Brooklyn is funny when it comes to food trends. Once you see a new food trend pop up, suddenly it's in every fancy shmancy store in the borough and a month later in every bodega. It's crazy how fast it happens and how quickly it catches on. One day, I was out shopping at my local cheese shop and saw a bottle of "Switchel." I had never heard of it before and was curious about the tag line that went something like, "nature's Red Bull." I bought it and, of course, immediately fell in love with it. It's a tart and sweet blend of apple cider vinegar, ginger juice, maple syrup and water - all things I love. Plus, it helps me get in my daily dose of apple cider vinegar, which has tons of health and beauty benefits!
However, that was the last time I ever bought switchel, because it turns out, unlike other food trends like wheatgrass shots, beet juice and overnight chia oats (or whatever), switchel is incredibly easy, and much, much, much cheaper to make on your own. That's because people have been making switchel since the colonial farming days and only recently did people start bottling it and charging an arm and a leg for very simple ingredients. Farmers used to whip up a batch of switchel or "haymakers punch" each morning and drink it while they worked to keep energized and hydrated all day long, while also clearing the nose and throat of allergens and hay.
There is no exact science to the switchel recipe; it's all about mixing the proportions to your liking. Use quality ingredients like Grade A maple syrup and a raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar like Braggs. Here is a loose recipe via Kitchn that you can tweak depending on how sweet or tart you want it. I like more ginger in mine, while others prefer a sweet flavor with more syrup.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons of Grade A maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of ginger juice
- 1 cup water
Add all the ingredients together in Mason Jar. Shake until combined and pour into ice filled glass.
The best part is, you can triple this recipe and make a huge batch in a pitcher to drink all week. You can also add some different flavors like lemon, lime, and apple cider or lighten it up by adding a spritz of seltzer and a sprig of mint. And if you want to make your own nature's Red Bull and vodka, you can easily spike your switchel! (Not recommended while farming.)
(all photos, jamie grill photography)