Before sugary drinks were invented like sodas, energy drinks, vitamin water, there was the switchel. Old time beverage, it stops thirst, refreshes, energizes, is healthy and is once again popular thanks to hipsters and healthy living fans.
It is believed this originated of the hot tropics of Caribbean and was popular in American colonies of New England in 17th c. mostly drank by sailors, politicians, laborers, students (mixed it with rum), this beverage was for everyone poor or rich. Why? Switchel is mix for fighting high heat, cooling effects, gives hydration to imbibers and more. The farmers on fields would drink this all day long and it was named also haymaker’s punch.
Easy to prepare, it has 4 basic items: vinegar, water, ginger and sweetener. It can be done with ice water too, but this was hard to get before freezers then and the doctors then warned against this since they believed cold in hot days made indigestion. Originally mixed with vinegar, water, molasses or honey and maple syrup too, also ginger was later added to stop bloating and people soothes their stomachs with this.
What is the taste like? Seems strange at first, but is nice mix between tartness (ACV), sweetness (syrup) and spicy (the ginger).
The switchel benefits
The American settlers knew their thing. They did not know about all the benefits but now we know what this drink does.
- Restoring electrolytes– these are minerals like in urine and blood and carry electrical charge. We need them negative or positive charged (ions) for transmitting voltage in many processes like nerve signals and muscle contracting. We lose electrolytes with workouts, sweat or bathroom visits. Also this imbalance happens during dehydration, we lose fluids also with flu, or heavy workouts. The main signs of electrolyte imbalance are heart palpitation, headache, stomach cramps, joint pain, focus issues, fatigue, dizziness. You can replenish them with minerals like calcium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and potassium. Switchel has ACV, potassium source and maple syrup too that has more minerals.
- Ear pain and inflammation– no wonder the farmers took this all day long, it fights inflammation, pain and such. It is best post workout. The key item is ginger that removes inflammation and pain like after workout, also acne, eczema, arthritis, aging signs and depression. The gingerol, item in ginger, removes pain and is better than meds with their side effects.
- Daily dose ACV– in addition to electrolytes also there is ACV. It balances the pH in the body, keeps sugar balanced, improves digestion, makes good gut bacteria, keeps heart safe and promotes weight loss. 1 tbsp ACV in cup water is not the tastiest thing but is good. See the tutorial
- Ginger benefits– unless you eat lots of ginger, do not miss out on these recipes. Among the benefits it lowers cholesterol, makes better blood flow, reduces sugar, eases digestion, bloating, nausea, heart burn. Gingerol is antioxidant and boosts the brain, mental work, attention and reacting time.
- Wonders of maple syrup– this drink can be sweetened with honey or maple syrup. Like other sweeteners, maple is better than sugars. As the only item in the diet from tree sap, this is nutritious and has calcium, manganese, riboflavin, potassium and zinc. Since this is plant sweetener, it has antioxidants 63 types that fight free radicals, gallic acid, quercetin and catechins.
How to make it:
Some producers have tried this with blueberry and cherry flavors and is really simple to make it at home too.
6 oz fresh ginger root
4 cups water or club soda
½ cup ACV
3 tbsp maple syrup
For this, grate ginger root and fill 1/3 cup. Mix the ginger, ACV, maple and water in container and stir to dissolve. If the ginger is grated, the bits will fall on the bottom and this is ok. Put ice fast and enjoy this refrigerated drink after 24 hours, stir and then drink it.
Add a twist with mint leaves and lime or lemon juice.