Filoli Gentlemen’s Orchard Switchel

Switchel is an American drink from the early 1700s. Cider vinegars have been used for centuries to kill off bacteria in drinking water, but it was the addition of sweeteners like ginger, honey, maple syrup, molasses or sugar that created the American switchel. The switchel, also called haymaker’s drink or swizzle, was given to farmworkers during the sweltering summers.
By / Photography By Yvonne Cornell | January 18, 2017


Zest the ginger. Pour 2 cups water into a saucepan, add the fresh ginger and boil for 2 minutes.

Strain the cooled liquid and pour it into a pitcher.

Add Gentlemen’s Orchard Cider Vinegar, honey and 3 more cups of cold water. Stir until blended. Cool and serve. Also tasty without ginger.

About this recipe

Switchel was commonly used as a base for cocktails, which alarmed those fervently committed to the 19th century temperance movement. Filoli has cocktail recipes that use the Gentlemen’s Orchard Switchel—one based on bourbon and another using vodka and ginger beer.


  • 1 thumb-size piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 5 cups, divided water
  • 5 tablespoons Filoli Gentlemen’s Orchard Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Filoli honey
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