Trail Cooking

Unusual Recipes: Switchel Syrup

If you are one of my tribe, you might be a fan of apple cider vinegar, a splash of honey and hot water in a mug. Well, maybe you are. Not everyone loves that (I love the acid taste), and I get it. I want to introduce that drink’s high-end cousin, Switchel Syrup.

Switchel is a relative of the Shrub Syrup, both of which are old-fashioned drinks. Switchel was also known as Haymaker’s Punch long ago, as it was a favorite for farm hands to drink after long days of harvesting. Consider it a high class electrolyte drink base made with 4 ingredients.

It’s lightly spicy, earthy and evokes primal thoughts of being in front of a hot fire. Not chugging a Gatorade in neon green while wrapped in Spandex…….

Switchel Syrup



Add the vinegar, maple syrup and molasses to a small heavy saucepan.

Peel the ginger, and thickly slice it. Add to the liquid.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes (keep a close eye on it, it will boil over if not watched).

Turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes.

Strain, using a wire mesh strainer, into a mason jar.

Let cool, then refrigerate.

To use:

Hot Drink: Add 2 Tablespoons syrup to a cup hot water, stirring well.

Cold Drink: Add 2 Tablespoons syrup per cup cold water, shake well.

Can also be used with hot apple cider mix, or as the syrup to a hot toddy with an ounce or so of your favorite liquor.

However, don’t use with milk as the vinegar will curdle it.

To carry on trail, pack in a lightweight, spill resistant container (are any truly spill proof?) and if worried, wrap in a zip top plastic bag.


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