Switchel is an odd sort of beverage
in that it is both a celebratory drink AND a cleansing drink. It is especially thirst
-quenching, which is why it is made available during the beginning of the hot, sweaty month of May
(it is sometimes served for Beltane
during a party or after some big summer chore has been completed). Because of its vinegar
content, it is also very good for clearing out the system, so people with hay allergies
or people who just want to do a detox
are advised to keep some of this around during summer and just take a gulp at least once a day. Switchel is very easy to make, also, and there are several variations, but here is the simplest one:
Warm the water and the syrup in a saucepan over low heat; mix until blended. Try to use a stainless steel or non-metallic pan. Pour into a glass pitcher. Add the vinegar and ginger; stir and chill.
NOTE: You can substitute honey or sugar for the syrup, but be advised that if you do use sugar it is not particularly good for purification purposes. If your main purpose is making a whole lot of it and you want it more as a celebratory drink than a purifier or a thirst quencher, sugar is probably the cheapest way to go as syrup and honey are pretty steep for quality stuff in most places.
Also please note that for purposes of trying it out, you may want to half or even quarter this recipe.
Yield: 9 cups
Source: Paraphrased from Telesco, A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook
Use for: Beltane