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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

Servings

4 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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

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.

Notes

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.

Sources
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.

Comments

132 responses to “Refreshing Ginger Honey Switchel Recipe”

  1. Brianna Berens Avatar
    Brianna Berens

    Can you reuse the “brine” or will it be as potions?

  2. Christopher Avatar
    Christopher

    But… but I thought you said “no need for a scoby or grains” but, requiring the “mother” IS requiring a scoby.

    1. Charlotte Avatar
      Charlotte

      You can buy apple cider vinegar no need to make it from scratch in this recipe

  3. Lora Avatar

    5 stars
    Hello, thank you for this great recipe! I just made it, but I am wondering how much of the Switchel is recommended daily? Thanks

  4. Jason Avatar

    Love it. Started with this recipe and branched out. Ive started putting my ginger in a coffee cup and heating in microwave to boil, this gets the ginger flavor going. I let all my recipes sit 24 hours room temp then refrigerate, consume within 3 days.

    Apple 1 qt, 2 tbs vinegar, 1 tbsp each honey and sugar, slice of ginger, slice of lemon, half an apple sliced thin. Sweeten to taste after 24 hour.

    Blueberry, Strawberry same as above and substitute the fruit.
    My wife prefers a milder “brew” reduce the vinegar to 1 tbsp and reduce or skip the ginger.
    I just made pomegranate tonight.
    The recipe lends well to experimentation, have fun with it.

  5. Jennifer Avatar
    Jennifer

    Why does this have to refrigerate overnight? Can you not drink it immediately if desired?

  6. carrie Avatar
    carrie

    Hi I have high levels of candida in my body and can’t have honey or other sweeteners. Wondering can you make this with stevia or no sweetener?

    1. April Avatar

      I use stevia and it tastes good. You would just have to experiment to get the right amount. The downside would be that it wouldn’t have the same nutritional properties that honey/molasses would give it, but you still have everything else. Also, I add tumeric to my blend!

  7. John Hite Avatar
    John Hite

    Don’t know why you say it is fermented. It mixes well with alcoholic products but it itself is not fermented.

  8. Brenda Avatar
    Brenda

    Why do you say the Switchel drink with blackstrap molasses is fermented?

  9. William Avatar

    Switchel drink is the best drink that i can attest to. It has been part and parcel of my fitness journey for over 30 years now. Its benefits are several apart from the ones mentioned in this blog. When i came across this recipe, it reminded me of my grandfather who introduced me to it.

  10. Christine Avatar
    Christine

    I thought apple cider vinegar should not be put in the fridge because it will kill its good bacteria.

  11. April Avatar

    5 stars
    Oh yes! I remember 65+ years ago my mother making switchel for my father when he went to the hay field for the afternoon. I never really forgot about it, but didn’t realize what a good drink it would be and that it would come back in this generation. Thanks for bringing back memories…and a good recipe!

  12. Jody Avatar

    5 stars
    I especially like to make Switchel in the summer and ice it. We call it haymaker’s tea. Very refreshing and supposedly restores electrolytes to the body. I use less sweetener (honey/molasses).

  13. Dana Avatar

    In the instructions, maybe it’s worth suggesting to shake the mixture BEFORE adding the seltzer if you’re using it. I was just picturing some poor soul getting a switchel shower. 🙂

  14. Julie Avatar

    I am wanting to try this, and your recipe looks and seems so refreshing. I have seen those jars (with plastic lids as opposed to metal) in a few photos in internet tonight but I cannot find them. I’ve checked Amazon, eBay, and Walmart to no avail. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  15. Deb Avatar

    Hi Katie! This sounds delicious and I will be preparing it today. I was wondering if you strain the ginger and zest out before serving? Also, I don’t have a lime and so will be using only lime juice. Do you think adding another tablespoon of lime juice will substitute for having no zest? Thanks!

4.62 from 54 votes (23 ratings without comment)

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