Dr. Axe > Recipes > Gluten-Free

Switchel Recipe

Switchel recipe - Dr. Axe

Total Time

25 minutes


Makes 2.25 Quarts

Meal Type



  • 1 cup ginger, chopped
  • ¾ cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • 5½-6 cups water


  1. Fill a 2-quart saucepan 2/3 with water and add ginger.
  2. Bring water to a boil and allow ginger to boil for about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let ginger steep for 20 minutes.
  4. In a 2-quart pitcher, add maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
  5. Strain ginger as you are pouring into pitcher.
  6. Stir and mix all ingredients well.
  7. Can be served warm or on ice.
  8. *Add more water to dilute if needed.

Have you heard of switchel? This refreshing drink dates back to the 1700s, when farmers enjoyed the drink on the fields as a way to cool down during hot days.

Today, switchel is experiencing something of a resurgence as it’s become a popular beverage among the hipster crowd. And there’s a good reason for it: with inflammation-reducing ginger and apple cider vinegar, one of my favorite natural remedies, it’s an easy-to-make drink brimming with healing ingredients.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is — switchel is delicious any season. Let’s make it!

Switchel step 1 - Dr. Axe
Fill a 2-quart saucepan about 2/3 of the way with water and freshly chopped ginger. Bring the water to a boil and let the mix boil for about 2 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the heat and let the ginger steep for another 20 minutes.Switchel step 2 - Dr. Axe
Then, in a pitcher, add maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon juice — yum!
Now it’s time to add the ginger water. Use a strainer while pouring the water into the pitcher to keep the chopped ginger out. Stir all the ingredients together.

Switchel recipe - Dr. Axe

That’s all there is to making this switchel! You can enjoy this drink either at room temperature or served on ice. You can even give switchel a little kick and add a splash of alcohol, like gin or vodka, to it. It’s a terrific drink to keep on hand to serve kids instead of sugary soft drinks or juices. They’ll love it, too!

Josh Axe

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  1. Melissa on

    I have seen similar things done with Jun or Kombucha. Do you rate them? I see a lot more about Kombucha but prefer the taste of Jun, are the benefits similar?

      • Melba McGilvrey on

        I would say, any other natural sweetner, Stevia leaf. Pretty sure that the maple syrup is for energy, as many would use this drink for a cleanse.

    • Rena on

      With that amount of lemon juice and vinegar you’ll need that amount of sugar! I use 1 cup of sugar (minimum) for each 1/2 cup of lemon juice when I make 2 liters of lemonade so, yeah, this is not too much sugar. :)

    • David on

      It’s too much sugar if, like me, you can’t tolerate sugar. Whenever i see any recipes that contain sugar of any amount, i either try it with stevia or move on.

    • Bertha on

      I drink it without any sweetener. It tastes fine to me. I often add ACV to herbal tea too. It gives it a nice taste.

    • Rosa on

      I think if you add Stevia it works like sugar but with no calories and no negative effect if one is diabetic

    • Elle on

      One can train oneself by adapting your taste buds and thus not use any sugar. My form of lemonade is organic lemons juiced with peel, soaked in purified water. The Oils in the peel are sooo good for you, hence, only use organic. I honestly don’t like it sweet anymore. However, don’t sell yourself short with Maple Syrup, get Organic Grade B – it is full of minerals. By using the right products you can actually Feed your body.

      • Redbird67 on

        I like your post.. I drink this 2-3 times a day and I have gotten accustomed to its unique taste.. I use the real maple syrup or our local honey or good old blackstrap molasses. Sometimes a combination of the three. I also add cinnamon to our taste, lemon of course sometimes a mix of lemon and lime. When I can get the organic cranberries, we make up and can our own juice.. I add it to this recipe (sometimes) in place of the water… I also add (sometimes) the organic concentrated black cherry juice…sometimes some fermented ginger “bug”””” it gives it some Zip…The original Switchel Tea was really a mixture or punch of different flavors of what was in season .
        I have osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia plus bone spurs… this has helped me by drinking it on a regular daily basis.. start off tart and train your tastebuds to less sweetening….I read where this is a natural Gatorade…to me and my body switchel is better…❤

    • Emily on

      One thing about the sugar is that the Apple Cider Vinegar needs the sugar to continue to culture and become probiotic.

    • Joyce Brown on

      If the ginger is only boiled for 2 min it should be good for making ginger tea. Boil it for 10 min. in 2 cups of water & add lemon juice and more water to taste. Hot or cold it’s good.

      • David on

        There are so many brands and types of stevia it would be impossible to say how much. You just have to sweeten to taste. So many people try stevia and claim they don’t like it. Well there is raw green leaf stevia, white powder refined stevia, white powder stevia extract (I prefer), liquid stevia and many other variations and manufacturers.

    • Paul on

      You don’t get half the flavor with dried ginger that you do with fresh. I don’t think you get as many of the benefits either.

    • Linda on

      I’ve been boiling just a cup of water with ginger, then finish with sparkling water. Three of us have gone through a gallon a week since mid-February. Really like this stuff.

  2. Tasha on

    I make something similar to this and use 2 drops ginger oil. I use doTerra. Not sure how much with other brands. I use stevia instead of honey or maple syrup.

    • Courtney on

      I too take EO’s internally (Young Livings) and the ginger in my opinion will not have the same flavor effect as the chopped raw root will, but I’d imagine you could replace ginger eo and even lemon eo for the fresh stuff as desired.

  3. Susan on

    RE: Essential Oils, I use both EO’s and fresh ginger…for this recipe I’d go with the fresh ginger. It will have that same fresh ginger “snap” (not the cookie! LOL) that ginger has…similar to a non-alcholic ginger beer. And fresh ginger is fairly inexpensive vs. the cost I’ve seen for EO’s.

    Dr. Axe, thanks for this recipe! All the ingredients are staples in my house, so easy to make a batch. Love the idea another commenter made to mix with sparkling water. Mmmmm!

  4. Jay on

    I make this with liquid stevia, it’s delicious but it doesn’t have the same golden color.
    On the rocks with a slice of lemon, very refreshing and, most of all, healthy.

    • DEE on


  5. Brenda Segedin on

    Just cut down the maple syrup amount to begin with. You can always add more if need be but cannot take it out if too sweet. I put less than half that amount, and I dilute in hot water now in NZ we’re in winter. I find it perfect. I drink ACV and lemon juice everynight, with no sweet near, before bed and I just love these flavours. Everything is adaptable to your desires and tastes.

  6. PL on

    I made this with just 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1 13/4 quarts of water and it was perfect. Tangy and not too sweet or sour. It might even be good with slightly less syrup and then folks can add addf’l to suit their tastes.

    • Corina on


      I am allergic to many apples but not all~ go figure.
      If I eat most apples I have an instant reaction but don’t have this with granny smith apples.
      I have tried organic apples but had the same response. Now I have apple trees (old, old trees)
      and I can eat the apples right off the branch with no problem.
      I use apple cider vinegar daily with no allergic effects.
      Not sure what you situation is but I didn’t eat apples for years because I was “allergic”. now granny smith apples or my apples in season are a daily part of my diet.
      For what its worth~

  7. Cindy on

    Switchel is a traditional drink that we use during our reenactments (Rev War) to make sure we stay hydrated. Thanks for the recipe it will be used with great pleasure!

  8. Susan on

    I am hoping this drink helps to settle down the inflammation of my bronchial
    tubes, which is causing excessive production of mucus and constant coughing bouts, which then cause immediate severe pain on the top of my head worse than any headache or migraine I have ever experienced and, in turn, raising my blood pressure. I will report back after trialling this recipe for a few days. Not a great start to the new year.

    And, yes, I have made an appointment to see a doctor.

    I like the taste of this recipe just as it is. The ginger certainly has a kick to it, but as it has anti-inflammatory properties, that’s a good thing for me right now. I’m going to try to make a second batch with the same ginger, as it is horrendously expensive here in Australia at the moment because of a national shortfall of fresh ginger due to last year’s dry weather and waiting for the new crop to mature. The current health trends are also pushing the price up. I’m growing my own but it takes about 8 months to fully mature and I don’t have enough space to grow a continuous supply.


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