Blackberry ginger switchel with rich blackberry flavor and smooth hints of spicy ginger that tickles your tongue is the perfect hydrating beverage. This cooling drink is full of potassium and naturally occurring electrolytes, making it the perfect natural Gatorade.
Switchel is a Natural Electrolyte Drink
This naturally sweetened electrolyte drink is a very simple beverage. It’s commonly made with water, apple cider vinegar, a natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup or molasses and ginger.
Switchel, also known as switzel, swizzle, ginger-water, haymaker’s punch or switchy, originated in the Caribbean and later became popular in American Colonies in the late 17th century (source). By the 19th century, it was often served to thirsty farmers during the summertime when they were working in the hot fields during hay harvest time (source).
Why You Should Be Making Your Own Switchel
Switchel is not only thirst-quenching and deliciously refreshing, but it’s also inexpensive and does not contain any refined sugars or artificial flavors and colors like most commercial electrolyte drinks.
It’s incredibly easy to double batch or tripe batch, making it wonderful for storing in the fridge to sip throughout the day or to serve to guests.
How to Make Your Own Switchel
You might already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Apple cider vinegar, raw honey or maple syrup and filtered water are three of the five ingredients. You’ll just need to head to the farmers market or your local grocery store to get some blackberries and ginger. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be able to forage for some blackberries or have blackberries growing on your property? It’s important to use fresh blackberries and ginger, although you could substitute frozen blackberries if needed.
Switchel comes together so quickly, it’s as simple as combining all ingredients in a jar, giving it a good shake and refrigerating for later.
Once you have the main technique down, you can switch up the flavors by alternating the unrefined sweetener, using different seasonal fruit, or adding citrus like lemon or lime juice.
Homemade Probiotic Switchel Supports Digestion
One of switchel’s most important ingredients is apple cider vinegar. This popular vinegar is known for being one of those old fashioned home remedies, an elixir of sorts. Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium which is vital to our body and is loaded with enzymes, minerals and probiotics. It’s known to help support digestion and the immune system (source).
Ginger is the other star ingredient of switchel. This delicious rhizome is known for being a wonderful, supportive digestive aid (source). It adds a lovely spicy, yet sweet, flavor to the switchel.
Where to Find Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother
Apple cider vinegar is relatively easy to find in local grocery stores and almost all natural food stores. If you cannot find it locally, you can purchase it online. Be sure to only purchase raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that says “with the mother” on the bottle.
The Mother is the cloudy strands that settle to the bottom of the apple cider vinegar. It’s important to use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar because it contains the original minerals and enzymes from the apples. Take care to look for apple cider vinegar bottled in glass. Since apple cider vinegar is acidic, you don’t want it leeching any toxins from the plastic into your nutritious switchel.
Blackberry Ginger Switchel
- 1/4 cup organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother
- 1/3 cup raw honey or real maple syrup
- 1- inch knob of fresh ginger root peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup blackberries halved
- 8 cups filtered water
- Add all ingredients to a half-gallon (2 quart) mason jar or large pitcher. Cover with lid and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator at least 12 hours. Strain and serve cold or over ice.
Pro Tip: Use Half-Gallon Mason Jars
Half-gallon mason jars are relatively easy to find and inexpensive. Making switchel is very easy to do in these wide mouth jars. Ingredients can easily be added in seconds. The lids are super helpful and allow you to shake the switchel, and to combine your ingredients quickly. Then all you need to do is place the mason jar in the refrigerator. The jars are perfect for storage and wide enough to add ice to later if you prefer icy switchel.
Some natural foods stores carry the half gallon jars in bulk or sold as single jars. If you cannot find them locally, I recommend buying them online to guarantee that they are true, good-quality, thick glass jars.
Our Favorite Thirst-Quenching Drinks for Hot Summer Days
While we tend to stick to water and herbal teas, it’s fun to mix it up with homemade drinks to serve for special occasions (or even “just because.”) Here’s some of our favorite thirst-quenching drinks for hot summer days, and you can find all our drink recipes here.
Water Kefir is a naturally fermented, probiotic drink made with a starter culture called water kefir grains. These small, crystal-like structures of bacteria and yeast help to transform sugar water and fruit juice into a pleasantly tart, fizzy drink reminiscent of soda. You can even flavor it, as we did in this recipe for Cherry Water Kefir.
Kombucha is also a naturally fermented drink positively brimming with good-for-your gut beneficial bacteria. Slightly sour, and reminiscent of apple cider vinegar, kombucha can be enjoyed on its own, mixed with fruit or vegetable juices as well as blended into smoothies and slushies. This Cranberry Kombucha Slushy is a favorite.
Even lemonade can be given a probiotic twist like this naturally fizzy homemade Probiotic Honey Lemonade Soda.
Raspberry Ginger Soda sparkles with the vibrant flavors of raspberry and ginger, and is made fizzy through use of a ginger bug which acts like a sourdough starter, collecting beneficial bacteria and natural, wild yeasts.
Homemade Root Beer can be super fun to make, although this traditional and historical recipe offers a flavor profile quite a bit different from the commercial root beer you might be used to.
Similar to kombucha, Jun Tea, is a drink of fermented tea. It’s sweetened with raw honey and flavored by green tea for a delicate, fizzy, mead-like refreshment.