Shrubs, a vinegar syrup flavoured with herbs or fruit, have been used in herbal medicine for almost 500 years. More recently they’ve enjoyed renaissance. Switchel is a ginger shrub, which has been spruiked as “the hipster fermented drink with gut benefits”. I just like it as a cooling drink on hot summer days. It’s easy to make and no added fermentation is required, thanks to vinegar being a key ingredient. My version is very gingery and sour, so feel free to adjust the flavour to your taste.
1 heaped tablespoon grated ginger root
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar with a well-fitting lid, seal and shake well. Allow the mixture to steep for 12 – 24 hours (if your kitchen’s not too warm it’s ok to leave it on the bench while steeping, otherwise refrigerate).
Strain and keep in a glass jar or bottle in the fridge. Add 1 – 2 tsp of switchel to a glass of cold, sparkling water. If the syrup is not to your liking, either add more sweetener or use only a dash of switchel to flavour your drink.