Switchel, also know as Haymakers tea, is a popular drink for people doing hard work or to give an invalid energy. Think of it as the Colonial Gatorade. It is popular, even today, in the Appalachias and in the Prairie States.
You can even read about switchel in my favorite book series, "The Little House on the Prairie". Ma makes switchel as a surprise for Pa and allows the girls to bring it to him in the hay field.
Switchel recipes change according to each individual family's tastes. Here is a basic recipe: one part apple cider vinegar, two parts sweetener, two inch piece of ginger.
Grate the ginger, then add the honey and vinegar. Refrigerate until needed. Mix 4 tablespoons into a cup of water to make switchel.
The sweetener changes according to the area of the country. A small amount of molasses or sorghum gives the switchel a traditional flavor.
Medicinally the vinegar in switchel is purported to reduce arthritis inflammation and reduce cholesterol. The ginger is an anti nausea remedy. The honey soothes a sore throat and cough.
Try switchel as a beneficial home remedy and a healthy alternative to sports drinks.