Drink Switchel


At long last, I've finally found my trendy drink obsession. It's been a long journey for me. Everyone needs a fancy beverage to splurge on now and again, but none of the popular ones really meshed for me. I couldn't deal with the coconut water aftertaste, and really, why Jessica Alba and Rihanna? What is that situation?

Same goes for the lemon/cayenne cleanse drink I discovered via Yolanda Foster on The Real Housewives. It had me intrigued but wasn't nearly tasty enough. Caribe was delicious but making it was a little too involved. Juice Press juices are just too damn expensive. Actually, anything labeled 'cold pressed juice’ is just crazy expensive. And why? If it’s over-priced at Trader Joe’s then you know there’s an issue.

Honestly, I went through a period of really hating all those pressed juice/açai bowls/avocado toast/latte art/matcha Instagrams. There were (and still are) just too many. It all looks the same. How many more ‘models with juices’ roundups do we need?

But a few months back, my Sunday morning post-night-out coffee spot (a little place called heaven aka Scratchbread) starting carrying this thing called 'switchel.' It comes out of a tap, looks like beer, tastes a little bit like ginger ale, and is pretty reasonably priced. It's refreshing, bubbly, doesn't give you coffee breath, and has all those various health incentives that those trendy drinks tend to have. It's made out of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and ginger—three pretty damn chic ingredients if you ask me. You’ve got your maple, as in maple water—that’s got a frenzy around it at the moment. Then the apple cider vinegar, tried and true— we mix it with our aztec clay masks, we tone our faces with it, and now we can drink it. Then it's slightly fizzy, which reminds me of seltzer, the drink of choice for chicy-chicsters who just can’t do tap water and like the look of those little San Pellegrino bottles. It’s the perfect concoction. Now let's see if I can brew it at home...

—Tom Newton

Photographed by the author.