I recently learned about switchel while visiting a farm here in rural Virginia. I also had the chance to learn about—and help process—organic free-range chickens. After we finished, we had a nice lunch that included pizza, fresh watermelon, molasses cookies and a fresh batch of ice cold switchel.
The owner of the farm mentioned that switchel dated back a long time ago and was recently becoming popular again as a drink of local farmers. It originally served as a thirst quencher for farmers during their hay harvests and has, until recently, slowly been replaced by lemonade and sports drinks.
Switchel, also known as switzel or haymaker’s punch, seems to be experiencing somewhat of a revival. I was really excited when I heard about it and started experimenting with my own version. Here is my recipe.
Photo by Kristy Severin
• 3 cups of water
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 squeezed lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
You can play around with the recipe, leaving out the molasses, exchanging fresh ginger for the ground ginger, or adding more or less of any ingredient to your liking. Enjoy!
Kristy Severin is a mother of two, a certified art instructor, photographer, painter, writer and cook. She earned her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, East Africa. Inspired daily by her children and love of the earth, you can find her fine art and writings at The Art of Green Living.