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Classic Switchel by Emily Han

Originating in the Caribbean before making its way to New England, the switchel has developed into different versions over the years. My exploration has turned up an array of different ingredients and ratios—but, in general, a switchel was likely to contain the sweet, tangy, and spicy combination of molasses, vinegar, and ginger. Together, these components provide valuable minerals and electrolytes, which means that the humble switchel is a great alternative to commercially made sports drinks. Or, if you want to skip the workout and head straight to the bar, you’ll find that rum is a great partner for this bracing concoction.
Servings: 1 cup (235 ml)


  • 2 tablespoons 40 g molasses (preferably blackstrap)
  • 1 tablespoon 15 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup 235 ml water


  • Combine the molasses, apple cider vinegar, and ginger in a jar or glass and stir to dilute the molasses.
  • Add the water and stir to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to a day.
  • The longer it steeps, the stronger the ginger flavor will be.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids. Serve over ice.


This recipe is reprinted with permission from "Wild Drinks and Cocktails: Handcrafted squashes, shrubs, switches, tonics, and infusions to mix at home" by Emily Han. Published by Fair Winds Press, 2015.