New England's switchel is the new Gatorade
Remind us to send Andy Ricker a thank-you note.
Since he launched his Thai-style drinking vinegars (called soms), wave upon sweet-tart wave has crashed over us--not that we’re complaining. The latest version we’ve come across, switchel, is actually an old New England creation originally consumed by farmers, and was traditionally made with apple cider vinegar and ginger, sweetened with maple syrup.
Susan Alexander, founder of The Vermont Switchel Company, was first introduced to the drink by her dairy-farming in-laws. She began making it at home with the addition of lemon juice, and giving it to her kids as a substitute for Gatorade. Two years ago she began selling the beverage to a larger audience, in local stores and farmers’ markets.
Now a second version, simply called Switchel ($8.50 for 16 ounces), has sprung up, adhering to the same basic ginger/vinegar/syrup formula. And in Massachusetts, a new product called Fire Cider ($16 for 8 ounces) extrapolates on the switchel theme, adding horseradish, turmeric and habanero for a passage-clearing sipper.
So, Andy: Thanks, man.