The other day, I went to my supermarket and bought a bottle of "barley water". I bought the traditional lemon flavor, though an orange-flavored variety was also present. I've included a photograph of the bottle which shows the label, in case any of my readers is curious about the brand; my husband said that this brand of barley water is as about as British as they come.
Then I learned, to my surprise, that the stuff in the bottle is a concentrate, and has to be cut with water (at least 4 parts water to one of the concentrate, said my husband) in order to get a drinkable beverage. He gave me a sip after mixing one up for himself.
It wasn't carbonated. It tasted a lot like lemonade, only much less sweet.
I think I like it. And since it's so low in calories and carbohydrates made up, it shouldn't give me blood sugar problems (I'm an insulin-dependent diabetic). I've just mixed up more for myself, according to the directions on the bottle (they suggest about 3 tablespoons of concentrate for every 8 ounces of water) and am finding the results very pleasant.
Now I wish I could ask my aunt what the barley water she drank as a girl back in the Old Country was like; unfortunately, she's been dead for more than a decade.