Let me introduce you to a creamy and refreshing Mexican drink called Cebada. It’s a barley drink with a creamy, nutty, cinnamon and sweet flavor. Drink over ice and enjoy with your favorite Mexican meal.
What is Cebada?
Do you love horchata? I do! Well, this is its cousin name Cebada! The nutty & sweet flavor and the thick texture are irresistible! This popular drink is easier to make than horchata since there is no soaking time involved. The Cebada powder comes ready to be mixed with your favorite water, milk & sweetener.
This Cebada is barley grains turned into a fine flour ready for consumption. It is a classic agua fresca in Mexico. It is also popular in other latin American countries and it goes by Fresco De Cebada.
Did you know that the barley grain is the key element for the production of beer and Mexico is the world’s fourth largest producer of beer?
Key ingredients & substitutions
- Cebada powder
- The milks – 1 can of each: evaporated and condensed milk.
- Substitution – to keep it dairy free you can use a plant based milk and regular white sugar instead of the condensed milk for the sweetener. I have not tried it with alternative sweetener and if you choose so, select one with a mild flavor that will not overpower the main cebada flavor. Something like stevia will work.
- Extra flavoring – vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Some people like to add ground cloves and this is optional for you!
- Substitution – Instead of vanilla extract, you may use a little splash of almond extract.
Where can I buy ground cebada?
Find cebada in any Mexican grocery store in the drink or spice section. You can also find online store like amazon.
Note: Some versions are sold with sugar and cinnamon already added. If you find one like that, just reduce the amount of condensed milk or sugar you add and add only a little more cinnamon according to taste.
How To Make Agua De Cebada
- In a large pitcher, add the water and ground cebada. Stir well until all lumps are dissolved.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.
Always stir well before serving since the granules tend to settle at the bottom. Serve this barley water on a tall glass over ice and enjoy!
Optional: Garnish this refreshing drink with a cinnamon stick.
Cebada’s Health Benefits
Despite containing much more protein than wheat, it has less gluten and for that reason, it’s easier to digest. Barley also is rich in vitamins B and vitamin K and also turns out to be the cereal that provides the most fiber based on its total composition, with an impressive 17%.
As far as minerals go barley flour is well known to be a great source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine and sulfur. This makes it one of the flours/cereals with the most healthy properties!
Notes & Tips
- Cover and chill the mixture for an hour or two then serve it up with ice (that is. if you don’t drink it right away)! The longer it rests in the refrigerator the better it will taste. Although it’s pretty darn good from the get-go!
- I like to pour it into a tall glass full of ice cubes, but something you can do to prevent the drink from getting watered down is freeze some cebada in an ice cube tray and use these ice cubes instead of regular ice.
- Keep any leftover cebada stored in a pitcher or jug, in the fridge for up to a week.
Making Cebada drink from barley grains
If you can’t find the cebada in powder form, you can actually make this drink from the barley grains! The process is a little longer but the good news is that it is possible.
To make the flour you’ll need 1 pound barley grain.
Process to make the flour:
- Toast. In a large skillet, toast the grain on low-medium heat while constantly moving it with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once it’s lightly browned, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Ground. Use a high-power blender, food processor or coffee grinder, or any other equipment that makes fine flours. Grind a little bit at the time until the entire batch is made into a flour.
- Make the drink. Proceed to follow the instructions on the recipe card below.
What goes well with Cebada?
It goes with all Mexican dishes but it pairs perfectly well with anything spicy! The creamy texture & milky flavor is exactly what you need to sooth the palate. Enjoy it with favorite Mexican dishes that bring all the heat – tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, even chips and hot salsa – they are perfect for pairing with cebada.
Also, adults can feel free to add in a shot of rum to make it into a cocktail though this drink itself is nonalcoholic and can be enjoyed by everyone.
The perfect pairing.
What to serve with
This Cebada drink goes with any type of dish but here are a few more to inspire you for your next meal!
Agua De Cebada (Barley Drink)
- 64 ounces water
- 1 ½ cup cebada powder
- 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 12 oz condensed milk (or sugar to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a large pitcher, add the water and ground cebada. Stir well until all lumps are dissolved.1 ½ cup cebada powder, 64 ounces water
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.12 oz can evaporated milk, 12 oz condensed milk (or sugar to taste), 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Serve over ice.
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The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.