If you need a cool drink on a hot day, you have to try switchel. I just rediscovered this age-old drink in the Almanac archives and had to share my find.
Switchel was how hardworking farmers in colonial days quenched their thirst out in the hot, sunbaked fields. That's enough of an endorsement for me!
Also called Haymaker's Punch (because it was drunk while haying fields), switchel is easy to make with just a few ingredients.
Here's a classic recipe, courtesy of Dennis Miles, an Almanac Facebook fan and full-time blacksmith. He drinks his switchel from a mid-19th century haymaker's jug.
- 1 gal. water
- 2 cups raw or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ginger
Serve in mason jars.
Cider vinegar is a key ingredient—which many folks find has added health benefits. Age-old farmers found switchel to not only be hydrating, but also energizing.
My friend, Wendy, and I decided to make a pitcher one summer's day. We thought it would be great for a party.
Mmmm! Switchel is so refreshing and, boy, is it drinkable—much more so than plain water. I'll say that it did quench my thirst for water, but not for switchel. We drank half the pitcher and felt quite, ah, saturated!
Find more summertime drink recipes on Almanac.com.
Catherine, our New Media Editor, joined The Old Farmer's Almanac in 2008. She edits content on both this Web site, Almanac.com, and the companion site to The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids publication, Almanac4kids.com. She also pens the Almanac Companion enewsletters and keeps up with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!