Kombucha and Switchel: What’s the difference?

Switchel, a popular beverage of 19th Century colonials is making a comeback. History has it that Switchel originated in the Caribbean and was introduced to American colonies in the 17th Century. It quickly grew in popularity and eventually became a staple drink with farmers during harvest because of it’s refreshing nature.

Also called ¨switzel, swizzle, or ginger-water¨, this refreshing drink is often confused with Kombucha. There are 2 significant differences between Kombucha and Switchel. First, Kombucha contains living good bacteria which comes from the main ingredient SCOBY. Many of the health benefits of Kombucha come from the probiotic created by the SCOBY. Second, Kombucha is carbonated which plays a big role in the unique taste it has. The carbonation is a natural bi-product of the fermentation process. As the SCOBY metabolizes the sugar during the brewing process, Co2 gases are created. Enter, carbonation.    

Kombucha Switchel
Fermented Non-fermented
Carbonated and Fizzy Non-carbonated
Contains: Tea, Sugar, a Living Culture called SCOBY, Flavoring (optional) Contains: Cider Vinegar, Water, Sweetener (Molasses or Honey), Ginger


Switchel Recipe
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  1. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  2. 4 tsp natural sweetener (molasses, honey, or sugar)
  3. 1/4 tsp of ground ginger OR 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger
  4. 1 cup water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar or glass (jar works best)
  2. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, until cold
  3. Shake/Stir and serve
  4. Add more sweetener if needed
  5. Pour over ice
  1. If you like a little fizz, try adding a little soda water!
What is Kombucha http://whatiskombucha.org/