Switchel: tangy and slightly sweet drink of apple cider vinegar, ginger, herbs and honey.
We really like ginger in this house. Anything with fresh ginger has a solid chance of becoming a favorite. And sometimes you accumulate what one might call... "A S-Ton" of ginger. Then, it's time to ponder recipes that use said quantity of ginger. Which brings us to today's drink recipe.
Switchel is old school. Based on our reading, it's a post-colonial classic that farmers enjoyed because it was essentially DIY Gatorade. Perfect for long days outside. Of course, because it is old school, we're also seeing it in craft cocktails. Is switchel hipster? Does that make it ironically not cool at this point? Do we care? Either way, we have made this recipe again and again to mix with seltzer (or vodka) and I can't wait to keep trying it with more warm weather flavors over the next few months. Think about it: mint...maybe even we can work blueberry into this?
Because this is such a simple recipe, it goes back to our requirement of recipes with less ingredients: you need to use the best you can for this to succeed. You can't cover up bad when there are only five ingredients. So consider these few things as you shop:
- fresh, younger ginger (Harder to find than you would think sometimes- don't buy something with a very woody-dry looking peel)
- unfiltered apple cider vinegar (Many people love Braggs but I don't have a brand loyalty. Try a few.) As a side note, I really want to try this recipe again with a specialty vinegar like Lindera Farms here in Virginia. They sell magnolia, crab apple vinegars and many other flavors. It would definitely be far more expensive, but I think my curiosity might get the best of me.
- really good honey (Buy something local or use some manuka. Wedderspoon is our go-to brand for manuka and rata honey).
Spring Ginger Honey Switchel Drink
/// Ingredients ///
- 3 Tablespoons honey of choice
- 1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup raw ginger slices heated in 1 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
- seltzer for serving
- optional: vodka, honeycomb
/// Directions /// Slice raw ginger and add to 1 cup water. Microwave for 1 minute in a glass measuring cup. While microwaving, add honey and vinegar to a large glass jar with a lid. Pour the warm ginger and water into the glass jar and stir to dissolve honey. Add lemon juice and fresh rosemary. Stir again, place the lid on top of the jar and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
To serve, strain switchel overtop crushed ice, top off with seltzer (and possibly vodka...). Garnish with rosemary and honeycomb if desired.
Note: Play with the ratio of switchel to seltzer based on your personal taste preferences. If you are used to sweeter drinks, you're going to need more seltzer. If you left this to sit a full day or two, you're definitely going to want to dilute it since it will strengthen over time.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.