Switchel Recipe

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This switchel recipe produces a sweet, refreshing drink that earned the nickname of "Haymaker's Punch" for the energy it provided workers in the fields.

With the popularity of honeybee keeping rising, The Fresh Honey Cookbook (Storey Publishing, 2013) is an invaluable resource for those who keep their own bees, or just want to support local beekeepers in their area. Laurey Masterton presents twelve months worth of recipes that feature seasonal ingredients and different varieties of honey. The Switchel Recipe comes from Chapter 7, “July.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Fresh Honey Cookbook.

Switchel is a curious beverage that is also known as Haymaker’s Punch. Back when haying was a very energetic occupation, farm wives would bring gallons of Switchel to the men working in the fields. Popularized by Vermont doctor D. C. Jarvis in his best-selling 1958 book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health,this honey and apple cider vinegar drink became a must-have beverage.

This is a great thirst quencher and is very simple to make. Much healthier and more effective than sugary sports drinks and easy enough to regularly keep on the top shelf of your refrigerator, Switchel might just become your favorite go-to summer or post-exercise drink. 

Switchel Recipe


1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sliced fresh gingerroot


Pour 2 quarts of water into a large pitcher. Combine the honey and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and stir well to combine. If either ingredient is cold, you might need to warm them slightly or the honey will not mix well. Add the mixture to the water. If you like a sweeter drink, add more honey. If you prefer a less sweet version, add a bit more vinegar.

If you’re a ginger fancier, add the gingerroot slices. Keep the pitcher in your refrigerator for a hot day. Serves 8-10.

Find more recipes for delicious honey-based drinks from The Fresh Honey Cookbook:

Fresh Fruit Shrub Recipe
Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

Reprinted with permission from The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper’s Kitchen by Laurey Masterton and published by Storey Publishing, 2013. Buy this book from our store: The Fresh Honey Cookbook.