If you’ve ever searched for a healthier, natural version of your favorite sports drink, you’re in luck. No, not coconut water — switchel. Switchel is the healthy, tasty, power-boosting beverage you’ve been looking for. Never heard of it? Well, it’s been around for 200 years or so, so now might be a good time to check it out.
Switchel is a traditional Amish drink made from raw apple cider vinegar, a natural sweetener, powdered or freshly grated ginger, and water. It was used to refresh and rehydrate men while they were out working the fields — as a natural, restorative sports drink, if you will — and its benefits are as extensive as it is tasty.
Long have the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar been touted, but switchel is another beast entirely. Not only does it harbor the numerous benefits of apple cider vinegar — increased immune function, balanced pH, et cetera — but it also offers the benefits of ginger and maple syrup alongside. Ginger, especially freshly grated, works to soothe the stomach and digestive tract while maple syrup is a natural sweetener filled with loads of beneficial minerals. All of these components work together to restore electrolytes after a long day’s work in a way your Gatorade never could.
Here are some more potential benefits of switchel:
-balanced body pH
-reduced muscle soreness
-loaded with vitamins and minerals
-increased immune function
You can buy switchel from awesome companies like Up Mountain Switchel and Vermont Switchel, or you can make your own! Try this recipe adapted from the Kitchn, and play around to make the ratios appeal to your tastes.
(adapted from the Kitchn)
(yields 3-4 drinks)
1/4 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons high-quality maple syrup or raw honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 cups water
– Mix everything together in a jar. Shake well. Let sit for 2 to 24 hours in the fridge. Strain through a cheesecloth, if desired. Pour over ice or combine with seltzer. Enjoy!
If you’re interested in fermenting your switchel, check out this recipe courtesy of Food & Wine!