Switch things up with a tasty switchel
I’d never heard of switchel until I was recently served this refreshing drink that tastes a lot like ginger beer. I couldn’t wait to get home and play around with the concept. It’s sometimes called switzel, swizzle, switchy, ginger-water or haymakers’ punch (because it was popular with colonial farmers looking for rehydration while haying fields). It’s a lot like a shrub (also known as ‘drinking vinegar’, typically made of vinegar infused with fruit juice plus herbs or spices and used as a base for cocktails or mocktails). Some feel switchel originated in the Caribbean, while others claim it hails from 19th century New England. It’s enjoying a resurgence today and there are several companies that produce bottled switchel beverages in Canada which you’re most likely to find at health food stores. Many believe switchel boosts the immune system and gut health, plus it’s enjoyed as a caffeine-free energy-booster that’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. If you like the taste of this sweet-sour beverage, you might also enjoy my lavender-blueberry shrub recipe.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup (or to taste) *
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger **
- 1/4 cup water
* or use your favourite sweetener such as honey, agave syrup, molasses or stevia
** substitute with 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground ginger though fresh is much better
- Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Cover and refrigerate at for at least three hours so flavours can blend.
- Before serving, give the jar a good shake. With a spoon, taste a small amount and adjust sweetener, if desired. If using fresh ginger, strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
- Pour into two glasses partially filled with ice or and top with cold water or chilled sparkling water.
Makes 2 drinks although recipe can easily be multiplied. Switchel syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month.