Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I made a batch of Switchel this afternoon to see if Jonathan would like it. I have read about it, also sometimes called Swizzle, in several historical novels, but never thought to find out about it. After reading another living historian's blog (thank you Miss Macrae) and seeing the receipt I decided to try it. Such a strange mixture of ingredients, but all good for you on a hot day, and could be likened to the historic replacement for Gatorade. Here is the Wikipedia description of Switchel:

"Switchel, also Switzle, swizzle, ginger-water, haymaker's punch, or switchy is a dring made of water mixed with vinegar and often seasoned with ginger. Honey, sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup were sometimes used to sweeten the drink instead of molasses. In Vermont, oatmeal and lemon juice were sometimes added to the beverage. Switchel originated in the Caribbean, and had become a popular drink in the American Colonies in the late 1600's. By the 1800's, it had become a traditional drink to serve to thirsty farmers at hay harvest time, hence the nickname 'haymakers punch'." Laura Ingalls Wilder refers to a similar beverage made by Ma to serve to Pa during haying. Switchel, because of the ginger won't make you ill if you drink too much too quickly on a hot day.

1/4 c minced ginger
(boil in a little water and then strain)
1/2 c honey
1/4 c molasses
3/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
Mix together and then combine with 1 gal. of cold water.

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