My switchel recipe

The Takeout recently posted a piece about hangover cures, and they recommend pickle juice because it’s got what plants crave.

Insanity! I say. Why drink pickle juice when you can drink switchel, the 17th century energy drink! It’s purpose-built for recovery from exercise or binge-drinking.

You can easily search for recipes; but here’s my overall process for making a week’s worth (where I have a small glass usually after working out).

You will need:

  • a few decently sized hands of ginger
  • a bunch of sugar, or perhaps agave or even molasses
  • apple cider vinegar – the fancy kind with the mother
  • maybe some citrus

From there it’s easy. Peel the ginger root (use a spoon, not some dingus) and then pulverize it somehow; I use a food processor. I usually end up with about 2 cups worth. Then add it to a simple syrup and simmer for as long as it takes for your house to smell like ginger syrup.

The potency here is something that you’re going to have to adjust. REALLY like it sweet? Use agave syrup. Want a more complex flavor? Use demerara sugar. You will maybe have to fiddle a little instead of just 1:1, and esp in relation to the ginger. For 2 cups of processed ginger I use 4-5 cups of water and a little less sugar, favoring demerara over white. If it’s not sweet enough, I spike it w/ some agave since it melts at room temperature with just a little agitation.

Once you’ve reduced it by a little bit and your house smells wonderful, set it aside and let it cool. You might add a touch of lemon juice, depending on the potency of vinegar you use.

Strain it into a vessel through cheesecloth. You will always end up with solids so if you somehow can’t manage any solids at all in your drink, sorry, don’t try this or spend the next month straining it through progressively finer filters.

Then the vinegar. I use about 3:1 syrup to vinegar, but I also use some really fancy crap I get at the hippie health food store so it has a really nice flavor and a little less sourness. You’ll have to play with it to get the right flavor for you. You’re looking for sour but not “I am drinking vinegar”. If you want “I am drinking vinegar” add more lemon or use a little of the un-fancy (strained/mother-less) apple cider vinegar.

Put it in the fridge. It lasts a long time but TBH I have no idea just how long bc I drink it before it has a chance to go off.

To Serve: I usually put about 5-6 tablespoons worth in a highball-sized glass (3/4″ depth? I dunno) and then fill the rest of the glass with seltzer. Again, you’ll have to work it out on your own as to just how much dilution you prefer. It’s calorie-dense (you made sugar syrup, duh) but it’s also extremely rich in what plants crave and all the good shit in ginger. When I had the flu I was drinking it 2x a day.

And yes, it’s an amazing hangover cure.