If you haven’t heard much about switchel, you can expect that to change very soon. Though it’s been around for decades, the delicious and nutritious drink often described as “nature’s Gatorade,” has been growing in popularity in recent years — especially among health enthusiasts.
The basic recipe for switchel includes apple cider vinegar, ginger, water, and a sweetener such as molasses. As its nickname “nature’s Gatorade” implies, switchel gives a boost of electrolytes courtesy of the apple cider vinegar, which studies suggest may also aid in weight loss. Plus, ginger is famous for being good for your gut, while preventing constipation and tummy irritation, according to Medical News Today.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, switchel has quite a rich history. The all-natural beverage traces its roots all the way back to colonial America, when farmers would quench their thirst with it while working in the fields. Nowadays, switchel has made a modern comeback as a hip, simple health drink with remarkable benefits.
Many old-time switchel recipes are still available, such as one from Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, a book published all the way back in 1853. That recipe calls for mixing a whopping 5 gallons of “good water,” 1/2 gallon of molasses, 1 quart of apple cider vinegar, and powdered ginger. Since most of us probably won’t be drinking quite that much switchel, public historian Eric Colleary recently reduced this recipe to a modern-day size on the blog American Table. All you need is 5 cups of cold water, 1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, and 3 tbsp. ground ginger.
But one of the best things about switchel is how customizable it is. You can stick with the traditional recipe or add some more nutritious ingredients to the mix. For example, some folks sub molasses for honey or maple syrup (any creative sweetener will do), while others add lemon juice to the mix for a citrusy boost.
One thing’s for sure about switchel: It’ll definitely “switch” on your imagination for more healthy recipes in the future!