A tradition hundreds of years old, Switchel, also known as Haymaker’s Punch, is an unbelievable refreshing summer drink!
Have you ever heard of switchel before? Or haymaker’s punch? If you’re like me, you’re scratching your head and saying “who with the what, now?”
Until about 3 weeks ago, I was completely in the dark about this glorious concoction, too.
But thank goodness for Anthony’s barber who was running 10 minutes behind schedule, and the life-changing article that Anthony just so happened to stumble upon while waiting (oh, and for a husband that gets as excited about new-to-him foods/beverages as you do).
Switchel or Haymaker’s Punch (the names are interchangeable, from the research I’ve done) is a fermented beverage that has been around for centuries, and was often served to farmers during hay harvesting season, as a way to rehydrate after long, hard hours in the field.
While this ancient concoction boasts numerous health benefits (lowers inflammation, boosts digestion and immune system, balances pH, and more) on top of being a great re-hydrator, that wasn’t what caught our eye.
Quite simply, it was the ginger.
Any other ginger drink fiends out there? Ever since we tried some homemade ginger beer at farmer’s market about 7 years ago, we’ve been absolutely hooked on any and every ginger beverage – bonus points if it’s so gingery that it straight up burns when it’s going down. So, obviously, we needed to try Switchel asap.
Luckily, it’s only a few easy ingredients, and is unbelievably simple to make. You’ll just need some fresh ginger, a lime (zest and juice), raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, water, and some seltzer water if you’re feeling
fizzy fancy. Oh, and a little patience as it sits overnight to ferment.
Traditionally, Switchel is made with blackstrap molasses but feel free to use either maple syrup or raw honey in its place. Truth be told, we haven’t even tried the traditional version yet because we didn’t have any blackstrap molasses on hand when we first made it, and, quite honestly, I love the taste of it using maple syrup so why mess with a good thing?
WARNING: This stuff has serious ginger potency, which is probably why we’ve made, and chugged, no less than 6 batches in the last 10 days. If you like a little ginger bite (ok, maybe a lot) at the end of ginger drinks, keep all the same! If you prefer a lighter ginger taste and a little more sweetness in a ginger drink, back off the ginger a bit and up the molasses/maple syrup/honey a tad. It’s all about making it work for you!
Cocktail fanatics: Anthony also says that it makes a mean adult beverage with a little bit of gin added – which I’m pretty sure negates all of the wonderful health benefits but OH WELL – and is the perfect refreshment on a hot summer night. Come October (post baby!) you better believe I’ll be giving that a shot ← no pun intended, but HA!
Used to make this recipe:
- 2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 2 Tablespoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar*
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, or raw honey**
- 2 cups of water
- 1 fresh lime, juice and zest
- 2 cups of seltzer water
- In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients except the seltzer water, stirring well.
- Transfer to a bottle or container with an air-tight lid, or cover very tightly/securely, and place the in refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, strain the switchel through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Add 2 cups seltzer water to the concentrated mix, stirring well.
** Feel free to add more sweetener, if you prefer a sweeter beverage