Switchel | Haymaker's Punch -- A Simple Ginger Beer
Photo/Art by Heath RobbinsFrom Yankee July 1975
Haymaker’s Punch, also called switchel, came along before the introduction of Gatorade or any kind of discussion of the need to replenish electrolytes. Hardworking farmers in the young New England colonies knew what to turn to when they needed a refresher.
Switchel, or haymaker’s punch, as it came to be known, was the drink of choice for workers out in the field who wanted to cool off with something with a bit more of a kick than just plain old well water.
A simplified version of ginger beer, switchel may be sweetened in a number of ways–sugar, honey, or maple syrup–but our preference has always been molasses.
Here’s a classic New England recipe:
Mix 1 quart water, 1/2 cup molasses, 1 teaspoon powdered ginger, and the juice of 1 lemon. Serve ice-cold.
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