We’d never heard of switchel, but a little internet research revealed this beverage, made with ginger, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar, dates back to the earliest days of the American colonies. Switchel was one of America’s first thirst-quenching beverages, often served to parched travelers, and today it’s making a comeback.
Our box of CideRoad Switchel arrived—slim, handsome 14 ounce glass bottles in three flavors: original, cherry, and blueberry. RFT Co-Founder and Editor Anne Weaver and I popped open the bottles and sampled. My palette completely rejected the gingery, vinegary tastes of all three flavors. However, Anne found the flavors satisfying and intriguing. “I really like them,” she stated.
At realfoodtraveler.com, Anne and I often sample and review food products and usually we’re in agreement. This time we were diametrically opposite in our views. It was definitely time to assemble one of RFT’s expert tasting panels for a final say.
Nine foodies gathered to sample CideRoad’s three flavors.
Original. This switchel has an intense ginger flavor that most of our panelists really liked. In fact, the original flavor turned out to be the tasters’ overall favorite. Several made comments like, “I really like this one a lot.” “Delicious.” “Love it.” “I really like this because it’s not sweet.”
One or two felt the ginger flavor of the original was simply too strong.
Cherry. This spicy cherry flavor really divided our tasting panel. Many thought the cherry-ginger combo was just right. Some found it refreshing and felt adding ice would make this a perfect summer drink. However, a few said it tasted too much like cherry cough syrup.
Blueberry. This was hands-down Editor Anne Weaver’s favorite flavor. In fact, she’s started bringing CideRoad Organic Blueberry Switchel to work. All of our panelists thought the blueberry flavor smelled wonderful like fresh blueberries and they loved the gorgeous deep blue color. Several reviewers felt this flavor was quite refreshing with less apple cider vinegar than other flavors. One said, “The blueberry switchel has a nice balance of vinegar.”
One taster, however, said the blueberry flavor “left an aftertaste” she didn’t like. Another, who loves drinking vinegar beverages, felt this one was “too soda poppy” for her palette.
Real Bottom Line: At RFT, we’ve never had a product cause more passionate and varied responses than CideRoad Organic Switchel. For the most part, our reviewers were intrigued with this thirst-quenching, vinegar-based beverage. Most liked it and everyone had their favorite flavors. A few, like me, didn’t care for the drink at all.
So we encourage you to explore CideRoad Organic Switchel and see how your palette reacts. If you serve it to friends and family, be prepared for raves and boos. CideRoad Organic Switchel makes a fun alternative to the usual soda pop. With its rich history, all natural, organic ingredients and only 70 calories per serving, Switchel is something that’s really different. —Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor