- Hand crafted switchel & AWARD Winning pickles
- What is Switchel Fizz?
- Hobby Farmer Switchel is available in three varieties
- Beverage Guidelines from the Experts
- Putting It All Together: A Sample Beverage Plan
- The Truth About the Switchel Trend
- Why Switchel Is the Gut-Friendly Drink You Need
- I Tried Switchel and I’ll Never Drink Another Energy Drink Again
- What is a Switchel?
- TOP 10 Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar:
- What or who is the “mother”?
- Switchel Recipe
- This New Daily Health Tonic Aids Digestion & Improves Gut Health
- RECIPE: Berry Merry Punch
- 5 Benefits of Switchel
Hand crafted switchel & AWARD Winning pickles
What is Switchel Fizz?
Switchel Fizz is an all natural pre-biotic beverage that gives you energy, relieves inflammation, and is good for digestion. Brewed from perfect proportions of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Ginger Juice, pure Clover Honey, and crystal clear Minnesota water, our Switchel Fizz replaces electrolytes, balances your bodies pH, cleanses your kidneys and liver, and is packed with the many other health benefits of Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Cayenne.
Only 90 calories per 12 oz serving, and has no artificial ingredients, sweeteners, preservatives, or gluten. Best of all, it’s a delicious tasting alternative to sugary energy drinks, sodas, or ginger beer. It’s an excellent thirst quencher on a hot day, or makes a great cocktail mixer that is half the calories of other artificially sweetened tonics.
Switchel has been used for centuries by hard working farmers, who used it to take away pain and inflammation and provide them the energy to work hard day after day in the hot fields. Along with Kombucha, Apple Cider Vinegar based drinks like Switchel Fizz are making a comeback with people who know and understand the value of maintaining their health in a natural and holistic way.
Hobby Farmer Switchel is available in three varieties
Turmeric | Cinnamon | Cayenne Ingredients and Nutrition Info
- Beverage Guidelines from the Experts
- Tea and Coffee
- Low-Fat and Skim Milk and Soy Beverages
- Noncalorically Sweetened Beverages
- Caloric Beverages with Some Nutrients
- Calorically Sweetened Beverages
- Putting it All Together: A Sample Beverage Plan
In the beginning there was water—abundant, refreshing, providing everything the body needs to replenish the fluids it loses. Humans relied on it as their only beverage for millions of years. Milk came next, with the advent of agriculture and the domestication of animals. Then beer and wine and coffee and tea, all drunk for taste and pleasure as much as for the fluids they provide. The newcomers—soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and the like—offer hydration but with a hefty dose of unnecessary calories that the body may have a hard time regulating.
With so many choices, all with different, sometimes unexpected effects on health, it’s easy to be confused about the “best” beverages for health. This prompted a group of nutrition experts from across the U.S. to form the independent Beverage Guidance Panel. These six researchers, including Dr. Walter C. Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, reviewed the evidence on beverages and health and ranked categories of beverages into six levels, based on calories delivered, contribution to intake of energy and essential nutrients, and evidence for positive and negative effects on health. (1) The winner? Water. But that doesn’t mean that water is the only beverage that’s good for your health, or that everyone needs to drink eight glasses of water a day.
Beverage Guidelines from the Experts
The Beverage Guidance Panel distilled its advice into a six-level pitcher, much as food experts have done with the food pyramid. The group published its recommendations in the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Here is a description of each level:
Level 1: Water
Water provides everything the body needs—pure H2O—to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste. It’s the perfect beverage for quenching thirst and rehydrating your system. When it comes from the tap, it costs a fraction of a penny per glass. Water should be the beverage you turn to most of the time.
It’s impossible to set a single requirement for how much water the hypothetical average American needs each day. The amount you need depends on how much you eat, what the weather is, and how active you are. So instead of setting an estimated average requirement for water, as it has done for other nutrients, the Institute of Medicine has set an adequate intake of 125 ounces (about 15 cups) for men and 91 ounces for women (about 11 cups). (5) Note that this is not a daily target, but a general guide. In most people, about 80% of this comes from beverages; the rest comes from food. As for the oft-repeated nutrition advice to “drink eight glasses of water every day,” there’s little evidence to support it, but this would be one excellent way to fulfill most of a person’s fluid requirement.
Level 2: Tea and Coffee
After water, tea and coffee are the two most commonly consumed beverages on the planet. Drunk plain, they are calorie-free beverages brimming with antioxidants, flavonoids, and other biologically active substances that may be good for health. Green tea, especially the strong variety served in Japan, has received attention for its potential role in protecting against heart disease, while coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes. (2, 3) More research on the health benefits of tea and coffee is needed, but one thing is for certain: The addition of cream, sugar, whipped cream, and flavorings can turn coffee or tea from a healthful beverage into a not-so-healthful one. For example, a 16-ounce Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino with Chocolate Whipped Cream contains 470 calories. Tucked in this beverage (which is actually closer to a dessert) are 12 grams of saturated fat—nearly a day’s worth—and 71 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar. (4) Keep in mind that for pregnant women, the jury is still out on whether high coffee or caffeine intakes increase the risk of miscarriage, but it seems prudent to limit caffeinated beverages to one cup per day. Learn more about coffee and health.
Level 3: Low-Fat and Skim Milk and Soy Beverages
For children, milk is a key source of calcium and vitamin D. Fortified soy milk is a good alternative source of calcium and vitamin D for those who prefer not to drink’s cow’s milk. Both are also good sources of protein and other essential micronutrients. Low-fat milk, sold as 1% or 1.5% milk, or skim milk, which is virtually fat-free, are the best choices because they contain much less saturated fat than reduced-fat milk or whole milk, which contain 2% and 4% milk fat, respectively. Even low-fat milk is high in calories, and high levels of consumption may increase the risk of prostate and ovarian cancer (see The Nutrition Source article Calcium and Milk: What’s Best for Your Bones and Health? for more information). So it’s best for adults to limit milk (and all dairy products) to a glass or two a day; less is fine, as long as you get enough calcium from other sources. For growing children, the ideal amount of milk and calcium is less clear, but not pushing beyond two glasses of milk per day appears to provide sufficient nutrition without being excessive.
Level 4: Noncalorically Sweetened Beverages
So-called diet sodas and other diet drinks are sweetened with calorie-free artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal®, NutraSweet®, others), saccharin (Sweet’N Low®, Necta Sweet®, others), or sucralose (Splenda®); a new addition to the market are drinks sweetened with stevia, a calorie-free sweetener made from the leaves of a South and Central American shrub. These diet drinks are a better choice than sugar-sweetened soft drinks because they are lower in calories. But the possibility that they may contribute to weight gain suggests that they aren’t an innocuous alternative to water, and should be drunk as the occasional treat rather than as a daily beverage. For those who find it difficult to give up full-calorie soda, these may be useful in making the transition to healthier beverages, like a nicotine patch can do for smokers.
Level 5: Caloric Beverages with Some Nutrients
This category includes fruit juice, vegetable juice, whole milk, sports drinks, vitamin-enhanced waters, and alcoholic beverages. Each has its pluses and minuses. One-hundred-percent fruit juice has most of the nutrients of the fruit itself, but it usually delivers more energy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than one serving (4 ounces) of 100% fruit juice as part of the daily fruit intake. Fruit smoothies are usually very high in calories, and so aren’t recommended as daily beverages. Vegetable juice is a lower calorie alternative to fruit juice, but may contain a lot of sodium. Whole milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, but has nearly twice the calories as skim milk. Whole milk is also a significant source of saturated fat, with 4.5 grams per glass. Sports drinks have fewer calories than soft drinks, and offer small amounts of sodium, chloride, and potassium. They aren’t needed by casual athletes or daily walkers. The only people who really need them are endurance athletes who exercise for more than an hour at a stretch and who sweat a lot. Vitamin-enhanced waters, meanwhile, are not necessary for anyone who takes a daily multivitamin, and adding vitamins to a sugary drink does not make it a healthy choice. Alcohol may have benefits for some but may be hazardous for others, and entire books have been written on the subject (see The Nutrition Source article Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits for more information).
Level 6: Calorically Sweetened Beverages
The Beverage Guidance Panel gave its “least recommended” designation to beverages that are sweetened with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other high-calorie sweeteners and that have few other nutrients. These include carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, lemonade, and other “ades.” They get the thumbs down as a daily beverage because they provide so many calories and virtually no other nutrients. Routinely drinking these beverages can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fruit smoothies, many flavored coffee and tea drinks, and some so-called energy drinks also fall into this category. (For a handy guide to the calories and sugar in popular beverages, see How Sweet Is It? on The Nutrition Source.)
Putting It All Together: A Sample Beverage Plan
Your body would be perfectly content if you drank nothing but water. You would get all the fluid you need, and you would get all of your nutrients from food. But with so many choices available, most people drink a variety of beverages. To give some perspective to choosing beverages, the Beverage Guidance Panel poured its recommendations into a pitcher (see our version above). The exact number of ounces isn’t what’s important—these are given for a typical person taking in 2,200 calories a day. What matters are the proportions. Here’s one way the Panel suggests getting less than 10 percent of daily calories from beverages:
- At least half of your daily fluid should come from water. For a person who needs 12 cups of fluid a day, that would mean six cups of water. More is fine—up to 100% of your daily beverage needs.
- About one-third (or about three to four cups) can come from unsweetened coffee or tea. If you flavor your coffee or tea with a lot of sugar, cream, or whole milk, then drinking less would help manage weight. If you take a pass on coffee or tea, choose water instead.
- Low-fat milk can make up another 20 percent, or about two 8-ounce glasses. Less is fine, just make sure you get your calcium from another source.
- A small glass (4 ounces) of 100% fruit juice, and no more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks for men or no more than 1 for women.
- Ideally, zero “diet” drinks made with artificial sweeteners, but up to 1 to 2 glasses (8 to 16 ounces) a day (this is adapted from the Beverage Guidance Panel’s original recommendation of up to 32 ounces per day).
- Ideally, zero drinks sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, but up to a maximum of 8 ounces.
*Suggested beverage consumption pattern for a person who requires 2,200 calories per day, providing 10 percent of calories from beverages. The values 50, 28, 16, and 4 fluid ounces are shown for illustrative purposes only; the total should sum to 98 fluid ounces, as shown at the top of the figure. The range listed at each level refers to the Beverage Guidance Panel’s suggested consumption range for each beverage. Caffeine is a limiting factor for coffee and tea consumption; up to 400 mg per day, or approximately 32 fluid ounces of coffee per day (can replace water). Noncalorically sweetened beverages can substitute for tea and coffee with the same limitations regarding caffeine, up to 16 fluid ounces per day (this is adapted from the Beverage Guidance Panel’s original recommendation of up to 32 fluid ounces per day). Adapted with permission from Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (2006; 83:529-542), © American Society for Nutrition.
1. Popkin BM, Armstrong LE, Bray GM, Caballero B, Frei B, Willett WC. A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2006; 83:529-542.
2. Kuriyama S, Shimazu T, Ohmori K, Kikuchi N, Nakaya N, Nishino Y, Tsubono Y, Tsuji I. Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki study. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2006; 296:1255-1265.
4. Starbucks beverage details: Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino® blended coffee with Chocolate Whipped Cream. Accessed on March 28, 2009.
The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.
The Truth About the Switchel Trend
Thinking about switching out your post-workout drink for trendy switchel? This drink, also known as “haymaker’s punch” from farmers who drank it while harvesting crops, has been touted to provide health benefits and potassium. But these claims need a second look.
Switchel is made from ginger, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice, and maple syrup mixed with water, sparkling water or—if you’re feeling festive this weekend—your favorite liquor. Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as beneficial for blood sugar control if you have diabetes, soothing for a sore throat, and helpful for weight loss. Still, there are few studies that support these claims. Ginger has also been used to aid in digestion and relieve an upset stomach, but again, more studies are needed.
Surprisingly, the drink does have more potassium than some popular rehydration drinks—even though the amount of potassium from the maple syrup and the vinegar hardly surpasses 1 to 2 percent of the daily recommended amount. Apart from potassium, apple cider vinegar and ginger have little to offer by way of vitamins or minerals.
While switchel may be a refreshing summer drink, I’d hardly say it’s the new miracle health elixir. That said, it’s a harmless, refreshing beverage you should feel free to drink in reasonable amounts.
Why Switchel Is the Gut-Friendly Drink You Need
From kombucha to coconut water, there are plenty of trendy drinks that have been touted as ultra-hydrating and gut-friendly. But one you may not have heard about that’s increasing in popularity is switchel.
WHAT IS SWITCHEL?
A simple mix of water, vinegar and ginger that’s sweetened with molasses, maple syrup or honey, switchel has actually been around for a long time. It was a staple among New England farmers in the 17th century who referred to it as haymaker’s punch since it was served during hay harvest season. Now, it’s back, popping up on menus and in grocery stores as a trend amongst health-conscious folks looking to quench their thirst, replenish electrolytes and keep their guts happy.
Think of switchel as an all-natural sports drink filled with electrolytes. The ginger helps reduce inflammation and the vinegar aids in digestion. It can be served sparkling or still, cold or hot. And while it’s easy to make at home (simply combine apple cider vinegar with fresh grated ginger and maple syrup or honey, shake and dilute with water) there are plenty of brands on the market offering quality, ready-to-drink, bottled switchel.
BRANDS TO TRY
When Melina Lamer, founder of the Minneapolis-based Superior Switchel, first started making switchel, she didn’t even know it. “I was brewing ginger tea and blending with apple cider vinegar (per my grandmother’s suggestion to get more apple cider vinegar in my diet). To make it taste better, I added a little honey,” she says. Years later, Lamer realized her home remedy actually had a name and started selling it at farmers markets. Today, the recipe she uses is a bit less spicy than her original, and she adds light carbonation to the drink as well.
Ely Key, founder of the Vermont-based Up Mountain Switchel, knew exactly what he was doing when he launched his brand. “I was thirsty for something delicious that was not available on the shelves and was aware of the anti-inflammatory, alkaline and low-glycemic health properties of ginger root, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup,” he says. “It was also an opportunity to disrupt the wasteful and sugar-industry-supportive beverage scene and celebrate something cool from American culture.” He started the brand in his family’s Vermont farmhouse, and used local chefs, farmers and athletes as taste testers until finally tweaking the recipe to perfection: a mix of apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger (not ground) and maple syrup (because, after all, it was Vermont).
WHY MAKE THE SWITCH TO SWITCHEL?
“Switchel, unlike kombucha, is not a fermented drink. It’s a drink with a fermented ingredient, i.e. apple cider vinegar,” Lamer explains. “This is beneficial because we have zero chance of containing any alcohol, which many kombucha companies are being sued over. also not a tea-based drink, so there’s zero caffeine, which isn’t even needed because the ingredients are all naturally energizing.” She adds that there are no refined sugars in a properly made switchel. “More sugar goes into making a cup of kombucha than a cup of soda,” Key adds. Instead, the mix is sweetened with honey or maple syrup, “both of which are high in minerals, B vitamins and are low-glycemic,” Lamer says.
“Luckily it also tastes delicious,” Key says. Tart and spicy with just the right amount of sweetness, it’s a lot more satisfying than shooting straight apple cider vinegar in the morning and a lot better for you than swigging artificially flavored sports drinks after a hard workout.
Photo: Getty Images
There’s a new healthy drink in town for you to spend $4 on after a workout. While pressed juice, coconut water, and kombucha have all found popularity in the wellness community, switchel (no, that’s not a typo or an S&M act) is the latest drink that wants in on the wellness action. Also sometimes called haymaker’s punch, it’s a hipster Frankestein of some of wellness’s most beloved ingredients, including water, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and a natural sweetener, most commonly maple syrup.
It seems like a drink Gwyneth would pass out to Apple and her school friends in Goop-approved juice boxes, but it’s actually delicious. Ginger has long been a favorite in the health food community for its purported anti-inflammatory properties and ability to calm your stomach, though there isn’t a ton of conclusive science. Apple cider vinegar is one of those hyperbolic wellness foods that has been credited with helping pretty much every single problem out there, from weight loss to stinky feet. Most of those claims are totally unproven, but there’s been some legitimate research in the diabetes community that apple cider vinegar has some modest effects on blood sugar control.
One switchel formula, from Vermont Switchel, also includes blackstrap molasses and lemon juice, which add some antioxidants and minerals. According to enthusiasts, switchel also supposedly contains electrolytes — which usually means sodium, calcium, and potassium — but the amounts are minimal, at least based on the nutrition labels for several brands. The one legitimate claim switchel can make is that it’s better for you than Coke and certainly less boring than water.
Swtichel’s modern renaissance began in 2014 when Modern Farmer, which is basically the Vogue of farming, published an article titled “Are You Cool Enough to Drink Switchel?” In the last year, Shape, Equinox’s fitness blog Furthermore, and Well + Good have all written about “nature’s Gatorade,” sometimes even going so far as to call it the next kombucha.
But like many trends in wellness, switchel has been around for hundreds of years and was a favorite of Vermont dairy farmers for combating dehydration during the summer haying season, according to Susan Alexander, the founder of Vermont Switchel. The drink’s official origins are hard to pinpoint, but it appears to have been common in the Northeastern U.S., in the Caribbean (where it was made with rum because of the lack of potable water), and in certain Amish farming communities.
Now it’s used as a fancy sports drink or a daily tonic, says Ely Key, founder of Up Mountain Switchel. Alexander says that her daughter’s college rowing team used it is a post-workout beverage, and she’s been in negotiations with the Burlington, Vermont, city marathon to offer it to runners on the route. “To me it’s a hybrid of many of those traditional categories. It’s functional because it has health attributes, sort of like lemonade or iced tea because of how it refreshes you, and an energy/sports drink because of the electrolytes and minerals.”
To test out its post-workout drink potential, I found some Up Mountain switchel for $3.69 at Health Nuts, my local health food store on the Upper West Side, after hearing some women talk about it at my local gym. I buy it once a week now and make it last through two post-workout rehydration sessions diluted with a lot of water. It’s probably not hydrating me any better than plain old water, but its tangy flavor makes me feel like it is, and I’m convinced the ginger has helped my stomach calm down after a few particularly grueling burpee sessions.
It’s refreshing to drink, kind of like an Arnold Palmer, but with more kick. There is no obvious vinegary flavor, but it has a strong ginger taste, like what you would find in a Moscow mule or less sweet ginger ale. It tastes a lot better than two of wellness’s other previous beverage crazes, kombucha and coconut water, which, despite their popularity, have always tasted to me like old socks and a salty puddle, respectively.
The one downside? It’s usually sold in a mason jar, a receptacle that is impossible to drink from without spilling down the front of your shirt. (Advice to switchel makers: If you hope to break into the upscale world of boutique fitness, the drink needs a less squat-looking bottle that you can easily swig after a workout.)
Maple syrup is the one ingredient potentially preventing switchel from reaching its full wellness Zeitgeist potential. Pancakes, a dish sure to make a carb-phobic yogi run far away, are the first thing to come to mind when you think about syrup. But maple syrup’s PR is improving. While it gained fame/notoriety as part of the much-maligned Master Cleanse, popularized by Beyoncé in preparation for her role in Dream Girls, it’s trying to throw off that charlatan image.
Both Alexander and Key mentioned that, as a sweetener, maple syrup has a mid-range glycemic index (about equal to honey), meaning it takes longer to metabolize and there isn’t the rush and crash associated with table sugar, although sugar is sugar. Switchel has about 50 calories per eight ounces. But studies are in progress. “Maple syrup is finally getting a bunch of money for research on its health benefits,” says Key. “It hasn’t gotten the money towards research that honey has.” (Two Minnesota-based companies, St. Paul Switchel and Superior Switchel, use honey as the main sweetener.) There’s even a maple syrup fitness-gel now, called Untapped.
Switchel, however, has one more advantage over other, more popular wellness beverages, because it turns out it is also an incredible mixer for booze. A few years ago, it started showing up in bars in Brooklyn, cementing its hipster rep. Alexander has teamed up with a local Vermont distillery and syrup maker to come up with Hardwick Hooch, named after the town where they both produce their products. She also claims it mixes well with bourbon or heated with rum for a winter beverage. All the switchel makers mentioned here offer cocktail menus on their websites.
Key, who has sold switchel to restaurants to use as a mixer for drinks, says, “ really lends itself nicely to booze. It’s part of the narrative historically. They used to mix it with moonshine and homebrew.” Plus, for those of you who want to feel a little self-righteous while drinking, Key claims that it will help prevent a hangover, thus ensuring you make it to your hot yoga class the next morning.
You can order switchel online if it’s not sold in your area, and Vermont Switchel even sells a concentrated version that you just add water to. On the DIY scale, switchel falls somewhere between this Goop cardamom waffle with rose-soaked blackberries recipe and basic avocado toast. Bon Appétit has a good recipe to try.
Or, you know, just drink water.
I Tried Switchel and I’ll Never Drink Another Energy Drink Again
If you’re a frequent visitor to your local farmers market or the neighborhood hipster hangout, chances are you’ve seen a new drink on the scene: switchel. Advocates of the beverage swear by its good-for-you ingredients and applaud it as a healthy drink that actually tastes as good as it feels.
Switchel is a mix of apple cider vinegar, water or seltzer, maple syrup, and ginger root, so it boasts some major health benefits. Beyond an impressive ability to quench even the most serious of thirsts, the different ingredients work together to make this drink a one-stop shop for health: The ginger ramps up the anti-inflammatory power, the high acetic acid content of apple cider vinegar means that your body may absorb vitamins and minerals more readily, and the vinegar plus maple syrup combo may help stabilize your blood sugar. But before you start pouring, it’s important to note the sugar content-despite it’s pleasantly tart taste, the drink’s use of maple syrup can mean sugar levels skyrocket if you aren’t careful in monitoring how much of it you’re putting in the batch or how much of the pre-made blends you’re consuming.
Chef Franklin Becker of The Little Beet in New York City recently added two different types of switchel to his menu. “From a culinary standpoint, it’s exciting-mildy sweet, acidic, and thirst-quenching,” he says. “From a health perspective, all the ingredients tied together boost the immune system and provide you with electrolytes necessary for an active lifestyle, like the original Gatorade.” (With news that Energy Drinks Could Tank Your Heart Health, there’s even more reasons to steer clear of those manufactured alternatives.)
While switchel once was a staple in the colonial farmer’s diet, the store-bought variety now enjoys a place on the shelves of stores like Whole Foods and specialty markets. It’s also easy to make on your own if you’re feeling up to DIY.
As a coffee addict always looking for ways to rely on two cups a day instead of four, I was intrigued by switchel’s street cred as a healthy caffeine alternative. With that in mind, I decided to drink switchel every day for a week. The methodology was simple: I would test both a homemade and a store-bought version, nix the usual cold brew, and track my energy levels throughout each day.
For the homemade version, I snagged a recipe from the ever-reliable Bon Appetit. It stays pretty true to the drink’s simple roots, using predominantly fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and your choice of water or club soda. To add a bit of brightness, they suggest adding lemon or lime juice and mint sprigs. As you can imagine, every ingredient was easy to find at the grocery store. While prep wasn’t exactly labor-intensive, having to juice the ginger did take a bit of time. I made one batch with regular water and another with its bubbly friend, club soda, for the sake of research. I left both pitchers in the fridge overnight to make sure they were thoroughly chilled (warm maple syrup sounds better on pancakes than it does in a tepid drink…).
When it came time for the first taste test the next morning, I immediately noticed the awesome smell emanating from the fridge-if the scents of fall and spring had a child, this would be it. I poured a bit of each over ice and added some fresh mint to be extra fancy. If I could only use one word to describe the drink, it would be refreshing. But for the sake of journalism, I have a few more words to spare: The ginger generates a serious zing that balances out the sweetness of the maple syrup, and the apple cider vinegar brings a little zap of tartness to the mix. All together, you get a flavor-filled gulp of deliciousness. While I enjoyed the water-based sips, the use of club soda made it all go down a bit smoother for me and enhanced its value as a stomach-settling aid (plus, it would pair great with some bourbon or whiskey for a seasonal cocktail!).
While drinking switchel in the morning was no replacement for my daily cup o’ joe, it felt a bit like a jumpstart to my system in the morning, revving up my metabolism and body for the day. The boost didn’t last as long as my favorite coffee concoction, but it caused less shakiness and allowed me to focus more than usual after a comparable single cup.
I wondered if the store-bought options were comparable. I had done some research and came across a brand called CideRoad Switchel. Their recipe attracted me because they added a “proprietary riff” to the traditional tonic-a dash of cane syrup and blueberry or cherry juice if you wanted an extra flavor element.
I loved their flavored versions. The addition of fruit juice lowered the acidity of the drink slightly, so that it tasted even more like a Gatorade. While the original was definitely enjoyable, once I tried the fruit-infusions, I kept craving that extra jolt of fruity goodness and would drink them in the late afternoon for a little pick-me-up. It was fantastic-the taste kept my mind from wandering to that 3 p.m. snack and the electrolytes gave me some energy without the jitters that sometimes comes with late afternoon caffeine. (But if you do have to snack, try one of these 5 Office-Friendly Snacks That Banish the Afternoon Slump.) That said, I recommend only drinking half of a bottle at any one time. The whole thing contains 34 grams of sugar total and trust me when I say that cutting yourself off at half is nothing close to deprivation.
At the end of my week of switchel, I started to understand the craze. While it may not be something that I incorporate into my everyday routine, this drink with a wacky name certainly holds tremendous appeal as a fun way to turbocharge your energy levels and feel good while doing it. Next time you find yourself in the grocery store drink aisle, ditch the Gatorade and go for the makings of this all natural option instead.
How to make a Switchel- and the Top 10 Benefits of drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Water! A healthy, energizing, probiotic drink made with apple cider vinegar (with the “mother” in it) that lowers blood sugar, builds healthy bacteria in the gut, lowers cholesterol, regulates insulin, helps shed weight, boosts immunity, aids with digestion and regularity, and increases energy and vitality!
If you’ve been here a while, you’ll already know I’m a huge fan of apple cider vinegar water. When I first started the blog, way back in 2011, I was drinking it regularly every morning and did not get sick for five years. Five years! Not a sniffle.
I stopped drinking it regularly a couple of years ago- then started to get colds again. So I’ve started up again, only this time I’m making it a little more palatable for beginners. It turns out, there is a name for this – a Switchel!
What is a Switchel?
A friend informed me, that my Apple Cider Vinegar Water goes way way back, originating in New England where it became a popular drink in the late 17th century – where it was used to revive tired and thirsty farmers at harvest time, also called “Haymaker’s Punch”. It was basically sweetened apple cider vinegar water.
Turns out there is a lot of research out there on all the good things this does for the body. Here is what I’m finding on the web…
TOP 10 Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar:
- Lowers blood sugar
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- helps with weight loss
- Reduces Belly fat
- Lowers cholesterol
- Boosts immunity
- May improve heart health
- May slow the growth of cancer cells
- Improves digestion
- Increases energy
- Antibacterial Properties
Here are a couple more articles that talk about the benefits of apple cider vinegar that I found interesting: Longevity Live and Medical News Today.
I know that on days when I drink this Switchel, I feel so energized! Not only does it help keep me “regular” (drinking it first thing in the morning), when I drink it before a meal, I feel less hungry.
I’ve read it helps lower blood sugar after eating a high carb meal, and helps regulate insulin and lower cholesterol – but please do your own research and see. As I told you earlier, I know first hand it boosts immunity, making me more resistant to colds and flu.
But please don’t take my word for it…try it for yourself… drink it for a few weeks, and see how it feels.
Isn’t that the true test? Experiencing something for yourself personally?
What or who is the “mother”?
If you are wondering what “the Mother” actually is in the Apple Cider Vinegar – it is is the colony of healthy bacteria, similar to a Kombucha SCOBY, that help make the vinegar through a secondary fermentation process.
Apple Cider Vinegar “with the mother in it” is vinegar that is not filtered or heated (pasteurized), so the healthy living bacteria are preserved and kept alive to do their healing!
But here’s why I’m personally such a huge fan of the Switchel!
I travel a lot and eat a lot of street food. During my last day in India last year, I was sitting in a beautiful cafe in Mumbai on a hot day with a friend and totally spaced it and gulped down a huge glass of tap water. ( Which is known for causing “Delhi Belly”). For most of the trip I had been eating every form of street food imaginable… and never got sick. I flew out the next day and miraculously was OK for my entire 36 hours of travel.
When I got home, however, I found something had been brewing in my belly.
It was pretty bad friends. But I wanted to see if I could heal myself, instead of taking the strong antibiotics that my doctor prescribed for this. And guess what? It totally worked!
It took a while because I was inconsistent in the beginning, but once I figured out that on the days I drank this, my stomach was better, and on the days I didn’t, it got bad again, I made a point of drinking it straight for one week, 3 times a day.
Eventually, the good bacteria from the apple cider vinegar defeated the bad bacteria in my gut that was making me sick- at least that’s how I pictured it in my mind. 😉 Now I’m not a doctor, and I have no idea what was actually happening in there- all I know is, I got well without taking the antibiotics that kill all the bacteria in your tummy -even the good ones.
And again, recently, just a few weeks ago on a return trip to India, I got a bad stomach bug while there, but this time had bourght some Apple Cider Vinegar with me. I drank it with filtered water and the bug was gone in 8 hours, compared to the normal 3-4 days.
It felt pretty miraculous. So now I won’t travel without it. 🙂
Helps me stop snacking:
One thing that I’ve been trying to do lately is not snack between meals. This switchel has been a godsend. I snack out of boredom, not hunger… and you’ve probably heard me say, my mouth gets bored! So I’ve been reaching for this drink lately instead of the snacky stuff. It makes me feel less hungry.
Helps my immunity:
Like I mentioned earlier, when I drink this regularly I don’t ever seem to get colds or flu. Perhaps it is the placebo effect. Who knows, but it works.
I’m curious to hear what you think about this Switchel…. please let me know in the comments below! It’s actually the most helpful if you actually try it first and experience the effects personally, before judging. 🙂
Have a fun and happy weekend!!!
Get energized with this drink!
PS: If you like this… you may like this Celery Juice Post and this Ayurvedic Detox Tea!
How to make a Switchel- a healthy, energizing, probiotic drink made with apple cider vinegar (with the “mother” in it), lemon, ginger, honey or maple syrup – (both optional, see notes) that lowers blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity, builds healthy bacteria in the gut, lowers cholesterol, helps sheds weight, boosts immunity, aids with digestion and regularity and increases energy and vitality!
- Author: Sylvia Fountaine
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 5
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: drink
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: american
- 4 slices ginger ( optional- see notes)
- 3 ¾ cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ( like Braggs – “with the mother in it”) more to taste
- ½ –1 lemon (or sub limes or other citrus! Blood oranges are pretty too!)
- 1 tablespoon honey ( preferably raw) or maple syrup optional, see notes
Place ginger in one cup of water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Let cool.
Pour the ginger water, remaining water, apple cider vinegar, juice from half a lemon, and your choice of sweetener into to a quart mason jar. Stir and adjust lemon and sweetness to your taste.
Store in a pitcher or mason jar, either in the fridge or at room temp ( if drinking throughout the day).
Enjoy first thing in the morning to aid the liver in cleansing, or in the afternoon for an energizing pick-me-up.
This will keep for 1 week in the fridge.
It’s important you let the warm water cool- you do not want to kill the healthy bacteria in the vinegar or the health benefits of the raw honey.
If in a hurry, simply leave out the ginger, and make the drink in a glass, with lemon, vinegar and optional sweetener to taste. You can also use sparkling water and serve over ice.
Sweetener is optional: Over time as you become accustomed to the vinegar taste, you may naturally want to lower the sweetener or omit completely. Most mornings I drink filtered water with just a splash of the apple cider vinegar. No sweetener, no lemon, no ginger. Simple and easy. But I know this may not be pleasant for most. This recipe was intended to get you accostomed to the taste. Feel free to adjust from here.
And Lately, I’ve been adding a pinch of pink Himalayan Salt to add electrolytes.
Keywords: switchel, benefits of apple cider vinegar, switchel drink recipe, how to make a switchel, what is a switchel, probiotic drink, apple cider vinegar drink, apple cider vinegar drink recipe , switzel recipe, haymakers punch, switchel history and origin,
This New Daily Health Tonic Aids Digestion & Improves Gut Health
We’re first to admit that apple cider vinegar is not for everyone. Despite it’s many health benefits, some people just can’t get on board with the taste. But what if we told you there’s a new (and delicious way) to enjoy ACV? Australia’s favourite kombucha brand, Remedy, has just released Switchel—an apple cider vinegar based drink that has become part of our daily routine at Sporteluxe HQ.
Although just hitting the Australian market, this live-cultured drink has been around for centuries—believed to originate in the West Indies in the 1600’s. It became known as the “Haymakers Punch”, a thirst quencher for farmers after a hard days work.
Image Credit: @danhilburn
Switchel comes in two fizzy flavours, finger lime and blood orange (we love them both equally) and pairs high quality, raw and unpasteurised organic apple cider vinegar with real, raw ginger to deliver a refreshing reboot on a traditional tonic. The best part is, is that it naturally contains NO sugar and gets the Sarah Wilson, ‘IQS’ tick of approval.
Remedy Nutritionist and good friend of Sporteluxe, Jacqueline Alwill highly recommends this drink as a daily health tonic.
“Apple cider vinegar contains a number of beneficial properties, in particular organic acids, also known as short chain fatty acids (SFCA),” she says.
“The benefits of apple cider vinegar range from aiding digestion and improving gut health to regulating blood sugar levels and cholesterol.”
Image Credit: Amy Whitfield, Social Fields
The farmers who loved Switchel believed the warmth of the ginger helped to cool them down during a hot hard day’s work. Although this theory wasn’t quite right, Jacqueline says they were on the right track.
“Apple cider vinegar contains naturally occurring electrolytes, which can help restore balance in the body after physical exertion,” says Jacqueline. “In addition, ginger has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and can help with reducing pain symptoms.”
Image Credit: @danhilburn
Given that it’s the holiday season (we still can’t believe how fast this year has gone), the team of over at Remedy have shared with us a delicious cocktail recipe so that you can still reap the benefits of Switchel and enjoy a Christmas drink at the same time!
RECIPE: Berry Merry Punch
- Remedy Blood Orange Switchel
- 250ml vodka
- 90 ml triple sec
- Juice of lemon and lime
- Fresh or frozen berries of choice
- Fresh mint
- Fresh ginger, sliced
- Fresh citrus fruit, sliced
- Add a generous amount of lemon and lime juices to a jug.
- Add ginger, mint, berries and muddle.
- Add ice.
- Pour in vodka and Switchel
If you’re keen to make the Switch (see what we did there?) head to remedykombucha.com.au to learn more!
This is a paid article by Remedy
When someone steps up to our booth at the farmers’ market or gazes as we pour samples to share around the campfire—we often hear, “What’s a switchel? Is it like kombucha?”
We laugh because, well yes, it sort of is—but actually, not quite. Compared to most health beverages, juices, and sodas, kombucha and switchel both take the lead as impressive alternatives. They are both loaded with vitamin B and have those natural probiotics that keep your gut bacteria happy and active. But when it comes down to the science, flavor/taste and process, these two couldn’t be more different.
Digging into the science of it—kombucha contains living bacteria coming from the main ingredient behind it all called a SCOBY. This bacteria and yeast culture is the driver of the kombucha making process. As it ferments among a mixture of tea and sugars, it emerges 10 – 15 days later bubbly and ready to be bottled. This carbonation is a natural bi-product of the full fermentation process, leaving traces of the fungus to keep it fizzing.
While many kombucha beverages have some tartness in their flavor–there is nothing quite like the tangy, spicy, zip of switchel. This comes from the unique combination of ingredients including apple cider vinegar, ginger, and water, lightly paired with a natural sweetener of maple syrup or honey. Our traditional process — pulled from an American recipe of the 19th century haymakers — isn’t fermented and doesn’t rely on bacteria to curate the right flavor profile, which means you can safely whip up a batch of switchel to your taste in a matter of hours. Although switchel doesn’t have the live cultures of the SCOBY floating about the brew, it is a rich source for potassium, which means it’s the perfect all-natural alternative to sugary sports drinks, and will help maintain a good electrolyte balance in the body.
If you still aren’t convinced that drinking vinegar is enticing, know that switchel, once brewed is similar to drinking kombucha, just without the bubbles and a few more benefits. Our stovetop brewing process brings out some natural sweetness and allows that burst of spice from the ginger to come through. You’ll hardly notice that your drinking vinegar at all!
Ingredients: SCOBY, Tea, Sugar
Process: Brewed tea of choice, 10 – 15 days of fermentation
Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Filtered Water, Honey/Maple Syrup
Process: Stovetop, a slow simmer of flavors
If you are a kombucha lover, you’ve got to give switchel a try. We are both honest-to-goodness health-minded beverages, here to provide you with all the energy boosts and power packed probiotics necessary to keep you out of your afternoon slump. But at our core, we’ve got something a little different to offer with different ingredients and entirely unique brewing processes.
Taste them side-by-side and let us know what you think. While there is room for both, we’ll be here when you are ready to make the switch!
Before there were sports drinks to rehydrate after intense physical labor or sugary drinks designed to boost energy levels, there was switchel, an all-natural summer drink similar to lemonade that’s experiencing a resurgence in popularity.
Currently a favorite in “hipster” markets and upscale cocktail bars, thanks to its numerous health benefits and great taste, this centuries-old beverage is primed to become the next kombucha or kvass. Get ahead of the curve, and start sipping on this fermented drink today.
What Is Switchel?
Made from apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, maple syrup and then cut with water, switchel’s arrival to America is hazy. Some say this “ginger water” came from the West Indies, where molasses was used instead of maple syrup. Others say it’s derived from oxymel, an ancient Greek medicinal elixir made from vinegar, honey and water. Wherever its origins, by the 18th century, “haymaker’s punch” was being guzzled down by American farmers during long work days to keep cool and stay hydrated in the heat.
At the time, people thought throwing back warm drinks during hot days was better for the body, as it supposedly maintained the body’s equilibrium with the weather. And because farmers couldn’t drink alcohol while working on the fields, benefit-rich ginger was a safe second bet, as it produced a similar feeling to alcohol’s burn while going down.
While their reasoning might not have been totally sound, it turns out these farmers were onto something. Switchel uses are numerous, in fact. Here’s why switchel should be your new favorite summer drink.
5 Benefits of Switchel
1. Ease inflammation
Is switchel good for you? Yes! The ginger that makes up a key part of switchel is a natural inflammation reducer. Inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases, causes physical symptoms like skin problems and digestive issues. So keeping inflammation at bay with the ginger found in switchel can have other unexpected, welcome side effects, like clearing up acne.
Additionally, because it reduces inflammation, which also counts pain as a side effect, ginger is also a powerful pain fighter. In fact, one study found that consuming a small amount of ginger is more effective at reducing pain symptoms and inflammation than painkillers. Next time you feel a headache coming on, skip that painkiller and reach for switchel instead.
2. Get an electrolyte boost
Electrolytes are nutrients or chemicals in your body that help it perform specific functions, like regulating your heart beat or telling your legs it’s time to get moving. But after undergoing intense physical exertion (like running a marathon), getting sick, eating a poor diet or even taking certain medications, electrolytes imbalance can occur. Signs that your electrolytes need some replenishing include constantly feeling thirsty, frequent headaches, fatigue and nausea.
But because of the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar found in switchel, potassium-rich electrolytes, particularly potassium, are replenished, making it an excellent alternative to sugary drinks like Gatorade. Pour a glass after a tough workout on a hot day to feel refreshed and give help your body restore its electrolyte balance.
3. Enjoy a dose of apple cider vinegar
By regularly drinking switchel, you’ll get all the terrific benefits of apple cider vinegar,including healing compounds, like potassium, magnesium and probiotics.
Thanks to the many uses of apple cider vinegar, it’s one of my favorite natural remedies. It balances your body’s pH levels and, as a liver and lymphatic tonic, detoxes your body. Not bad for one of the most common household items!
4. Go gaga for ginger
This root is packed with health benefits. Ginger is a fantastic digestive aid, soothing upset tummies and easing bloating symptoms. It also boosts your body’s immune system, helping it fight off disease. Additionally, ginger root benefits include breaking down the accumulation of toxins in the body, another way it boosts immunity.
5. Reap maple syrup’s sweet surprises
If you’re using sweeteners, maple syrup is one of the top natural sweeteners. When used in moderation, it is an excellent alternative to cane sugar. Maple syrup affects blood sugar levels less than regular table sugar and includes trace antioxidants and minerals that regular sugar lacks.
Because maple syrup is made from tree sap, it’s also much less processed than refined cane sugar. It also steers clear of many of sugar’s harmful effects.
How to Make Switchel
Switchel, unlike other trendy fermented drinks like kvass or kombucha, is quite easy to make at home. We’ve included a recipe below to whip up your own batch.
Note that, while many recipes use maple syrup, it’s also possible to substitute benefit-rich raw honey (raw honey contains contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes!). If you’re drinking switchel regularly, it’s a good idea to alternate between maple syrup and honey to enjoy the benefits of both while keeping your sugar intake down.
If you want an after-work cocktail, give it a nutrient boost by using this delicious beverage as the base. Switchel combines well with alcohol, especially whiskey or gin. You can also use seltzer water instead of regular H2O to give the drink a fizzy, soda-like sensation while keeping it alcohol-free.
Because there are such few ingredients involved in making switchel — apple cider vinegar, water, maple syrup (or your choice of sweetener) and ginger — it’s important to choose the highest quality of each.
Opt for raw apple cider vinegar and, when choosing maple syrup, choose one that has pure maple syrup as the primary ingredient, preferably an organic variety. Steer clear of varieties with unnatural high-fructose corn syrups; these maple syrup imposters run rampant at grocery stores.
Make sure you don’t miss out on ginger’s benefits; use fresh slices each time instead of powdered. Freezing the ginger root beforehand can make slicing and dicing easier.
To make this ginger honey drink extra refreshing, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint, lemon wedges or berries.
- 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- at least 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger; you can also add in extra slices
- 4 cups water or seltzer water
- Combine all the ingredients in a large jar with a lid.
- Shake to combine.
- At this point, you can drink it over ice cubes or refrigerate and let steep for 12 to 24 hours.
- Stir well before serving.
Put down the kombucha (at least for a minute). There’s a new trendy fermented beverage on the wellness scene, and it’s called switchel.
A year ago the unlikely hipster magazine Modern Farmer broke the story with a headline that was something of a dare: “Are You Cool Enough to Drink Switchel?” And since, switchel’s only grown in popularity, with bottles of the apple cider vinegar-based beverage turning up all over Brooklyn (particularly certain neighborhoods known for fedoras and ironic facial hair).
It also has many DIY devotees for those who want to whip it up at home. (We’ve got a simple recipe below in case you’re game.)
So what’s switchel? Here’s the 411 on the gut-friendly fermented beverage that’s encroaching on kombucha’s limelight and fridge space.
What is switchel and where does it come from?
Makers of switchel trace the beverage’s origins to places as far-flung as the Caribbean and China, but Bushwick-based (of course) founders of the best-known Brooklyn brand, Up Mountain Switchel, say their recipe stems from 18th-century Vermont.
While there are variations on this theme, switchel, which was also known as haymaker’s punch, basically consists of water, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and a sweetener like molasses or brown sugar. Given the Vermont angle, Up Mountain uses maple syrup.
How does it taste?
The taste is definitely sweet (maple syrup is the second ingredient listed, after water)—it’s a bit like ginger beer, with with a subtle, tart, lighter-than-air aftertaste, thanks to the apple cider vinegar. (If kombucha’s funky, earthy brew puts you off, you may find switchel more drinkable.)
Up Mountain’s website explains that switchel is an “American Heritage Beverage”—that sounds wholesome, right?—that was consumed by farmers after days of hard field work in summer heat. Now the “root, fruit, and sap” concoction can be sipped straight, served over ice, warmed up like a tea, or mixed with an adult beverage. (Hello, healthy holiday cocktail mixer?)
So is switchel good for you?
Its ingredients bring a host of health benefits: apple cider vinegar is one of the darlings the wellness world, credited with everything from balancing pH levels to improving digestion to beautifying skin; maple syrup contains manganese, zinc, and calcium; and ginger is renowned for its digestion-soothing and brain-boosting power.
Up Mountain co-founder Garrett Riffle says ginger is one of the strongest and most effective natural anti-inflammatories on the planet. “It’s great for anything from joint pain or menstrual cramps to headaches. Ginger is also a great analgesic for nausea and sore throats, and it supports digestion.”
Is there a downside?
Where switchel runs into trouble is with its sweeteners. A 12-ounce bottle of Up Mountain Switchel contains 19 grams of sugar. (And, no, your body doesn’t really care if it’s maple syrup or cane sugar.) That may have been okay for hardworking 18th-century farmhands, but for most of us living 21st-century lives, that’s a lot of sugar.
Lauren Slayton, MS, a registered dietitian and founder of Foodtrainers, has mixed feelings about that. “I was intrigued by switchel as we’re swiggers at Foodtrainers,” she says. “But while I like the ingredients in switchel, the bottles we’ve come across have been too sweet for straight sipping.”
By comparison, a 16-ounce bottle of Synergy Gingerade Kombucha has 4 grams of sugar, and Bragg sells a Stevia-sweetened apple cider vinegar drink with no sugar.
Instead, Slayton likes to think of switchel as something you do as a shot. Even in the happy hour sense. Switchel is “far superior to many of the nasty things cocktails are mixed with….so an ounce of switchel with vodka and seltzer is Foodtrainers-approved.”
You can also make your own lower-sugar version (see the recipe below from Slayton)—and sip it with a bit more abandon. —Ann Abel
Foodtrainers’ Secret Weapon Sipper
1 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (should be cloudy)
¼ tsp Wakaya ginger
Squeeze of lemon
8–12 oz. water (hot or cold)
Optional: Stevia or tiny bit of maple syrup or Manuka honey
For more information, visit drinkswitchel.com
More Reading: 4 delicious ways to drink to your (gut) health