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Salvadoran Fresco de Cebada Recipe

Salvadoran Fresco de Cebada Recipe

Fresco de Cebada is El Salvador’s signature strawberry flavored pink drink. Fresco de cebada translates to English as fresh barley, which is somewhat a misnomer since there is no barley in this drink. This beverage is made from water, spices such as cloves and cinnamon, flour and sugar. The strawberry flavor comes from vanilla and strawberry essences.

Fresco de cebada is also popular in Peru and Nicaragua, however unlike the Salvadoran version, they contain barley, are not bright pink or strawberry flavored.

Fresco de Cebada is sometimes referred to as a horchata. Horchatas are a large family of beverages made from a variety of grain, nut ands seeds like barley and rice. They are usually water based and flavored with spices and sweetened.

Origin & Cultural Significance

It’s unclear why cebada or barley is in the title of the beverage when it does not contain any. It’s believed that at one point the drink was made with barley and eventually changed as it was passed down to contain the more attainable wheat and rice flours.

Fresco de Cebada

El Salvadoran Fresca de Cebada Recipe

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


  • Water - IL
  • Cinnamon stick - 1
  • Allspice berries - 5
  • Cloves - 5
  • Bread or rice flour – ¼ cup
  • Vanilla essence – 2 tbsp
  • Strawberry essence – 2 tbsp
  • Salt, pinch - 1
  • Sugar - to taste


  1. Boil the water with the cinnamon and cloves for 10 minutes
  2. Dissolve the flour in a cup of water.
  3. Add the dissolved flour to the boiling water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly.
  5. Add the vanilla and strawberry extracts.
  6. Add more water if the mixture is too thick and add sugar to your desired level of sweetness.
  7. Place in the refrigerator to cool before serving over ice cubes. Additionally you may blend with ice before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 80mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g

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