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 overfermented. 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 healthy, natural sugars that make it a great choice over bottled sports drinks. Swtichel 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 glycemix index (22)
How to Make Spicy Cherry Switchel
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fire cider
- 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.
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.