Home & Garden

January 21, 2013

Agrarian heritage in a bottle

Vermont woman puts 21st century twist on haymaker's punch


Her children cut it with water and drank it before their athletic games.

Though switchel is ambrosia when it’s hot as the blazes, it’s good this time of year.

“Heat it up and put in a cinnamon stick or shake a little powdered cinnamon in a mug. People are mulling it and adding rum to it. This is a recurring theme of adding alcohol to switchel.”

In all the years she made it for her family, it never occurred to her to add alcohol to it. Her customers’ inventiveness is endless.

In the thick of last summer, customers squeezed navel oranges or added orange bitters to rum and switchel and served it over ice.

“It tastes really good.”

Others have experimented with bourbon and scotch. One man put garlic and olive oil in it to marinate pork loins. A woman added the same two ingredients to toss as a salad dressing.

“I haven’t tried it yet,” Alexander said. “People are so creative. It’s an alcohol mixer, pork marinade and salad dressing.”

Email Robin Caudell:

TO GET WHAT: Vermont Switchel AVAILABLE: In Burlington at Healthy Living, City Market, Burlington Farmer's Market and at Natural Provisions in Williston. WEBSITE:

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