Haymaker's Punch: Classic Switchel Recipe - Make a Refreshing Summer Drink | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Switchel Recipe (Haymaker's Punch)

how to make switchel,  Homemade energy drink switchel in a mason jar. top view apples and ginger and sweetener

Switchel, or haymaker’s punch, is a refreshing summer drink with plenty of health benefits.

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Make Your Own Refreshing Summertime Drink

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Switchel, also known as Haymaker’s Punch, is a refreshing drink with apple cider vinegar. It was how colonial farmers quenched their thirst in the hot, sunbaked fields—which is enough of an endorsement for me!

Switchel, a refreshing and ancient beverage, combines the goodness of ginger, apple cider vinegar, and sweeteners like molasses and maple syrup. Known for its hydrating properties, this tangy elixir boasts a unique flavor profile, making it a wholesome and natural alternative to sugary drinks. Enjoyed for centuries, switchel is a timeless, revitalizing choice.

This drink is also called Haymaker’s Punch because it was often drunk while haying—which is hard work under the hot summer sun!

What Is Switchel?

Switchel has a long history as a traditional drink with Colonial Americans. (Read about the history of Switchel.) It’s easy to make with just a few ingredients—apple cider vinegar, ginger, water, and a sweetener. 

Think of it as “Nature’s Gatorade.” It will give you an energizing electrolyte boost better than any pricey energy drink or soda. All the ingredients (except water, of course) are actually sources of the electrolyte potassium. Switchel is known as a health tonic that boosts the immune system, too (but don’t tell the kids it’s “healthy”). Apple cider vinegar even helps to detoxify your organs!

Its cold-weather cousin, Apple-Cider Tonic, is also known to keep your immune system running smoothly and can help keep you safe from those nasty winter colds. 

switchel, haymakers punch on a picnic table

We tested a few great Switchel recipes to see if they lived up to their old-fashioned fame… we are a huge fan! Try them for yourself!

Old-Fashioned Switchel Recipe

Here’s a classic Haymaker’s Punch recipe, which was unearthed from the archives of The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 1/2 cups molasses
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 

We like molasses, but you could replace it with maple syrup, honey, or another sweetener. You could cut back on the sweeteners, too. Find the right balance for you. Remember to start with less—as you can always add more. Switchel shouldn’t coat your mouth; it should taste refreshing. Another idea is to add a teaspoon of fresh lemon or lime juice for zing.

Switchel Recipe from an Almanac Reader

Here’s an alternative switchel recipe to try, courtesy of Dennis Miles, an Almanac Facebook fan and full-time blacksmith. He drinks his Haymaker’s Punch from a mid-19th century haymaker’s jug.

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 cups raw or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (fresh)

Serve in mason jars.

Switchel: A Refreshing Summer Drink

My friend Wendy and I decided to make a pitcher one summer’s day using our Almanac recipe.

Mmmm! Switchel is so refreshing and delicious! It tastes pleasantly tart and, surprisingly, not too sweet.

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!

woman holding a glass of switchel, a refreshing summer drink

You can make the switchel last longer or less sweet by adding more water or a bubbly seltzer. (My guess is it could turn into a cocktail drink, too.) 

Learn More

Learn more about the History of Switchel from the Almanac archives.

If you enjoyed switchel, try out our other refreshing drink recipes:

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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