Continuing with the complicated horchata family, let’s go on to horchata (or agua) de cebada, that is horchata of barley. Technically this is redundant because the word “horchata” comes from the Latin “hordeum” which means barley.
This horchata differs from English barley water. In England today barley water is lemonade made with the water in which barley has been boiled.
In Mexico, the barley is put in the blender to make a milky liquid flavored with (say) lime juice. It’s one of those shifts of emphasis that makes a great difference to the final product.
This simple recipe is adapted from one in El Gran Libro de la Cocina Mexicana: La Práctica (Larousse, 1993) by two of the great exponents of Mexican cooking, Alicia Gironella de’Angeli and Jorge De’Angeli. It uses lime to heighten the flavor.
For 2 quarts of agua de cebada, cook 4 tablespoons of barley in water until it is tender. Blend with half a cup of water. Add 1/3 cup of lime juice and sieve. Add water to make up 2 liters and add sugar to taste. Chill and serve cold.