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Switchel: a natural version of a sports drink

 
steward
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Elaine Sheff of Green Path Herb School has a medicinal switchel she wrote about here:



http://greenpathherbschool.com/herbal-switchels/

I'm thinking about trying a modified/quickie version of this for a workshop dinner tonight!

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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At the Rocket Oven Pizza Party, folks asked for the Switchel recipe. While I recommend reading through the links and the comments in the first page (this is page two of the thread) for more tips and info, here is the simple way I made the Switchel that was served.

First, I use these handy, glass two-quart pitchers (whose square shapes are very friendly in a crowded refrigerator) Amazon link to Bistro Glass Pitcher.

So, in the 2-quart pitcher, add:
  • one cup organic maple syrup (we get ours at Costco)
  • one cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • one healthy splash organic ginger juice - any were from a teaspoon or a tablespoon or so, or to taste (Amazon link)
  • fill rest of pitcher with water

  • That's it!

    I some times prefer honey instead of maple syrup, but then the Switchel would not be vegan friendly, and some times the honey is a bit more work to dissolve in the water, especially if the water is nice and cold. For a crowd, maple syrup is quicker!
     
    gardener
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    i find it so awesome that so many regions have their own version of this same drink. I drank this in Japan when I was young (ACV, honey, lemonade) and mixed up a recipe of it recently and had one of those blast-from-the-past moments.

    Our local version would use sugarcane juice, which is full of minerals (it`s hard to store, so the local whole molasses may be a good substitute. It`s only boiled, no other refining). I made some strawberry vinegar last year and this seems like the perfect way to use it.

    the honey thing is interesting- I brew beer and generally use dextrose or table sugar as the primer (to get the beer to carbonate in secondary fermentation). Honey is hard for me to get so I generally don`t use it and prefer molasses, but a few years ago I had a special beer I was making and I used an unusual local honey as the primer (bracatinga honey, the bees harvest secretions from honeydew kind of insects, it is rare and very special, with an interesting flavor https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/bracatinga-honeydew-honey/ ). The beer carbonated just fine but to a lesser extent, but at a low concentration (don`t remember the numbers but it would have been no more than 3% by volume, i assume). I rememeber thinking afterward that honey might not have been the smartest idea for a fermentation!
     
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    Recently watched a Townsends video on making 18th century Switchel. He gives a recipe and alternatives along with some history. The Romans made it with honey, and apparently during the 1700's rum was a possible ingredient.

     
    Jocelyn Campbell
    steward
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    Lucretia, I loved hearing the history and all the different names for Switchel - thank you for posting that video!

    I think the version I make has a higher proportion of vinegar to the sweetener and the water. Once, I tried to sub blackstrap molasses for the full amount of maple syrup or honey in my version and it was horrible! I use molasses so rarely, I didn't even think of the lighter versions, as he talks about in the video. Even with a lighter molasses, I think the lower ratio of molasses to water would still be required.

    Interesting that powdered ginger was so common back then. I haven't tried Switchel with powdered ginger - only fresh minced or the bottled ginger juice.

     
    pollinator
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      A good thing to add for electrolytes besides sea or pink Himalayan salt is a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar and a small pinch of Epson salt for your potassium and magnesium. I like to add some real lemon juice  too along with the ginger. I prefer the Pink Himalayan salt and use it in all my cooking to, In fact we are cooken up some Himalayan possum. We don't call it Himalayan possum because of the salt , its because I found him-a-layen on the road about a mile back.
     Seriously though, this kind of drink is 100 times better than sodas and fruit cocktails and such. I made something a long time ago that was called blackberry branch. It was blackberries and ACV and way to much sugar but it was very tasty, I made it really strong so when I went trekking I would pour a little in my cup and fill the rest with water.
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    My greatgrandparents talked about switchel. A few years ago I found an old recipe and made a few batches. I used black strap molasses. Last year I used a few fresh blackberries & mint leaves as a garnish. Grandma & grandpa knew what was good.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Posca, the Roman precursor to Switchel? Cool article on a red wine vinegar and water drink from Roman times.

    My Favorite Beverage Is a 2,000-Year-Old Energy Drink From Ancient Rome


    There are simple recipes near the end of the article with red wine, honey, herbs or spices (and water of course).

     
    pollinator
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    Towsend sells a switchel concentrate https://www.townsends.us/collections/coffee-tea-spices-miscellaneous/products/switchel-concentrate-sw958-p-1558

     
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