soothed the throat  
for those with various ailments there. With rock sugar it could help  
as an expectorant for people with bronchitis, etc.

As for the ever-popular mucilaginous viscosity, it must be borne in  
mind, in fairness, that this is in comparison to plain water. It's not  
sludge; when properly diluted it has a mouth feel somewhat like almond  
or dairy milk.

> I've never tasted actual barley water myself, but I have seen/heard
> it referred to in  UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS as a drink for young women in
> lieu of wine/fortified wine.

Barley water seems to have been especially in vogue in the Victorian  
and Edwardian eras, at around the same time there was something of a  
peak in the use of malt in non-brewing applications. Either prevailing  
medical theory, some marketing thing, or both, probably.


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