Summertime, and the Swiggin’ is…Queasy

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Azalea, Unschooled | 0 comments

Illustration by Brook Gideon, from Azalea, Unschooled

Illustration by Brook Gideon, from Azalea, Unschooled

Several people, in talking to me about Azalea, Unschooled, have pointed out that I wrote about a subject otherwise largely ignored by children’s literature. They were pleased to see that finally, finally someone has written a book that addresses the topic of…


It’s true…you don’t read a lot in kids’ books about old-time beverages that were consumed at a time when plain cold water was thought to be harmful. I’m pleased to have broken the taboo.

A recipe from the 1855 book Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy by Elizabeth M. Hall gives this recipe:

Mix with five gallons of good water, half a gallon of molasses, one quart of vinegar, and two ounces of powdered ginger. This will make not only a very pleasant beverage, but one highly invigorating and healthful.

If you were tired of switchel, and flipping through your 1897 Sears, Roebuck, & Co. catalogue, you would have come across some refreshing alternatives:

Sears drinks

Finally, for the not-quite-modern day switchel enthusiast, here is a recipe a friend recently found in a cookbook tucked away on Monhegan Island, Maine:


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