When you are hot and thirsty, you may reach for an ice cold drink such as Gatorade or iced tea, or even soda to rehydrate.
But, is that really the healthy way to go? What did people do before sodas and sports drinks? They drank switchel! This spicy cherry switchel is sure to hit the spot!
What Is Switchel?
Back in the early Revolutionary days until the early Industrial Age, switchels were the drink they made when they needed to quench a thirst.
Sometimes called “haymaker’s punch”, it had the ability to refresh someone who was hard at work in the fields. It’s often made the common ingredients:
- apple cider vinegar
- molasses or honey
Molasses was the traditional sweetener, but you can also use honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, or even erithrytol if you choose.
Vinegar is often used for the tartness, and some people think it was a substitute for alcohol. After all, vinegar is essentially alcohol that has over-fermented.
It used to be said that drinking hot drinks on hot days helped balance you, since the heat inside the body and outside the body was relatively the same. However, no one wants to down a hot cup of coffee when you are sweaty.
Ginger and alcohol (or in this case, vinegar) can also cause the same heat sensation in the body, a feeling of general overall warmth. That made switchels very popular among people working out in the fields.
Why This Spicy Cherry Switchel Is Good For You
Apple cider vinegar, ginger and molasses (if you use that) are high in potassium, which replaces the electrolytes you lose when sweating. It also has minerals and natural sugars that make it a great choice over bottled sports drinks.
Switchel is also easy to make, and you most likely have all the ingredients you already would need in your kitchen.
We are adding in the healthy benefits of spice from the ingredients from the fire cider. Made with the apple cider vinegar, and adding in peppers, onions, garlic, and turmeric also gives this some anti-inflammatory benefits in your body.
Cherries are also high in health benefits, including:
- lowering risk of gout attacks
- May help with muscle pain (perfect for a after workout recovery drink)
- Can help promote better sleep
- Lower on glycemic index (22)
How to Make Spicy Cherry Switchel
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (you can also use fire cider if you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2-3 1/2 inch slices fresh, peeled ginger (you can also use 1/2 teaspoon dried ground)
- 1/2 cup frozen cherries
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mason jar.
- Cover with a cheesecloth or cloth napkin, securing with a rubber band.
- Allow the switchel steep for at least a couple of hours so that the ginger and cherry flavors infuses.
- Serve cold over ice, if desired.
There are Other Flavors to Choose From
If you’re not too keen on cherries, but you still want to try this one yourself, you’ll be pleased to know that there are many other flavors from which to choose.
This switchel recipe combines the warm spiciness of the ginger with the sugary sweetness of honey. A healthy drink to give you a boost in the summer when you need it, you can get a good recipe here.
If you’re a whiskey fan, this is for you! You have the regular switchel ingredients (apple cider vinegar and ginger) and a large quantity of rye whiskey for a bit of extra kick. Sound good? Well, in that case, here’s the recipe for you!
This one combines the warmth of ginger with the sugary sweetness of maple syrup and the citrusy zest of lemon or lime juice.
The blend of ingredients makes a refreshing drink that’ll wake you up with every mouthful. You want the recipe? Of course, you do! Here you go!
A lovely pink flavor with a rich flavor, this is a neat twist on the traditional switchel recipe.
It uses fresh blackberries and honey to give you a sweet, flavorful drink. If you want to try this one yourself, you can get a recipe here.
Strawberry Ginger Switchel
Strawberries are a mixture of sweet and sourness that go well with pretty much anything – including ginger.
Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re looking for a healthy, refreshing, hydrating, thirst-quenching drink, this is for you. It’s super easy to make and you won’t be able to get enough, here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it.
Blueberries are a sweet if occasionally messy treat to enjoy whenever you’ve got them on hand. It should come as no surprise that you can make a blueberry drink then, should it? You can add other things that can alter the flavor slightly (i.e. mint, lavender, etc.)
You can try this recipe for yourself and see what you think.
This one is a combination of ginger and mint and agave. The warm, spicy flavor mixes with the mint giving it a bit of light sweetness. You can use this recipe to try it yourself.
Carta Switchel Cocktail
Why not add another alcoholic switchel recipe to the list? This is an interesting one because it doesn’t have any ginger in it. It does have grapefruit juice in it, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.
This recipe also uses two types of Bacardi rum: light and gold – you could probably substitute any rum of your choice.
It’s definitely not a suitable drink for kids so you might want to make sure the little ones are in bed before making a drink for yourself. Here’s the recipe for you.
Lemon Ginger Switchel
If you like lemonade, then this might be the perfect alternative. It’s a simple, refreshing drink that’s easy to make.
The lemon, ginger, and cayenne pepper make a great combination that’s balanced well thanks to the sweetness of the honey. If you want to try this one (you know you want to), you can get a recipe here.
Get Creative and Make Your Own
Much like cooking, the only real limitation is your imagination. You can get creative and use a variety of fruits and make your own fruity switchel treats.
Switchel is great for any occasion and hopefully, this list has helped give you a few new ideas for refreshers.
Thanks for reading, take care!
Have you made switchel before? Will you try this one? Be sure to pin this for later!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.