The Switchel

The Switchel at Pioneer Pop Up

The Switchel at Pioneer Pop Up

The Switchel is a drink that came about hundreds of years ago and has long since been forgotten. Originally brewed for farmers and laborers to quench their thirst, this old school beverage has gone through a recent revitalization. Two weeks ago at The Pioneer Pop Up, guests got to try a modern rendition of this old favorite with a local twist. The four main components are water, vinegar, a sweetener (usually molasses) and ginger. This recipe calls for local honey, sparkling water and homemade huckleberry vinegar. The vinegar is made the same way you would make kombucha at home; with a scoby (you can purchase a scoby online or can ask around to any friends who make Kombucha at home), sugar, water, and in this case, fresh or frozen huckleberries. Left for a couple weeks, the mixture increases in acidity to a level more than you would want to drink on its own but well below the percentage of the commercial counterparts. The subtle bitterness and huckleberry notes are perfect to cut the sweetness of the honey and rum.

The Pionner Switchel


  • Makes 4 servings
  • 1 cup local honey
  • 1 cup huckleberry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sliced ginger root
  • 1 cup aged rum
  • 2 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • For the Huckleberry Vinegar
  • 1 cup huckleberries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 scoby
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • 1 qt jar
  • Cheescloth


  • Put honey, vinegar and ginger in a heavy bottom sauce pot on medium heat.
  • Keep at a simmer until the ginger infuses with the mixture, about 30 minutes
  • Take of heat, strain, and cool.
  • Mix in rum and pour over ice, top with sparkling water.
  • For the Vinegar
  • Put huckleberries, sugar, vinegar, and scoby in jar and top with non-chlorinated water
  • Secure cheese cloth around top of jar with a rubber band or string
  • Place in a warm area (top of the refrigerator works well) and leave undisturbed for 3 weeks.
  • Taste the vinegar to make sure the acidity is at desired level


Stay tuned to for upcoming Pioneer Pop Up Events and more inventive summertime libations.


About Author

Food and cooking has been a great travel buddy for Chris, finally taking root in Jackson. Originally from Seattle, Chris enjoys rainy walks to get coffee, cold dark beers, and cozying up in a warm restaurant kitchen. He has a background in marketing but has spent most of his days working in fine dining behind the line. Now you can find him selling hummus, perusing the farmers markets, or mountain biking behind his Aussie Shephard, Zephyr.

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