Refreshing Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe

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How to make honey ginger switchel
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Drink Recipes » Refreshing Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe

Ever heard of switchel? It is a fermented beverage that hasn’t seemed to gain the popularity of kombucha … yet (though I suspect it will soon!). It relies on pre-fermented apple cider vinegar and does not have a long fermentation process like kombucha or kefir do, making it a great first drink for anyone new to fermenting.

What is Switchel?

Switchel has quite a few nicknames including Haymaker’s Punch, Ginger-Water, and Swizzy. It is a fermented drink that originated in the Caribbean and that often contains apple cider vinegar, water, a natural sweetener, and a flavoring, like ginger root.

It is an inexpensive and electrolyte-filled way to get the benefits of apple cider vinegar and is much more tasty than undiluted vinegar! While it isn’t as popular as kombucha yet, I recently saw a switchel-based cocktail on the menu in a restaurant, making me wonder if its return to popularity has begun.

History of Switchel

Sources disagree about when switchel officially made its way to the United States, but agree that it has been here for well over 100 years. I remember a mention of it in one of my favorite childhood books, The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot.

Sources also disagree about the “right” way to make switchel, the sweetener that should be used, and the proportions. Like most recipes, the trick seems to be finding a recipe that you love.

Benefits of Switchel

Like other fermented foods and drinks, switchel has its share of benefits, depending on the ingredients. There are endless ways to make this tasty drink and all of the ingredients offer their own benefits. In my favorite recipe, I use:

  • Apple cider vinegar: A great natural source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as beneficial bacteria and acids. While many people don’t love the strong flavor of vinegar by itself, it is perfect in this recipe when balanced with ginger, honey, and lime. I get mine here.
  • Honey: A versatile natural remedy in our house that I use as a face wash, to help speed healing of cuts and burns, and even as a natural sleep aid. Raw honey is a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that makes it a nutrient powerhouse with antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is often recommended for digestive health and there is some evidence that it may benefit the skin when taken internally.
  • Ginger: A powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant due to the presence of an oil called gingerol. It has a long history of use as a remedy for digestive problems, nausea, and illness. In this recipe, it adds both flavor and a slight spicy balance to the sweetness of the honey. Ginger root is found in most grocery stores and its skin can be peeled off easily with the edge of a spoon.
  • Lime: I add some fresh lime juice purely for flavor but it is also a good source of vitamin C.

Switchel Variations to Try

  • With molasses: Blackstrap molasses is good for skin and hair. It is a great natural source of iron, B6, potassium, selenium, and copper, and often helpful for people who suffer from anemia and have trouble absorbing other sources of iron. It is considered diabetes friendly and unlike refined sweeteners it maintains many of the nutrients of sugar cane. Especially during pregnancy, I switch out the honey in this recipe for some organic blackstrap molasses for the extra nutrients and iron. This is also the lowest glycemic option for a sweetener.
  • With maple syrup: A good source of antioxidants, manganese, and zinc, use maple syrup in place of honey.
  • Using lemon or herbs: For flavor, you can use lemon in place of the lime or omit completely. I also love adding other herbs besides just ginger and muddling the fresh leaves for flavor. Some favorite herbs to add are basil, lemon thyme, and rosemary.
  • With seltzer water: Though regular water is traditionally used in this recipe, seltzer water can give it natural fizz and make it even more refreshing. Since it is typically “aged” overnight in the refrigerator, I recommend using regular water in the recipe, but only using half as much and then adding the additional as seltzer water when serving.
  • With cinnamon: If you prefer more of an apple-cider flavor, add a few cinnamon sticks to the overnight soak in the refrigerator in place of the ginger.

Just talking about it makes me want to get up and go start a batch!

How to Make Switchel

Now for the fun part! No need for a scoby or kefir grains (though I always have those in my kitchen as well). In fact, you likely already have the ingredients for this delicious drink in your kitchen.

Here’s how to make ginger switchel:

How to make honey ginger switchel

Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe

A fermented drink that combines the benefits of apple cider vinegar, raw honey (or molasses), and ginger for a refreshing and electrolyte drink.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Calories 59kcal
Author Katie Wells


4 cups



  • Mix all ingredients in a large jar, cover, and shake well.
  • Place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To serve, pour over ice or add seltzer water if desired.


Nutrition Facts
Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 59 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.1g0%
Sodium 8mg0%
Carbohydrates 15.4g5%
Fiber 0.4g2%
Sugar 13.3g15%
Protein 0.2g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


If using seltzer water, only add half the amount of listed water to the jar. Add the other half as seltzer water when serving. 

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Ever heard of switchel? Ready to try it with your family?

Switchel is an easy-to-make and highly nutritious fermented drink made with apple cider vinegar, honey or molasses and ginger.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


131 responses to “Refreshing Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe”

  1. Ashley Avatar

    This recipe is great! I just made it for the first time last night and have been enjoying it all day today!

  2. Catherine Avatar

    Can you clarify the lime…is it just half a lime and the zest or do you throw in the whole remaining lime after squeezing it? Can’t wait to try this!

  3. hayley Avatar

    this is amazing… i love your blog and podcast! i was going to make some switchel today, and i wondered to myself if you had any recipes posted. OF COURSE you do. you’re everything.

    congrats on being awesome katie!! this recipe looks amazing and perfect for summer.

  4. Brenda Avatar

    5 stars
    Im not sure how I ever missed this post,..! My grandmother used to make this for my father and uncles when they were doing hay. About 2 years ago he requested it, so I whipped some up, and of course I had to try it before serving it. Im not a big vinegar fan, so I was a little apprehensive, but I tried it and I loved it. (Our family recipe is a little bit different) after drinking it daily (about a quart) I started noticing changes, like I no longer ached from arthritis like I was 80 yrs old, my acne cleared up, my eczema / psoriasis was gone, no more headaches, energy levels were up, no more overwhelming sugar cravings, and I was losing weight in my midsection, which is something I had struggled with for a really, really long time. It has been 2 years, and I have lost almost 100 lbs. *Something worth mentioning also,.. be cautious of using metal with the vinegar. I use a mason jar with the plastic lid, and if I do have to use a metal lid / ring I use waxed paper to make sure the vinegar does not make contact with the metal. Also a few cranks of sea salt really enhances the flavor!

    1. Vicki Avatar

      Brenda, would you share your recipe and how you take it? I’d love the recipe that has enabled the weight loss.

  5. Rach Avatar

    Hi. Can this be drank while breastfeeding? (He is 5 months and still solely nursing)
    I have recently started oil pulling and using coconut oil in general for lots of stuff, and wanted to add this!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I personally drink this while nursing as all of the ingredients are foods that I would consume anyway but check with a doc or midwife if you are concerned.

  6. Althea Avatar

    Can you reuse the ginger after straining it? If so what suggestions do you have.
    Thank you.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Most of the valuable nutrients will have been expelled from the ginger (like the vegetables when you make bone broth) and I’m not sure it would taste the same.

      1. Jillian Avatar

        5 stars
        I have occasionally poured the switchel off and added more water, ACV and honey to the same ginger if I’m in a rush, but the first go around is always the best flavour, and I’m sure Katie is right, it would be the most healtful too. Having said that, if for some reason you are limited to the amount of ginger you have, I think you can safely do a second batch, recognizing that it won’t be as good as the first. I personally wouldn’t do more than two batches with the same ginger though.

  7. Deanne Price Avatar
    Deanne Price

    5 stars
    I made my first batch last night. Drinking my first glass as we speak. I have to say this is delicious!
    My new favorite morning drink! 🙂

  8. Katie C Avatar

    4 stars
    I’ve made this a few times now and it’s so delicious and refreshing. Also I have been looking for more palatable ways to drink red raspberry leaf tea…. Id like to hear anyone’s thoughts on substituting this tea for the water in this recipe. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Tracey Stubbins Avatar
    Tracey Stubbins

    Is it possible to maintain a semi-continuous brew of switchel, either on the counter or in the fridge?

    More specifically, I’m wondering if it’s possible to make a large batch in a 5-gallon glass container with a spigot and allow it to sit (and continue fermenting) for about a week as it is used.

    Would a semi-continuos brew be safe, especially considering the bacteria? If so, is ok to leave on the counter (to continue fermenting) or should it be stored in the fridge?

    Thank you!

    1. Jenn Avatar

      I typically make a large batch and keep it in the fridge to drink throughout the week. I’m not sure about keeping it out at room temp – I probably wouldn’t; however I find switchel to taste best cold anyhow.

  10. Julia Reagan Avatar
    Julia Reagan

    I have everything on hand and am so excited to try this!! Thanks Katie, you are the best!

  11. Amelia Avatar

    Can Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother be purchased at any health food store? I use Braggs… Thanks!

  12. frances Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi there Everyone. I feel like I am in my second Heaven when reading all the comments, checking out the links of Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe, the Ginger Bug, reading about Little House which I also grew up with. I am 64 years old, pensioner, female and love this Blog. I am into Kefir Milk and making Kefir Milk Cream Cheese, Kombucha, Blackstrap Molasses, Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother, Bone Broth and Gelatine. Also Epsom Salts. This is my Christmas Gift to you all and it does work. I got it for Free and that is why I am giving it to you Free. I use 8 teaspoons of Epsom Salts in One Liter of cold, boiled water. Shake it up and drink One Tablespoon of the water each morning and I have been FREE of the arthritis in my hands for more than a year and no medication. I keep it next to my kettle so as to remember to take it. It is so mild it does not give you the runs. Regards Frances from Sunny South Africa

    1. victoria Avatar

      5 stars
      That’s terrific. I will follow your morning routine because I suffer from constipation. I live with Candida so my diet is very good.
      Thanks for the tip Frances.

    2. Terri Avatar

      So nice. Was just curious, I’m 62 and am early in my journey down this healthier more natural lifestyle myself. Have you continued with the Epsom salts supplement and are you still pain free from arthritis? God bless and Hope all is well with you, from America!

  13. Terelyn Avatar

    5 stars
    Is there a substitute for the ACV? Can I use coconut vinegar? Or what about the liquid that separates from yogurt (whey)? I read all the Laura Ingalls’ books and loved them, too. 🙂

  14. Michelle Davidson Avatar
    Michelle Davidson

    This sounds pretty close to the “Good Girl Moonshine” that Trim Healthy Mama has, but more natural and not using stevia.


  15. Anna Avatar

    Made my first batch last night! I used 1 TBSP black strap molasses + 2 TBSP raw honey.

    A question before I drink it – are you meant to strain it first? It has lots of little floaty bits of minced ginger in it : )

  16. Jenn Avatar

    This is such a timely post as I just shared my Switchel recipe with a good friend. I personally prefer flavor of blackstrap molasses (I tend to be borderline anemic too!). Just as you noted lemon thyme is a nice addition, as is lemon balm. I suggest a microplane for the ginger – quick and potent.
    I consider Switchel my version of “sweet tea” as it share some similar flavor qualities. Hydrating and soothing to the stomach.

  17. April Avatar

    5 stars
    I found another article yesterday about Switchel…a word I hadn’t heard from probably 55 years! My mother always made it for my dad to take to the hay field every day to keep him hydrated in the hot sun…like people use Gatorade today! I’m definitely going to make some. Thanks!

  18. Betty Davis Avatar
    Betty Davis

    Must break in with a comment on your recommendation One Thousand Gifts be Ann Voskamp. This is one of the best reads in a very long time. I sit reading with pen and notepad in hand. Can’t wait to get started on my own list. Powerful, worth sharing with your spouse, a real game changer. Thanks.

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