Dakota Gatorade

Haymaker’s Punch, Switchel, or Ginger Water?Perhaps we of the 21st century would liken it to Gatorade, Dakota-Style. I’ve tried it many times in many recipes. It’s a startlingly pleasant yet curious concoction which some might call “an acquired taste.” 

Call it what you will, but here’s a little background on this go-to refreshment for hardworking farmers in the heat of summer. Just ignore the part of the article that tries to claim no one had ice.If the events in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s FARMER BOY are any indication, I think those “Wilder boys” would vehemently disagree: 


4 comments on “Dakota Gatorade

  1. Deb Watley says:

    Does it taste like ginger ale? That’s what I imagined it to be like. The article mentioned that it had a lot of sugar. I have a couple runners in the family, so the sugar wouldn’t be a huge issue for them, and it sounds healthier than some of the current sports drinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melanie says:

      Not at all like ginger ale. In fact, if you can imagine a sweet version of balsamic vinegar, that’s closer to it. Some switchel uses more ginger than others, and some use lemon juice, others do not. The versions I’ve had are usually sweetened with molasses, and a splash of lemon juice cuts the syrupy feel. In the photo I shared, at that event many people who tried it were making funny faces–especially children. I guess our modern society is so accustomed to heavily processed sugars like HFCS or sugar substitutes that tasting a drink which uses molasses is a shock to the system! Worth a try, though. I like it in small doses but imagine I’d appreciate it more if I was working 14 hours straight in a blazing-hot hayfield.


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