Forget coffee and modern energy drinks, it seems our ancestors were staying up late on something else back in the 18th century. We’re talking about the time when our bearded forefathers colonised The States, worked the land dressed in linen shirts and braces, tried their hand at turning hay and revived themselves on one of life's simple pleasures, switchel.
An energy drink for the weary eyed of the 18th century.
What is Switchel?
Switchel is a simple drink going by many names; switzel, swizzle, ginger-water, haymaker's punch or switchy.
A number of suggestions have been made as to where it originated from, either the Caribbean or the USA. One certainty is it was enjoyed by tired farmers at the end of a hard days labour, hence the name haymaker's labour.
The drink is made with apple cider vinegar, water and some kind of sweetener (often maple syrup). Depending upon the chosen ingredients, switchel can contain vitamins, glucose, antioxidants and electrolytes lost after heavy exertion (e.g. potassium, magnesium, and calcium), which is why it is widely touted as a good substitute for sports/energy drinks as well as plain old soft drinks (according to awildgreenlife)
A refreshing thirst quencher, switchel is most commonly enjoyed all on its own or served on the rocks. Word on the street is it’s also perfect for perking up cocktails or splashed in with some vodka, whisky, bourbon or rye.
Up Mountain, an artisanal Brooklyn based Switchel making outfit also suggest adding it in to salad dressings, stocks or marinades.
And if you're feeling under the weather, you can also heat it up and drink it warm much like a health tonic.
All in all it seems if we haven't tried it we might well be missing out on something worth trying.
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