The switchel is thought to have originated in the Caribbean and became popular among American colonists in 17th-century New England. Today, as with the popularity of shrubs and kombucha, the switchel is making a comeback.
Kevin Murphy, the bar director and assistant manager at Daisies, an American restaurant in Chicago, praises switchels for their health benefits. “Switchels made for an effective electrolyte-replenishing beverage,” he says. When he found that he was disappointed in the flavor of many commercially available varieties, he decided to create his own, using apple cider vinegar mixed with a honey syrup, topped with sparkling water or club soda.
The spirit is optional, but if you do turn it into a cocktail, Murphy recommends adding no more than an ounce of booze to keep things balanced. He uses a homemade apple cider vinegar, but a high-quality organic commercial brand works equally well.
This recipe originally appeared as part of “‘Nature’s Gatorade’ Is Finding Its Way into Your Drinks.”
- 1 ounce apple cider vinegar
- 1 ounce honey sage syrup*
- 2 ounces sparkling water or club soda
- 1 ounce bourbon, white or aged rum, blended scotch, oloroso sherry or Amaro Montenegro (optional)
- Garnish: fresh sage leaf
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass over ice and stir gently.
Garnish with a fresh sage leaf.
*Honey sage syrup: Add 1/3 cup boiling water to 1 cup honey and stir until honey is dissolved. Steep 3 grams of fresh sage in syrup for 25 minutes, then strain out solids. Store syrup in refrigerator up to several weeks.