In the US since the 17th century, it was a traditional drink long before Gatorade or other 'sports' drinks. Back when people worked out in the heat all day every day with out thought of air conditioning or even fans.
"Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot."
Laura Ingalls Wilder (The Long Winter)
Back before Apple cider vinegar was known to have 'health benefits', and when the only ingredients available were simple and plain (no refined sugar, or over processed vinegar).
Recipes vary based on what part of the country it was made in, back east maple syrup might be used to sweeten it but in the south or plains it would most likely be sorghum or molasses.
The recipe is simple and easy to remember, adjustable to your own tastes.
A sweetener—either molasses, maple syrup, honey or brown sugar—ginger, and cider vinegar was mixed with cold water: Of course we now know that all the ingredients happen to be sources of potassium—an electrolyte. Molasses is especially high in potassium, and vinegar has a cooling effect as well as being an 'energizer'.
I am pretty sure that most 'young'uns' today have never heard of haymakers punch and if they have chances are they've never tasted it. You don't have to be out in the hay field to enjoy it, any hot day will do (though I think you'd appreciate it more after a hard days labor in the sun!) mix up a batch and see if you like it!
Haymakers Tea (switchel)
2 quarts of cold water
½ cup of molasses or sorghum
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's brand)
1 1/2 --3 tablespoons ground ginger
up to 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar (optional, to taste)
|In this picture you can see two of our hay Mowers, in the foreground is Pocket and behind him in the |
field our restored Antique John Deere sickle mower!