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.


132 responses to “Refreshing Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe”

  1. Melisa Avatar

    Would it work to throw all the ingredients in a blender rather than having to mince the ginger?

  2. Phil Avatar

    I grew up in Vermont, and as in one previous comment, the person also remembered being served Switchel water on a hot day while haying. I to remember that tradition, and being told that nothing will quench your thirst better.

  3. Lisa Avatar

    5 stars
    Can this be used as a base for a hot drink? If made with 2 cups of water then added to a mug 1/2 full of boiled water?

  4. Duncan Avatar

    Very impressed with both your knowledge and an honest “frankness” which is relentlessly becoming a rare attribute.
    Question: Does the Ginger/Molasses Switchell have a shelf life.

  5. Sara Avatar

    If I freeze this, will that kill any of the benefits of any of the ingredients?

  6. MarieS Avatar

    5 stars
    This is the best drink ever. I have a little assembly line with multiple bottles on the countertop. It develops a deeper flavor and gets bubblier after a couple of days.

  7. Rachel Amanda Avatar
    Rachel Amanda

    5 stars
    We make this at home all the time and it’s the only fermented drink my daughter will let pass her lips. They did a pioneer unit at school, including reading Little House on the Prairie, that was capped off with a potluck lunch. We made haymaker’s punch as our contribution and all of the kids enjoyed it so much they asked me to make it for another potluck later in the year.

  8. Kate Avatar

    My husband got a bottle of Switchel from our local food co-op. He liked it so much he began doing a little research and found this post. Now our whole family loves it…and two of my kids (12 and 10 years old) are the ones that made it. So easy and so good! Thanks for posting.

  9. Nicole Avatar

    5 stars
    Even the kids liked it. I used lemon instead of lime and it tasted like ginger lemonade

  10. Bob Avatar

    3 stars
    I let it ferment in a sealed, dark glass, quart bottle for about 2 weeks at room temp. I relieve the gas pressure every day or so. This produces a very tangy, fizzy drink when refrigerated and generally produces a mother. I also include both cinnamon and ginger. At the end of the process, I filter everything through brown coffee filters, into a quart mason jar, and don’t use any metal tools throughout the whole mixing and fermentation.

  11. Mary Avatar

    Has anyone added minced turmeric to their recipe in addition to the ginger??

  12. Donna Avatar

    5 stars
    Lovely recipe! I’ve been growing my own ginger since last year (I have too much ginger now!) and am always on the lookout for new recipes with ginger in them. Would love to try your ginger honey switchel too. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Lucy Avatar

    5 stars
    Just made it! Thanks so much! Never heard of this stuff before, but I am willing to try it since all the ingredients are favorites of mine! 🙂 I’m hoping this will help with my digestive issues and morning sickness I’ve been having since being pregnant with my 3rd child. 🙂 Can’t wait to try it tomorrow morning!

  14. Tiffany Avatar

    5 stars
    WOW!! I’ve made this several times. Had no idea it had a name. I love it! Great for stomach issues, appetite suppressant, I sleep like a baby. I just ” feel” better since I’ve been drinking it . Yesterday I had a fresh batch…had just poured the first glass.. And then disaster… I dropped the jar… The glass jar! I literally cried! So I started a new batch. But now that my big jar is gone… Can I store it in something beside glass? Like a BPA free container? Just temporally until I can find another large jar.

  15. Marie Avatar

    5 stars
    I finally made this. Didn’t have limes so I used lemon juice. I let it steep for a couple of days at room temperature. It developed bubbles and was a very refreshing drink. My second batch is brewing!

  16. Vieve Avatar

    Our recipe is similar, but different, and tastes very much like ginger kombucha. In a quart jar put about two cups of warm water. Stir in 2T of honey. Fill half way with ice. Add one, very level tsp. of dried, organic ginger, add about 1 and 3/4 Tablespoon of Braggs apple cider vinegar. Fill to almost the top (maybe an inch from the neck) of the jar with water. Stir well, stir or swirl as you drink to stir up the ginger. Fresh ginger would work, but it would have to steep overnight. Sip it all day!

  17. Nancy Avatar

    Could we use yogurt whey instead of ACV? I have a lot from making yogurt..

4.62 from 54 votes (23 ratings without comment)

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