Refreshing Summer Cooler – Lemon Barley Drink with Ginger

Lemon barley drink is a super easy refreshing recipe for hot summer days. It is especially good for humid weather in Hong Kong as from Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective barley can remove water retention.

The traditional recipe calls for pearl barley, lemon, water and rock sugar (or cane sugar). Instead of sugar, I replaced with raw honey in my recipe. Then I added ginger and cayenne pepper and created this even “stronger” water retention remedy. Lemon gives vitamin C and ginger is a great aid for digestion., making this recipe a great healthy summer drink.

Lemon Barley Drink with Ginger


  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 cup of lemon juice (or juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp of lemon rind.
  • 1/2 cup of pearl barley
  • 2 Tsp of ginger juice (from fresh ginger)
  • 2 Tsp of raw honey (or as you like)
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Rinse the barley well in a sieve under water until the water becomes clear. Drink the barley.
  2. Add barley to saucepan with the lemon rind & 8 cups water, Bring to boil then return to medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice and ginger.
  4. Turn the heat off. Let the drink stand for about 10 minutes. Then add raw honey. Mix it well until all the honey is dissolved.
  5. Strain and chill.
  6. Top with cayenne pepper before you serve.


  1. If you want a clearer texture for the drink, you can boil the barley first. Drain and discard the water, and then go back to Step 2.
  2. The reason why we need to let the drink stand before adding raw honey is because raw honey cannot be added with boiling water. Always mix honey with water under 70 degrees Celsius to retain all the nutrients.
  3. You can also drink this hot.
  4. You can replace lemon with lime, calamansi or kumquat.
  5. You can replace cayenne pepper with turmeric.
  6. Discarded barley can be mixed with some dried fruit & nuts and warm milk and makes a great breakfast.

*** I get raw honey from a Singaporean honey company called Yummi House. –
*** Addition of ginger and cayenne pepper is inspired by Flu Shot receipt by Nood Food –

3 thoughts on “Refreshing Summer Cooler – Lemon Barley Drink with Ginger

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