What is Switchel & How To Make This Gut-Healing Apple Cider Vinegar Drink

By September 18, 2017 No Comments

Vinegar is making a comeback and we are SO excited about its’ revival. Raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (or ‘ACV’ for short) is one of the oldest and most useful remedies on Earth so ANY opportunity to get creative in the kitchen with ACV is a challenge we’re up for! We use vinegar in just about everything from salad dressings to hair masks and now, a functional beverage!

MEET SWITCHEL– a fermented beverage that relies on pre-fermented apple cider vinegar, ginger, and a bit of maple syrup. A little spicy and a little sweet. If you’re looking to reap apple cider vinegar’s myriad benefits you can try it in this functional beverage. Some say switchel was influenced by oxymel, an ancient Greek medicinal elixir made from vinegar, honey and water. Wherever its origins, by the 18th century, switchel was the choice of American farmers during long work days to keep cool and stay hydrated.

2017 could just be the year switchel makes it mainstream again. We saw several new drinking vinegar brands at this years Natural Products Expo in Baltimore like Cide Road’s Organic Switchel and Vitox‘s Drinking Vinegar. Dr. Axe has proclaimed switchel the “Hipster Fermented Drink that Benefits Your Gut”. Even Jennifer Aniston drinks ACV in 2017. There’s a reason for its trendiness: with inflammation-reducing ginger and apple cider vinegar, one of my favorite natural remedies, it’s an easy-to-make drink brimming with healing ingredients. Give it a try!

Apple Cider Vinegar Switchel Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need to make 1 quart:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar (look for the kind with the mother)
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger  (add more for spiciness)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ½ lemon


  1. In a sterilized quart-size Mason jar, mix together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, and salt.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice into the jar and place the lemon half into the jar.
  3. Fill with water, seal the jar, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  4. Remove and discard the lemon; shake, drink, and enjoy. Can be served warm or on ice. Switchel will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Get Creative With These Substitutions

Molasses: a great natural source of Iron, B6, Potassium, Selenium and copper. It is considered diabetes-friendly and unlike refined sweeteners, it maintains many of the nutrients of the sugar cane; also a low-glycemic option for a sweetener.

Herbs: For flavor, you can use lime instead of lemon. Try adding other herbs besides just ginger and muddling the fresh leaves for flavor. Some herbs to consider are Basil, Lemon Thyme and Rosemary.

Seltzer Water: Though regular water is traditionally used in this recipe, seltzer water can give it natural fizz and make it even more refreshing. Since it is typically “aged” overnight in the fridge, try using regular water in the recipe, but only using half as much and then adding the additional as seltzer water when serving.

Cinnamon: If you prefer more of an apple-cider flavor, add a few cinnamon sticks to the overnight soak in the fridge in place of the ginger.

Honey: Raw honey is a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that makes it a nutrient powerhouse with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It is often recommended for digestive health and there is some evidence that it may benefit the skin when taken internally.

There you have it! Easy to make switchel. Let us know what you think and what flavors you explored!

Quick fact about how ACV becomes fermented: It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobacter). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.

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