Switchel

switchel in mason jar

Before the hot weather entirely disappears, whip yourself up a batch (or two. Or four) of this to swig in the morning, post-exercise, or after work mixed with a little whiskey.

Look for raw apple cider vinegar with the mother, because a) it has more probiotics and b) it might continue to ferment a little and get a little fizzy on its own. No need for seltzer after all!

Also known as haymaker’s punch, switchel is a classic colonial farmer drink (because you need another reason to thank our agrarian heritage), starting to be popularized by homegrown hipsters. There are so many good qualities to this beverage: it’s full of electrolytes and probiotics, can be made entirely with local ingredients, and is also super delicious. I’m not really a drink person, except for tea, wine, beer and the occasional fancy cocktail (not soda or juice, is what I really mean I suppose)—but this is a fabulous exception and one I would like to see proliferate. Bring this instead of lemonade to your next grill session.

Speaking of (sort of) historical dishes, restaurants are increasingly trying to convert traditional cuisines to a modern palate. Inspiration, not replication, they say. I’m most excited about a reinvention and popularization of Native American cuisine, because I think we still have a lot to learn from the people who created dishes directly from this place we now live, instead of bringing in our immigrants techniques and ingredients.

That being said, some of the thing those settlers came up with are fabulous too. Case in point:

Switchel
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (raw if possible)
1/4 cup honey (maple syrup, molasses, or sugar is also acceptable, but I like honey best)
A thumb of raw ginger, or 1 tsp ground ginger, or a combination
A few cups of water (as much as will fit in the jar—you can add more later)
Seltzer

Mince the ginger—large-ish chunks are fine. Combine everything except the seltzer in a mason jar (or other container, but you achieve a retro coolness factor with the mason jar). Shake and refrigerate for a few hours. Strain before serving if you don’t like eating chunks of raw ginger (I find it a little exciting), mix in some seltzer (depending on how concentrated it is), and some whiskey if you want to go the cocktail route, and imbibe at will.

Other additions: mint, basil, elderberry juice, blueberries, or anything you might add to lemonade. Would probably be excellent mixed with kombucha too.

Disclaimer: Photo from Instragram. Taken by me, but has been filtered. 

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