If you've never heard of switchel before, you can expect to start hearing about it pretty soon. The delicious and nutritious drink that's often been described as "nature's Gatorade" has been slowly growing in popularity in recent years — especially among health enthusiasts. And when you find out the benefits of the beverage, you'll want to come up with your own recipe for switchel, too.
What is switchel?
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, switchel has quite a rich history behind it. The all-natural beverage traces its roots all the way back to colonial America. During that time period, farmers would sip this beverage to quench their thirst while working hard outside in the fields — and the ingredients they chose certainly helped them out. Nowadays, switchel has made a modern comeback as a hip, simple health drink with remarkable benefits.
The basic recipe for switchel typically includes apple cider vinegar, ginger, water, and a sweetener such as molasses. As its nickname "nature's Gatorade" implies, switchel does give you a boost of electrolytes from the apple cider vinegar. But that's not the only great thing about switchel. Apple cider vinegar may also aid with weight loss as part of a healthy diet, studies suggest. And since this vinegar-based drink also includes ginger, it's worth noting that the nutritious spice is famous for being good for your gut. Not only can it aid with digestion, it can also help prevent constipation and irritation in your tummy, according to Medical News Today.
How to Make Switchel at Home
If you decide to make switchel at home, it's up to you to figure out how traditional you want the recipe to be. There are many old-time switchel recipes 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.
Now, many of us don't have the time or energy to make quite that much switchel. Luckily, public historian Eric Colleary recently reduced this recipe to a modern-day size on the blog American Table: 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 most fun things about switchel is how customizable it is. While many folks prefer to stick to the traditional recipe, there's nothing stopping you from adding extra nutritious ingredients to the mix. For example, some folks sub molasses for honey or maple syrup (any creative sweetener will do). Others simply 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!