Easy DIY Probiotic Drink with Ginger and Apple Cider Vinegar: Haymaker’s Punch (also known as Switchel)

Homemade lemon and ginger organic probiotic drink, copy space.

Easy DIY Probiotic Drink with Ginger and Apple Cider Vinegar: Haymakers Punch (also known as Switchel)

If you’re anything like me and always on the lookout for easy and delicious ways to add fermented foods and probiotics to your life, then consider Switchel, also known as Haymaker’s Punch.

Firstly, what a vivid, historical name! You can just see the Colonial Americans coming off the fields sweaty and thirsty, arriving home to quaff a glass of this – it’s like history in a cup. And secondly, and most important for our gut-health purposes, it’s an easy DIY fermented drink that you can mix and enjoy right away, because the fermenting has already been done for you (via the use of apple cider vinegar or similar beneficial vinegar). The ingredients are apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, raw honey or molasses, or lemon juice. Talk about a health boost in a cup.

Read on to learn more about how I encountered this unique, probiotic beverage…

Kombucha and Beyond

I’ve been brewing my own kombucha of late, after attending a fun probiotic culinary session at CSNN London (where I completed my natural nutrition diploma). And while it turns out kombucha is really quite simple (though it takes some gutsiness and good googling skills after your first batch to determine that no, it HASN’T gone bad and yes, it’s SUPPOSED to look like that), it does require you to keep eye on your little friend SCOBY and keep it happy and alive with regular feedings of sugar water or more kombucha starter tea. So what I’m saying is, kombucha is really quite low-maintenance, but it isn’t no maintenance

So what if you want some probiotic goodness with effectively ZERO maintenance? In fact, where the fermenting part has already been done for you and you just prepare and enjoy?

Enter Switchel/Haymaker’s Punch

I’ve encountered a recipe for this in two places recently – a great recipe here on the Radiant Life blog and a recipe in my book from the library called Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz (if you don’t think there is a kind of beauty and poetry about fermentation, read this book and you’ll change your mind). Appreciating that the Universe sends you message in unique ways, I felt perhaps I was being given a gentle prod to try my hand at making Switchel. So I did.

I mixed up my apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon juice, and raw honey in a big 1L mason jar, topped up a glass with some sparking San Pelligrino, and enjoyed my first probiotic soft drink of the summer. With the addition of the sparkling water, my switchel tasted kind of like a tart, really home-made ginger-ale.

When I described the ingredients to my younger sister, she said with a dubious look on her face: “well, that sounds all very…detoxifying.” Hahaha, yes, it really does. And it is!  I’ve seen this described as “nature’s gatorade” and also, in the Wild Fermentation book, as a “vinegar-based soft drink.” It’s really packed full of great things. and if you want to add more apple cider vinegar but have struggled with the “1 tablespoon in a glass of water in the mornings” version (which I have – makes me kind of nauseas) then this is a really gentle introduction to some ACV consumption.

And why care about Apple Cider Vinegar at all?

For starters, apple cider vinegar is detoxifying, helps balance blood sugar, promotes satiety, helps with belly fat and weight loss, lowers cholesterol and promotes heart health, and can support good digestion (by adding acid and enzymes).

In fact, just google it and you’ll see no end to the positive (some scientific and admittedly some anecdotal) health benefits that people attribute to Apple Cider Vinegar. There’s a great article here on Healthline about ACV benefits and another here on CureJoy (which I like because it mentions a few cautions – ACV isn’t a perfect fit for everyone, and if it makes you feel wretched or nauseous, don’t take it!).

But for our purposes in pursuing good gut health, one of the best benefits is that Apple Cider Vinegar is fermented! All vinegars are, in theory. Apple cider vinegar is apple cider left to ferment, and that means it’s full of beneficial probiotics for your gut (provided that you select a brand that is raw, organic, and unpasteurized). And as we talked about in previous posts, gut health is so important for acne and clear skin, for healthy hormones and reducing PMS, and for numerous other aspects of good, vibrant health.

Other Health Benefits:

Apple cider vinegar isn’t the only good thing about this probiotic drink – the rest of the ingredients offer health benefits as well.

  • Raw honey offers enzymes and anti-bacterial properties;
  • Ginger is beneficial for digestion and blood sugar as well as being anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-fungal and more;
  • Lemon juice can be detoxifying, alkalizing, and good for digestion;
  • Molasses, if you choose to use it, is rich in trace minerals like iron and calcium (good for me, since I’m always looking for ways to boost my iron), and of course adds a very unique flavour – kind of Caribbean. I like it!

To Sum It Up:

If you’re looking for a quenching, detoxifying, nutritious probiotic drink with minimal prep time and no maintenance, I hope you’ll give this a try. It’s an easy way to continue supporting your personal gut microbiome (so important for healthy hormones and clear skin) and to incorporate beneficial fermented foods in delicious, easy (and historical!) ways.

Easy DIY Probiotic Drink with Ginger and Apple Cider Vinegar: Haymakers Punch (also known as Switchel)

Feel free to play around with these portions and ingredients! There are no rules here – because the vinegar is already fermented, it’s really about mixing things until you get a taste you like. Try with a raw, organic coconut vinegar as well, for a different taste with equal health benefits, or try lime juice for the lemon, or try sweetening with maple syrup, or a combination of honey, molasses, and maple syrup. Try with different types of sparkling water or mixers. Have fun!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 -1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger – or about 1 inch of ginger root – sliced, minced, or diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw honey or molasses (use the higher end if you’re using more vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • filtered water, for diluting
    • sparkling water, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a large mason jar, mix or shake together vinegar, ginger, raw honey or molasses, and lemon juice.
  2. Add filtered water almost to the top of the jar and mix again.
  3. Either drink immediately (by mixing portions of it to taste with sparkling water), or cover with a breathable lid (like a coffee filter and an elastic band) and allow to sit on the counter for a few days, and then drink with sparkling water
  4. Or, do both – drink it right away and leave the rest to mix and mingle over the coming days!
  5. To enjoy, just mix portions of the switchel/punch with sparkling water until you get a taste you like. Garnish with sprigs of mint, or rosemary, or even basil, and wedges of lemon or lime.

Enjoy!

© Emily Joldersma. R.H.N., Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

 

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