PBR has fallen out of Brooklyn's good graces, probably more so since Pabst was bought by the Russians last month. Now there's a new beverage infiltrating Bushwick and its environs: switchel, a centuries-old drink quaffed by farmers to rehydrate after a long day in the fields—like Gatorade, but hipper. The concoction that’s currently making the rounds (a mixture of raw apple cider vinegar, water, ginger root, and maple syrup) in hipster circles is the brainchild of Ely Key and Garrett Riffle, founders of Up Mountain Switchel, Modern Farmer reports. The drink also known as haymaker's punch is sold in trendy Mason jars—that's how farmers would bring it to work in the old days, so they could cap it and store it in nearby rivers to keep it cold—and is also said by the company to offer health benefits.
Key and Riffle made the first batch of what they call their "American heritage beverage" in 2012 in an old red barn in Vermont and sold out at a farmers market. They kept tweaking the recipe—most notably by using fresh ginger instead of the ground version old-time farmers used—and moved the entire operation to Brooklyn in December. The drink has everything a health-crazed hipster demographic would want: Ingredients can be identified as being "anti-inflammatory, probiotic, detoxifying, mineral-rich, what have you," notes Modern Farmer. The guys say they're not interested in selling to a larger company, either. "Switchel customers appreciate … that it's handmade and has utility," Riffle says. Adds Key: "Without even meaning to, we revitalized a culture, really." (Americans don't like hipsters, no matter what they drink.)