Switchel! AKA haymakers punch, swizzle, ginger water has been around for a long time, primarily as a hydrating drink. I like to call it the original Gatorade. Switchel is now enjoying a re-newed popularity. You can find many blog recipes for switchel, some health food stores are now stocking it and I recently was surprised to find a rhubarb switchel in a trendy New York restaurant, although I suspect it was made with a simple syrup and it was spiked with club soda: not exactly traditional, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Instead of actually fermenting, this particular beverage relies on pre-fermented apple cider vinegar. This is good news when you want something quick, and refreshing. It's an excellent drink for hydrating and a perfect substitute for soda.
Dump the Soda and Sports Drinks and Replace it with Switchel!
Switchel encourages better digestion and gut health. It settles an upset stomach and helps with heartburn and reflux. The raw apple cider vinegar can help to stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Adding a little non-iodized sea salt can further benefit hydration after working out and during hot summer weather. The salt in addition to the electrolytes in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup can help ease a headache. If you're up for it, add a pinch of cayenne to aid circulation and give your immune system a boost. However you like it, drink up! It's not only delicious, but beneficial.
The traditional ingredients for switchel are apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ginger and water. The amounts of each ingredient that you use are totally personal preference. Here are just a few reasons that this beverage is a winner:
Apple Cider Vinegar: Anti-Inflamatory, Pro-biotic, Electrolytes
Maple Syrup: Electrolytes, Minerals, Trace Antioxidants
Ginger: Anti-Inflamatory, Digestive Aid, Immune Booster
Fruit and Herbs: The other ingredients are traditional, but this one is my own addition and is totally optional; however, I think it makes all the difference. Adding fruit imparts wonderful flavor, and the ability to change the flavor. I have my favorite combinations such as berries and basil, but I often just throw in fruit scraps as I have them, such as mango pits, pineapple cores, apple cores etc. This allows me to make the most of my fruit scraps before they hit the compost bin.
1 Tbsp. organic, raw apple cider vinegar, with mother
1-2 Tbsp. organic, pure maple syrup
1 Inch fresh ginger, sliced, or chopped, 1/4-1/2 tsp. finely grated, or 1/8 tsp. powdered ginger
1/8 tsp. sea salt, optional
Fresh or frozen fruit, optional. Just a few pieces for a hint of flavor.
Fresh herbs, optional
1. Pour vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, salt and a few pieces of fruit and/or herbs into a quart mason jar
2. Fill with water to the bottom of the neck, where the bottle begins to narrow
3. Place a lid on the jar and shake to mix
4. Store switchel in the fridge up to one week
You can adjust the amount of vinegar to taste. You can use as little as 1 Tbsp, or as much as 1/4 cup.
You can also adjust the amount of maple syrup to your taste preferences. My brother-in-law prefers it with just the sweetness from the fruit, but my kids like the full amount. Allowing the fruit to steep for several hours in the liquid will impart additional sweetness and you may find you do not need as much sweetener.
Fruit is totally optional. But I love the flavor and variety it imparts. A small amount of fruit is all that is needed; just enough for a hint of flavor. My favorite is to add 3-4 strawberries, fresh or frozen. My daughter prefers to add blueberries.
Fresh herbs are another fun addition. Mint, basil and thyme are all good choices, just a few leaves is all that is needed.
Salt is optional, but provides a hydrating and electrolyte replenishing sports drink. Much better than Powerade or Gatorade!