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Switchels: What are they and why should you be drinking them?

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Did you know farmers were the original hipsters?  That's right! In 18th century Colonial America switchels were all the rage. Long before sports drinks lined the shelves of beverage aisles, these carbonated sweet and tart elixirs were the go-to,  OG energy drinks!!  So what are they and why can everyone benefit from this old-timey concoction?

Switchels are elixirs originally crafted from vinegar, water, and a natural sweetener such as molasses, honey, or maple syrup. Ginger was eventually added to prevent bloating, allowing people to drink it throughout the day without worrying about upsetting their stomachs.  And because farmers couldn’t drink alcohol while working on the fields, or at least shouldn't have been, the benefit-rich switchel was a safe alternative. It even produced a similar feeling to alcohol’s burn while going down.  Whatever their reasoning, it turns out these farmers were on to something!

I don't spend my days toiling in the fields (or maybe you do!!), so why do I need it?  If you exert any type of energy throughout the day, chances are you'll need to replenish electrolytes. Because switchel is made with apple cider vinegar, a rich source of potassium, it’s an all-natural alternative to sugary sports drinks that will help maintain a good electrolyte balance in the body.

It also eases pain and inflammation, so it can be used as a post work-out beverage.The key ingredient is gingerol which is the active component of ginger.  It suppresses pro-inflammatory enzymes associated with aches and pains that often accompany intense exercise.  It can also help with other inflammatory symptoms such as acne, arthritis, eczema, and depression.

And let's not forget the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar! It helps to balance the body’s pH and blood sugar levels, aids in digestion by fostering the growth of healthy gut bacteria, protects the heart, and promotes healthy weight loss. 

If we haven't convinced you of the magic of switchels by now, let's not forget they can be used to make insanely delicious cocktails!!  At Fortune Emporium we carry DRAM Apothecary, a hand-foraged line of bitters, syrups, switchels, and teas, all of which can be combined to make craft cocktails that will have you salivating before they even hit your taste-buds!  Learn how to use them at our Mixology 101 Workshop Series or stop in for a recipe card!

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