Watermelon Switchel is one of the most refreshing and hydrating summer drinks. It’s so easy to make and considered an old fashioned fermented drink.
I started making switchel every other day last summer. I mixed up the flavors a lot, but usually ended up making this watermelon switchel or strawberry switchel. I can’t imagine summertime without it now, especially since it feels like 1000 degrees in Northern California.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s incredibly HOT here! That means hydrating drinks are an absolute must on a daily basis.
In my opinion, Switchel is one of the best hydrating drinks ever! Have you ever heard of it or made any?
Here’s a little history on it …
First, It’s not an alcoholic drink. Many people confuse shrubs with switchel. Shrubs do use vinegar, but they have alcohol and are commonly used for finishing or mixing into a drink. Switchel has absolutely no alcohol and is used for health purposes.
This old fashioned natural electrolyte drink is said to have originated in the Caribbean. Later it became popular in American Colonies, especially where field work was happening. Traditionally it was served to farmers during the hot summer months to help keep them hydrated. It’s even mentioned in one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books! (source)
They didn’t have food-coloring-based, sugary Sports drinks back then, and that’s a good thing. But they still needed something to help keep them hydrated and replace the electrolytes they were losing out in the hot sun working in fields.
Switchel was traditionally made with water, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar or molasses plus ginger and cider vinegar. In some places, lemon juice and oatmeal were added too.
Because the switchel usually sat for a while with the vinegar, it became slightly fizzy (fermented) and was known for being a sweet and tangy drink. The ginger most likely also helped curb any nausea, which commonly happens after long heat exposure.
Now switchel is most commonly made with water, apple cider vinegar with “the Mother” (to keep the traditional fermented aspect), fresh ginger, fresh lemon juice and a natural sweetener like raw honey, real maple syrup or mineral-rich molasses. For variety, fresh fruits, herbs and edible flowers can be added too.
This thirst-quenching drink, also known as ginger-water, haymaker’s punch, switzel, swizzle or switchy is so delicious on a hot day.
The next time you have plans to be in the hot summer sun or are getting ready to exercise, workout, spend some time in nature, or have any physical exertion going on, make sure to add this delicious, hydrating switchel to your must-drink list.
- ¼ cup – 1/3 cup raw organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar WITH “the Mother”
- 1/3 cup raw honey or maple syrup (traditional) or ½ tsp liquid stevia
- 2 ½ cups cubed watermelon
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
- Juice of 1/2 organic lemon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
- 8 cups filtered water
- Add all ingredients to a large mason jar or huge pitcher (I use an 8-cup mason jar). Cover with a lid and shake to combine. Place it in the refrigerator overnight or for 8 hours – when you think about it or open the fridge, give it another good shake from time to time.
- Strain and serve chilled or pour over ice.
- Yield: 8 cups
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri is a water kefir and chocolate loving, holistic-minded wife and mom. She’s the founder and voice behind Recipes to Nourish, a gluten free blog focusing on Real Food and Holistic Health. Having her daughters changed her life. She became mindful of everything that went into her body and started eating real food, making home-cooked meals from scratch and living a natural life. As a wife and mommy who is dedicated to making nourishing food and using safe products for her family, she works to empower her readers by showing them that there is a healthier way of eating and living. Her passion and mission is to make healthy, natural living as uncomplicated and enjoyable as possible. Emily lives in California with her husband and two children. Her first cookbook, The Art of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot releases October 2017. Find Emily’s latest recipes and natural living tips at Recipes to Nourish. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter plus grab her free eBook Holistic Tips to Keep Your Family Healthy.