5 Ingredients or Fewer


April  3, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Switchel is a steeped brew of apple cider vinegar, ginger, and something sweet. It is supremely refreshing, like lemonade but without having to squeeze all of the lemons. And it’s a much less austere way to get apple cider vinegar, which purportedly has about one million health benefits, into your system than a bracing shot of the stuff. —Caroline Lange

What You'll Need
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (I like the unfiltered stuff best, like Bragg’s)
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced—as much as you want. I usually slice up a piece the size of my thumb.
  • 4 cups water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large jar. Shake to combine thoroughly, then refrigerate at least 12 hours. To serve, strain into glasses filled with ice—or heat it and drink as a tea.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jenny
  • David
  • Maureen Ramsey
    Maureen Ramsey
  • Daryle Thomas
    Daryle Thomas
  • Paw Paw
    Paw Paw
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.

33 Reviews

Nancy July 10, 2018
Is it good for weight loss?
Beth July 7, 2018
Would sugar-free maple syrup be a substitute? As a diabetic honey is definitely out for me. So is regular syrup. What about artificial sweeteners?
Amanda T. July 8, 2018
Would 4 tablespoons of maple syrup in 4 cups of water really have that many carbs?
Outi March 11, 2020
Susan July 4, 2018
Just made this - yum! I used powdered ginger since I didn't have any fresh and this was a test run. Turned out a little cloudy, but still good. I mixed the syrup and vinegar separately so I can add to sparkling water and adjust the intensity. Will be making more!
Bella95 July 4, 2018
Perfect timing. My city in NZ has always had fabulous artesian water but, due to a health scare in another city - another island infact, the authorities have recently decided to chlorinate it. Although we knew our water was wonderful, I don't think any of us realised how lucky we had been so we are now desperately searching for ways to disguise the taste.
This not only sounds like it would work and be delicious l also already have all the ingredients l need. Win win! Thank you.
Jenny July 3, 2018
My son is diabetic — can you use a non sugar sweetener?
Caroline L. July 3, 2018
Hi Jenny! Honey and amber agave syrup would both be suitable substitutes for the maple. I hope this helps!
Paw P. July 4, 2018
Jenny - I have Syndrome X which is a type of diabetes. I can tolerate 1/2 tsp raw honey every morning without it effecting my BS. My friend with Type 1 just adjusts his food intake accordingly to do the same 1/2 tsp. But ALWAYS check with his doctor before proceeding. Everybody's different.
Bill R. April 24, 2017
We buy a variation of this from Carr's Cider House in western Massachusetts. It has cider syrup instead of maple syrup. Like shrub, you buy a bottle as concentrate and then dilute it to your taste. For a refreshing and not-too-alcoholic cocktail, I put a jigger of switchel and a jigger of Calvados in a glass with ice cubes and fill to the top with seltzer.
David June 1, 2016
It and shrub also work with Pomagranate molasses...less sweet, bit more tart.
LULULAND June 1, 2016
Yes, this has got to be healthy, but a little dark rum would be REALLY good here!!!
Caroline L. June 1, 2016
now you're talking! (i can say, from experience, that it is also very good with whiskey.)
Maureen R. March 27, 2016
I was wondering how long will this keep in the fridg if I make it in a big batch. Also how much do you drink a day and can you drink to much.
I suffer from insomnia often and don't do caffeine but is this something I should not drink late in the day. I really want to try this.
Caroline L. March 28, 2016
this should keep in the fridge at least a week! i'd recommend keeping it in a jar with a non-reactive (non-metal) lid (or just put a square of waxed paper between the lid and jar). this is caffeine free! it shouldn't affect your sleep cycle. i hope you like it!
Daryle T. January 11, 2016
I was first introduced to "ginger water" over 50 years ago, while haying on a farm in Cambridge, Vermont. I was about 10. Switchel, aka ginger water, is native to the Caribbean, so the batch I drank had some molasses in it. The first swig hit like a 2X4, but by the end of the day I was drinking it down almost as if I knew what a square-bale really was. Start with a cup of raw ACV. Add a half cup of molasses and up to a cup of maple syrup and/or honey. Next add a heaping tablespoon of ground ginger or 4-5 Tbls. freshly grated ginger. A teaspoon of sea salt will keep you sweating. Top off a gallon thermos with cold water and stash the jug under the tractor's seat. It will be well mixed by break time.
Paw P. January 11, 2016
Yes. We tried that ginger water years ago in Vermont years ago, and was hooked. Your recipe sounds intriguing.
Paw P. January 11, 2016
Sorry for the typo :P
Paw P. January 7, 2016
We've been drinking this great stuff for over 20 years. My husband swears by it for refreshing your body and mind when working outside. Before that we drank just ACV and honey, like Bragg's mixture. This also good with black-strap molasseses .
Paw P. January 7, 2016
PSL thanks for sharing this recipe.
Caroline L. January 7, 2016
thank you for this! i've been doing ACV + maple syrup in the mornings—but i have to try blackstrap molasses! yum.
Paw P. January 11, 2016
And I have to try pure maple syrup. The choices are endless ! LOL.
chris September 4, 2015
Very tasty and refreshing drink. (Plus, I chopped up the ginger, after straining it out, and used it in a stir fry for dinner.) I'm trying to wean my DH off of Gatorade, and this might just work!
Christen September 1, 2015
SO looking forward to making this. And since everyone in the comment is on a shrub kick...can we gather some of these recipes?? Watermelon/mint shrub has been a little bit life-changing for me and I'd love to find some other suggestions!
Caroline L. September 1, 2015
https://food52.com/blog/13831-how-to-make-shrubs-aka-drinking-vinegars-without-a-recipe :)
Christen September 1, 2015
How in the world had I not found that yet! Thanks!
Robin C. August 30, 2015
Just made a batch, can't wait to try it.
OnionThief August 30, 2015
I just made a large batch of this (x4) and assumed it would be like a shrub, which I drink a lot of. its more mellow than a shrub, and very satisfying in the heat. I followed your proportions closely, and was excited to find that it did not really remind me of the ubiquitous honey ginger concoction I make when I'm sick. This is going into permanent rotation on the fridge door.
Caroline L. August 30, 2015
i am so happy to hear this, onionthief! thank you for sharing :)
Andreas D. August 26, 2015
This sounds similar to a shrub, where vinegar is flavoured with fruit and sugar, then used as a soda base.
Caroline L. August 30, 2015
yes! i'm in a bit of a shrub obsession this summer. similar, but not as vinegary!
Linda T. August 25, 2015
There is a great description of Ma Ingalls making this drink for Pa in one of the "Little House" books...can't remember which one. He was making hay and Laura was dispatched to deliver a jug to Pa in the field. It's just as refreshing in real life!
Caroline L. August 26, 2015
AH i love that. thank you for sharing this!