Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (2024)

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This nutrient packed drink is perfect for hot summer days of hard work or play. Here’s my favorite recipe for switchel, otherwise known as haymaker’s punch.

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The Story

Many years ago I went to school for Sustainable Food Production. It was a one year course in small scale farming at a community college in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

I was fresh out of my four year degree and I imagine my family thought I was a little crazy to be going back to school immediately. But, I knew my life’s passion was farming and agriculture and this little diploma program seemed like the ticket I needed to learn the kind of farming I wanted to do.

Crappy Post College Jobs

I moved to Fergus Falls and set about finding a job to pay the rent on my studio apartment, the first palce I ever lived on my own.

Unfortunately Fergus didn’t have much to offer in the way of good employment opportunities so I found myself working as a housekeeper and banquet server at a chain hotel.

The pay was lousy and housekeeping is a horrendous job. I could do a whole post on things you should do to make a housekeeper’s life easier, but that’s a whole other story. In short, pick up after yourself and return your room service tray to the front desk like a decent human being.

ANYWAY.

When I was a housekeeper there was a ton of turnover in fellow housekeepers and the head housekeeper position.

One of the head housekeepers, MaryAnn, was a lovely woman who I liked very much. She once came to check on my progress where I had the TV on HBO and I was listening to a documentary about George Harrison. She sat on the bed and gabbed with me about his music. We talked about other things, farm life and from-scratch recipes.

This recipe for switchel comes from her. The recipe card says that she had gotten it from a waiter. Who the waiter was or where they worked I don’t know, but I’ve kept and used this recipe for almost a decade.

Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (1)

What is Switchel?

Switchel is a drink that contains vinegar, a natural sweetener, ginger, and water. It has a taste that is almost like a gingery iced tea. If made with club soda it tastes more like a homemade ginger ale.

This beverage is also called “Haymaker’s Punch” because it was often made around haying time in the 19th century.

If you’ve ever put up hay before, especially small square bales, you know it is hot and laborious work. Switchel is basically old fashioned Gatorade, packed with potassium and electrolites.

According to Almanac, a large punch bowl of Switchel (liberally spike with Jamaican rum) was kept on the floor of the U.S. Senate in the early 1800s. They don’t do things like they used to, that’s for sure.

Where Does Switchel Come From?

According to Smithsonian Magazine the origins of Switchel are not quite known. Possible origins are from the West Indies, Amish communities, or further back even still. It is somewhat similar to an oxymel, where honey is mixed with ingredients to make a healthful syrup.

Not in the mood to try this recipe for Switchel? An even simpler, refreshing summer drink is Sun Tea!

Or make your switchel with your own homemade apple cider vinegar!

Supplies and Ingredients for Switchel

Since Switchel is a drink of the working class it doesn’t call for any fancy ingredients or supplies to make it.

Supplies

  • 2 Cup Glass Measuring Cup
  • Whisk
  • Half Gallon Mason Jar or Pitcher
  • Teaspoon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 2 Scant Teaspoons Ground ginger
  • 2 Quarts cold water, or club soda
  • 1/2 Cup Oatmeal (optional)
  • Lemons (optional)
Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (2)

How to Make Switchel

Using a two cup liquid measuring spoon, add the apple cider vinegar, molasses, honey, and ginger.

Whisk these together until combined and the ginger dissolved.

Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (3)

Pour this into a half gallon mason jar or pitcher.

If you’d like to use lemons, wash, slice, and seed one lemon. Add this to the mason jar.

If you want to drink this with club soda and you are serving a large crowd, add two quarts of club soda to the mixture and stir gently, serve over ice.

If you don’t want a fizzy version, pour in two cups of cold water and stir until well combined. Serve over ice. Even better if you make it the day before you’ll need it.

Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (4)

Another option is to make the vinegar, molasses, honey, and ginger mixture along with the lemons, and keep it in the fridge. Then as you want a glass here or there, you can make individual servings.

A final option is to add a half cup of oats to the completed recipe. They will sink to the bottom after a few minutes.

Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (5)

My favorite Way to Drink Haymaker’s Punch

This is a base recipe that you ban play with however you like.

Personally, I tend to add a little less honey and a little more vinegar. I definitely prefer it with lemons, and club soda is definitely better than still water, although no less refreshing.

Does your family have a recipe for switchel? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (6)

Switchel (Haymaker’s Punch)

Print Recipe

Equipment

  • 2 Cup Glass Measuring Cup

  • Whisk

  • Half Gallon Mason Jar or Pitcher

  • Teaspoon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 2 Scant Teaspoons Ground ginger
  • 2 Quarts cold water or club soda
  • 1/2 Cup Oatmeal optional
  • Lemons optional

Instructions

  • Using a two cup liquid measuring spoon, add the apple cider vinegar, molasses, honey, and ginger.

  • Whisk these together until combined and the ginger dissolved.

  • Pour this into a half gallon mason jar or pitcher.

  • If you’d like to use lemons, wash, slice, and seed one lemon. Add this to the mason jar.

  • If you want to drink this with club soda and you are serving a large crowd, add two quarts of club soda to the mixture and stir gently, serve over ice.

  • If you don’t want a fizzy version, pour in two cups of cold water and stir until well combined. Serve over ice. Even better if you make it the day before you’ll need it.

  • Another option is to make the vinegar, molasses, honey, and ginger mixture along with the lemons, and keep it in the fridge. Then as you want a glass here or there, you can make individual servings.

  • A final option is to add a half cup of oats to the completed recipe. They will sink to the bottom after a few minutes.

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Recipe for Switchel or Haymaker's Punch - (2024)

FAQs

What are the benefits of drinking switchel? ›

The beverage is touted to have numerous benefits, including improved gut health, electrolyte replenishment during exercise, and blood sugar stabilization. However, there has been no research on switchel's connection to any of these health benefits.

Is Haymakers Punch good for you? ›

The farmers and sailors who drank Haymaker's Punch to slake their thirst valued the drink for its health benefits. It turns out they certainly knew a thing or two. It's like nature's original sports drink: it helps to rehydrate the body, replenish lost electrolytes due to sweating and provides a boost of energy.

What is Farmer's switchel? ›

Switchel is a traditional drink made from maple syrup, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger root, blackstrap molasses, and water. Switchel dates back to 17th century, where it was popular thrist-quencher with colonial farmers who called it "haymaker's punch".

What is ginger honey and apple cider vinegar good for? ›

Combining apple cider vinegar with honey and ginger creates a powerful boost of antioxidants that aids in digestion and weight loss. This drink can help to combat indigestion, nausea and bloating. Some folks notice a relief in their acid reflux symptoms when they drink this mixture regularly.

What is the difference between switchel and kombucha? ›

Where kombucha requires live bacterial colonies and days of fermentation, switchel is a happy and simple blend of water, ginger, apple cider vinegar and a sweetener, (usually maple syrup but can also be honey).

What is the shelf life of switchels? ›

What's the shelf life? The switchels have a shelf life of two years. Best before dates can be found on the neck of the switchel bottle in black ink.

Why do they call it a haymaker punch? ›

A haymaker is generally referring to a sweeping hook or an overhand thrown from the rear hand in a combat stance. It is colloquially known as a haymaker because the wide arc of the punch is so similar to the arc of a scythe when it is being used to cut hay.

How to do a haymaker punch? ›

The haymaker itself isn't just about arm strength; it's a whole-body movement. Engage your core, twist your hips, and pivot on your foot to channel maximum power into the punch. It's about making every part of your body work together, turning the punch into a powerful missile.

Is switchel a probiotic? ›

This microorganism called Alex is made up of millions of cells, not many of which are human cells.” This recipe for switchel, a probiotic beverage made in less than 5 minutes, is a great way to introduce beneficial microbial populations into the terrarium of your self.

Does vinegar quench your thirst? ›

Drinking vinegar water is not exactly thirst quenching, but apple cider vinegar can easily be used to make a tasty homemade salad dressing, a marinade for meat, or to add a splash of flavor to roasted vegetables for very few calories.

Does apple cider vinegar go bad? ›

If you're wondering, does apple cider vinegar go bad? The answer is no! Under normal storage conditions, it generally maintains its integrity. As mentioned earlier, ACV naturally preserves itself. This means it doesn't really go off.

When was switchel popular? ›

Switchel debatably originated in the Caribbean, but New England also holds credit as the source, and it became a popular summer drink in the American Colonies in the late 17th century.

Can ginger and honey reduce belly fat? ›

Ginger, honey, and lemon juice are believed to have properties that can aid in weight loss and help reduce belly fat. However, it's important to note that these ingredients alone are not a magic solution for losing weight and reducing belly fat.

What happens when you mix apple cider vinegar and ginger? ›

Raw apple cider vinegar is alkaline-forming, which means that it can help to balance your body's pH levels. It also has prebiotic properties which boost gut health and immunity. Combining apple cider vinegar with honey and ginger creates a powerful boost of antioxidants that aids in digestion and weight loss.

Is it better to drink apple cider vinegar in morning or night? ›

Is it good to drink apple cider vinegar before going to bed? Apple cider vinegar offers many possible health benefits. However, besides potentially lowering fasting blood sugar for some people, drinking it right before bed doesn't appear to have more benefits than consuming it at any other time of day.

What are the benefits of switzel? ›

The ginger that makes up a key part of switchel is a natural inflammation reducer. Inflammation, causes physical symptoms like skin problems and digestive issues. So keeping inflammation at bay with the ginger found in switchel can have other unexpected, welcome side effects, like clearing up acne.

Does switchel have electrolytes? ›

An Electrolyte Drink

Interestingly, molasses is very high in electrolytes, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and apple cider vinegar is also high in potassium, making switchel a terrific electrolyte drink! It also has sugar for energy. Maple syrup also has potassium and sodium.

What does drinking ACV every morning do? ›

While more data is needed to definitively say that ACV offers health benefits, some data suggests that it may help support healthy blood sugar levels, weight-management goals and heart health. It may also have antimicrobial effects.

References

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