Switch it up

_PIR4605by Kevin Barrett

photographs by Nick Pironio

Happy Holidays. It’s the time of year to eat, drink, spend too much money, then go on a diet, join a gym, detox your liver, and make resolutions to save more and spend less. Oh, the holidays.

I like to streamline things, so I eat butter-cured bacon while I exercise, I mix my liquor into my life-giving tonics, and sometimes when I work a bar shift, the cost of parking and a meal to-go wipes out anything I made that night.

I won’t bend your ear about butter and bacon, but I will share an interesting drink recipe that will improve your holidays and kick off your 2016 detox at the same time. It’s called switchel. It’s also known as switzel, swizzle, ginger-water, haymaker’s punch, or switchy. Despite its terrible names, it tastes delicious. Oh, and it’s good for you.

It’s a blend of ginger, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, soda water, plus your favorite distilled beverage. You could keep things simple by enjoying the distilled beverage over the holidays, and then drink the switchel by itself come January. But in the spirit of streamlining, why not handle the bacon and the treadmill in one fell swoop, or one swell drink, so to speak?

Switchel is high in electrolytes, therefore hydrating. Ginger is great for your digestion, and apple cider vinegar has some magical detoxifying effects on your body. (I read that once on the Internet.) I use maple syrup as the sweetener, but honey would do. Use sugar or molasses if you want – but remember we are detoxifying. You’ve already had too much sugar, and you know it.



6 ounces ginger root

cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 cups water

Soda water to top each glass

Your favorite liquor (I like it with gin or whiskey.)

Juice the ginger root. If you don’t have a juicer, make it one of your resolutions. Buy a juicer, drink fresh juice every morning, clean juicer every morning, live forever. Mix all ingredients except water and stir. Chill.

When you’re ready to serve, add the water to the batch, or to each glass. I like to top each glass with soda water to liven it up. Serve it with or without liquor. I like gin and whiskey. (Vodka would work, but we’re better than that.) Garnish with something that looks healthy – mint will do.

You can batch this in whatever ratio you like. It will keep for seven days.