This homemade switchel recipe is a refreshing and healthy probiotic drink made with water and apple cider vinegar. Also known as haymaker’s punch or an apple cider vinegar drink, it’s sweetened with molasses and flavored up countless different ways for a fantastic energy boost and a refreshing drink on a hot day.
We love finding natural solutions to boost our immune systems, improve our health, and make our taste buds happy at the same time!
Some of our favorite homemade healthy recipes are homemade elderberry syrup, homemade sparkling apple cider, dandelion root tea latte, instant herbal iced tea, a delicious hops tea (great for winding down at night), and homemade kombucha.
What is Switchel?
I like to think of switchel as the original sports drink, or an old-fashioned energy drink.
Switchel has been around for hundreds of years, it’s also referred to as Haymaker’s Punch, or some people now call it an apple cider vinegar drink.
You can purchase drinks like this in many grocery stores now, but you’ll pay upwards of $4.00 per bottle! That just seems crazy when you can make it at home for pennies!
Switchel is a probiotic beverage with a combination of water, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, and, traditionally, sweetened with molasses. Oftentimes ginger is added for flavor, as in the recipe below.
When your body becomes dehydrated, your cells need more than just water to rehydrate. This homemade switchel recipe does just that, it rehydrates your body, replenishes your electrolytes and tastes delicious!
What Are the Benefits of Switchel?
Because you make switchel with apple cider vinegar (preferably organic and with the “Mother”), it holds all the same benefits of apple cider vinegar, plus the added mineral benefits of the sorghum or molasses and sea salt.
Switchel is good for:
- Replenishing electrolytes
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving gut health
- Helping potentially lower blood sugar levels and manage diabetes (source)
- Aiding in weight loss (source)
- Skin health
What is Switchel Used For?
Switchel is a delicious drink that you can enjoy any time of year. As mentioned above, it’s fantastic to help replenish electrolytes after a workout or a long day working in the sun or heat.
It’s a great drink to sip on during the cold and flu season to help boost your immune system and might be a fantastic addition to your health if you have any skin or gut-health-related issues.
Remember, we’re not doctors and are not prescribing this as a remedy for any medical-related issues. We always recommend checking with a healthcare provider before using this for medical reasons.
Is Switchel a Fermented Drink?
Switchel itself has not been fermented in the way Kombucha or Water Kefir is fermented, but because we’re using apple cider vinegar (with the “Mother”), it is considered a fermented drink and contains probiotics from the vinegar.
You can flavor switchel in countless different ways. If you make homemade vinegar this is a fantastic way to try out different flavors by using your homemade vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar.
You can also add a squeeze of lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange juice. Swap out three cups of the water in the recipe with your favorite fruit juice, or even try freshly macerated fruit from your trees in the summer (plums and cherries make a fantastic addition to switchel!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar – be sure you’re using either homemade vinegar or organic vinegar with the “Mother”.
- Sweetener of choice – I’m using sorghum syrup in this recipe. Traditionally, switchel is sweetened with molasses, but you can also use maple syrup, honey, stevia, or even regular or brown sugar.
- Ginger – this is a great addition, especially after over-indulgence or for an upset stomach.
- Sea Salt – this is an important addition to replenish electrolytes and minerals. You may think adding salt to a sweet beverage is odd, but you shouldn’t notice a salty flavor at all.
- Cayenne (optional) – if you feel like you’re fighting illness or need an extra boost of energy, adding a pinch of cayenne is a great option.
- Water or Juice – the bulk of the recipe is 3 3/4 cups water, if you want to try different flavor variations, swap out three cups of water with fruit juice.
1. Add grated ginger and sweetener of choice to a quart-sized mason jar.
2. Pour 3/4 cup hot water (not boiling) over the ingredients and stir until combined.
3. Add 3 cups of cold water, then add the apple cider vinegar. If you want to flavor your switchel, you will omit the additional water and use a fruit juice of choice.
4. Finally add in a pinch of sea salt and up to 1/8th teaspoon cayenne, give it a final stir and enjoy!
More Recipes We Love
If you like this homemade switchel recipe, be sure to try some of our other favorite fermented items:
- Homemade Natural Water Flavoring
- Lacto-Fermented Green Beans (aka “Pizza Beans”)
- Preserved Lemons (Easy Fermented Lemons)
- Lacto-Fermented Tomatoes (quick and easy preservation method)
- Fermented Cranberry Sauce
- Homemade Kombucha – A Healthy Summer Drink
- Cherry Almond Flavored Kombucha (How to Second Ferment Kombucha)
- Homemade Cultured Soft Cheese (aka “Dream” Cheese)
- Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut
Did you try this recipe? If so, we’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then be sure to snap a picture and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!
Switchel Recipe (Apple Cider Vinegar Drink or Haymaker’s Punch)
- 1 tbsp ginger grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
- 3 tbsp sorghum or molasses, honey, maple syrup, etc.
- 3/4 cup water hot, but not boiling
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar organic and raw, with the "Mother"
- 3 cups water or fruit juice of choice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne optional
- Add grated ginger and sweetener of choice to a quart-sized mason jar.
- Pour hot water (not boiling) over the ingredients and stir until combined.
- Add three cups of cold water, then add the apple cider vinegar. If you want to flavor your switchel, you will omit the additional water and use a fruit juice of choice at this time.
- Finally, add a pinch of sea salt and up to 1/8th teaspoon cayenne, give it a final stir, pour over ice and enjoy!
- Can use any sweetener of choice (sorghum, maple syrup, honey, molasses, stevia, white or brown sugar).
- For an extra boost of energy, add up to 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper.
- To flavor your switchel, swap 2 cups of the water for any fruit juice of choice. Or add in a squeeze of your favorite citrus, or macerate berries into your drink. The options are endless, so have fun with it!
- The nutrition facts above are calculated using water and sorghum syrup.