Spotlight

Dartcor Goes Hipster (and Healthy)

A few months back when we met with Cide Road Switchel, we thought, “Hey, this is pretty delicious!” – It’s like “booch” but dare I say better!?! What we didn’t quite know was just how long it had been around. Sure our friends at Cide Road are relatively new to the beverage business but switchel has been around for… well it’s debatable how long but let’s just say a long time. It dates back to the 1600’s in the Caribbean and has some times to ancient China and arrived in our country just in time for the Revolutionary War.

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Switchel “played an important role in early American culture and was even immortalized in the work of Herman Melville (‘I will give a traveler a cup of switchel, if he want it; but am I bound to supply him with a sweet taste?’),” Modern Farmer explains.

So what is it, exactly? According to Modern Farmer, it’s generally “water, ginger, cider vinegar, and some kind of sweetener, like molasses or brown sugar” – or, as our friends at Cide Road use, maple syrup.

The brew is actually a super potent hydrator, and if you think drinking apple cider vinegar is a little bit like chugging down a side of vinaigrette, it’s actually a lot more like drinking kombucha, just without the bubbles. You get that tart tang offset by the sweetness and the burst of spice from ginger and you’re likely to forget there’s straight vinegar in there too. Besides, apple cider vinegar is a great energy enhancer and has scores of other benefits that make it a worthy addition to your regular diet anyway.

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And now, it’s getting a hipster revival, with producers cropping up making small batch craft switchel available in (where else?) Whole Foods Markets and small specialty retailers.

What does it do? Take a look at 5 great benefits of switchel.

1. Ease inflammation

The ginger that makes up a key part of switchel is a natural inflammation reducer. Inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases, causes physical symptoms like skin problems and digestive issues. So keeping inflammation at bay with the ginger found in switchel can have other unexpected, welcome side effects, like clearing up acne.

Additionally, because it reduces inflammation, which also counts pain as a side effect, ginger is also a powerful pain fighter. In fact, one study found that consuming a small amount of ginger is more effective at reducing pain symptoms and inflammation than painkillers. Next time you feel a headache coming on, skip that painkiller and reach for switchel instead.

2. Get an electrolyte boost

Electrolytes are nutrients or chemicals in your body that help it perform specific functions, like regulating your heart beat or telling your legs it’s time to get moving. But after undergoing intense physical exertion (like running a marathon), getting sick, eating a poor diet or even taking certain medications, electrolytes imbalance can occur. Signs that your electrolytes need some replenishing include constantly feeling thirsty, frequent headaches, fatigue and nausea.

But because of the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar found in switchel, potassium-rich electrolytes, particularly potassium, are replenished, making it an excellent alternative to sugary drinks like Gatorade. Pour a glass after a tough workout on a hot day to feel refreshed and give help your body restore its electrolyte balance.

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3. Enjoy a dose of apple cider vinegar

By regularly drinking switchel, you’ll get all the terrific benefits of apple cider vinegar,including healing compounds, like potassium, magnesium and probiotics.

Thanks to the many uses of apple cider vinegar, it’s one of my favorite natural remedies. It balances your body’s pH levels and, as a liver and lymphatic tonic, detoxes your body. Not bad for one of the most common household items!

4. Go gaga for ginger

This root is packed with health benefits. Ginger is a fantastic digestive aid, soothing upset tummies and easing bloating symptoms. It also boosts your body’s immune system, helping it fight off disease. Additionally, ginger root benefits include breaking down the accumulation of toxins in the body, another way it boosts immunity.

5. Reap maple syrup’s sweet surprises

If you’re using sweeteners, maple syrup is one of the top natural sweeteners. When used in moderation, it is an excellent alternative to cane sugar. Maple syrup affects blood sugar levels less than regular table sugar and includes trace antioxidants and minerals that regular sugar lacks.

Because maple syrup is made from tree sap, it’s also much less processed than refined cane sugar. It also steers clear of many of sugar’s harmful effects.

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Alan Daehnke
Chief Innovation Officer
Dartcor Food Services

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