We love going back to simple basics, and we're now carrying Saint Paul Switchel – a centuries-old heritage recipe based on the "haymaker's punch" consumed by farmers while scything hay. It's a new old-fashioned beverage that is local, small-batch crafted and a serious thirst quencher with the natural restorative benefits of fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar and wildflower honey. And that's it – just 3 ingredients!
It even has literary cred: Herman Melville mentioned it in I and My Chimney, and Laura Ingalls Wilder described a similar drink that Ma sent out to Pa in the fields in The Long Winter.
As a fermented drink switchel has probiotic cultures, but they are different than kombucha, and some find its taste slightly sweeter and a bit more mellow. Potential benefits include immune-boosting properties from ginger, digestive aid from apple cider vinegar, a bit of energy from honey, and electrolyte replenishing. Sip cold in summer, warm it up in winter, even use in cocktails – it's sweet-tangy and all-out refreshing!
Now check out this cute video of chickens eating the leftover ginger scraps.
For a bit of mixology, here are ideas from Saint Paul Switchel's maker, Colleen Schlieper:
FIZZY SWITCH: Dilute 1:1 (equal parts) with soda water.
HEAT 'ER UP: Warm and serve with a cinnamon stick.
WHISKEY SWITCHEL: Add 1 oz whiskey per 6 oz switchel. Serve over ice, or warm up for a cold night.
SMOOTHIE: 4 oz switchel, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup cranberry juice, 1 cup frozen berries, 1 banana. Blend!
ST. PAUL SWITCHEL HARVARD EDITION: 1/2 cup rum, 1 cup switchel. Enjoy in moderation. (Mentioned in a mid-1800s Harvard newsletter!)
ST. PAUL SWITCHEL BLOCK PARTY: 4 pints switchel, 1/2 cup spiced rum, frozen lemonade ice cubes.